4 Challenges Students with Autism Face in College

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are complex mental development disorders characterized by social maladaptation and inability to socially interact, communicate, and behave according to the existing stereotypes (repetition of the same actions). Back in the middle of the last century, autism was a fairly rare disease. However, over time, more and more children suffering from this disorder began to appear. Statistics show that the incidence of ASD in children over the past 30-40 years in countries where such statistics are conducted has risen from 4-5 people per 10 000 children to 50-116 cases per 10 000. At the same time, boys are more susceptible to this disease than girls (the ratio is about 4:1).

The Main Causes of ASD

Until now, scientists around the world studying the causes of autism have not come to a consensus. Many assumptions are being put forward. Among the possible factors for the appearance of this disorder in children, some hypotheses are called:

  • genetic predisposition;
  • impaired development of the nervous system (autism is seen as a disease caused by impaired brain development in the early stages of child growth);
  • influence of external factors: infections, chemical effects on the mother’s body during pregnancy, birth injuries, congenital metabolic disorders, the effect of certain drugs, and industrial toxins.

But whether these factors can actually lead to autism in children has not yet been clarified. Autism is seen as a developmental disorder that affects all areas of the human psyche: intellectual, emotional, sensitivity, motor sphere, attention, thinking, memory, and speech.

The most basic and commonly encountered types of ASD are:

  • Canner’s syndrome;
  • Asperger Syndrome;
  • Rett syndrome;
  • Child psychosis;
  • Atypical Autism.

Depending on the kind of ASD, and the degree of development of cognitive and motor functions, a teenager with this disease can study at colleges and universities. Although it is worth noting that training is not easy for them, and the percentage of those who ultimately drop out is very high – 80%. Often, a person is simply not able to withstand the load (large crowds, noise, certain time frames, etc.) that awaits them.

Despite the mentioned above, there are still people with ASD who managed to graduate from the college or/and university. If you just have this endeavor ahead, and you are determined to challenge yourself and your ailment, here are some tips from those who deserve the highest praise for willpower and fortitude – people with ASD who have acquired higher education and are engaged in what they love.

Challenges that Await a College Student with ASD

Organization Issues

A young person with ASD may experience extreme overload following a typical student routine. It is very difficult for them to follow the time frame of classes, the amounts of homework. In addition, collective tasks can be especially difficult, since the teenager experiences anxiety before communicating with others.

Organizing a workday can be a problem too. Things like a class schedule, maintaining health issues, studying, and living in a dorm are difficult tasks, but doable. The main thing is never to be afraid to ask for the help you need.

The need to decide for yourself

When a child with ASD is in school, his parents/guardians, counselors, and tutors decide for the child how to live in this world and how to function. Entering college, a teenager on the spectrum must start advocating for their needs on their own. In the first stage, it can be deeply shocking and overwhelming to the young mind. It is vitally important that they remember that they are not abandoned and that they, as well as at school, can receive support and help when they long for it. The only thing one has to do is to inform about difficulties in time. If a student with ASD has problems with academic papers, for example, they can find assistance at the essay writing service.

The possibility to be unnoticed by a teacher

For the most part, students are noisy young people who like to talk, discuss, and gather in interest groups. All this is very repulsive and incomprehensible to a teenager with ASD. In addition, tutors prefer open to dialogue and discussion students. There is no need to conceal that it is precisely such students who enjoy the attention of tutors most of all.

That is why a young mind with an autism disorder may turn out to be invisible to their professor, taking into account the fact that college students with ASD are very few today. To avoid this problem or to correct its consequences, a personal meeting with the professor is required, at which an amendment to the classes plan, or their form will be approved.

Same requirements for everyone

College tutors place the same requirements and restrictions on all students. There are certain rules for measuring performance, conducting tests and exams, as well as activity in the classroom. For students with ASD, these rules and restrictions can be overwhelming and unworkable. Nevertheless, there is a solution to this problem. Every young mind with an autism disorder has to inform about their disability, thus, they can win some easing or a partial revision of the rules.

By bringing to the knowledge the appropriate authority in college, a teenager may obtain, for example, an exam in a quiet environment, familiarizing himself with a tutor’s notes, or they may be allowed to spend more time on a specific task.

Each student with ASD needs to remember that they have every right to the above-described relief in the rules. Colleges and universities are subject to the law, and they can provide you with these accommodations – it is your right to demand them since you pay for tuition, and they are included in this fee. The only thing, young minds need to understand that, in any case, they must obey educational standards and do everything in their power to get as much as possible closer to them.

We wish patience and fortitude to those young people who, in spite of everything, want to get a higher education and get closer to their dream. You are amazing, and you definitely have to be proud of yourself! Good luck!

About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the CEO of BioEnergy Consult, and an international consultant, advisor and trainer with expertise in waste management, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, environment protection and resource conservation. His geographical areas of focus include Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biogas technology, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. Salman has participated in numerous national and international conferences all over the world. He is a prolific environmental journalist, and has authored more than 300 articles in reputed journals, magazines and websites. In addition, he is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability through his blogs and portals. Salman can be reached at salman@bioenergyconsult.com or salman@cleantechloops.com.
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