Supporting College Students on the Autism Spectrum

young woman taking notes in classroom

Teens and adults with autism are increasingly present on college campuses nationwide. To support the success of potential and current students with ASD on Maine campuses, we have gathered a list of resources for families, faculty, staff, and peers. It is our hope to encourage greater understanding of the condition and how it may impact individuals, in support of greater understanding, acceptance, and inclusion in our campus community.

General Information and Fact Sheets

Indiana Resource Center for Autism: Academic Supports for College Students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder: An Overview

Rochester Institute for Technology (RIT) has developed resources and supports for students and faculty within their “Spectrum Support Program.” This includes online resources for incoming students and their families, as well as faculty and staff. Although developed with RIT students in mind, many of the resources can be useful to all prospective and current college students, their families, and faculty.
Of particular interest:   ASD Fact Sheet for Faculty.      Tips for Classroom Discussions.

For Families

“College and Students on the Autism Spectrum”   With earlier diagnosis and intervention more students with Autism are considering college. This video (55 minutes) provides information and insights for students and their parents and supporters to consider when thinking about college and selecting programs with a good fit for the student.  Presented by autism experts, Fred Volkmar, M.D. and Jane Thierfeld Brown, Ed.D. at the Yale University, Yale Child Study Center.

For Higher Education Faculty, Professionals, and Administration

Supporting College Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder: This short (17 minute) video developed by Pace University includes interviews with college students with autism spectrum disorders and the faculty working with them. From their webpage: “Colleges today are responding to a new generation of students — academically qualified, and matriculating with a disability — autism spectrum disorders. This video presents strategies and methods that have proved successful in supporting students with ASD, in the OASIS program at Pace University in NYC.”

“Students with Autism in the College Classroom”: Online training module developed at the George Washington University/Heath Resource Center at the National Youth Transitions Center for post-secondary faculty and administration to increase understanding of the characteristics and needs of college students on the spectrum.

Think College  Think College is a national organization located within the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMass, Boston that offers both online resources and technical support for families of persons with IDD and for faculty and educators. Think College offers technical assistance and online trainings to assist education professionals and faculty in supporting students with intellectual disabilities who are considering or pursuing post-secondary education. Training modules and webinars include Universal Design for Learning (UDL), coaching and mentoring college students with IDD, and the roles and responsibilities of campus disability services. Think College staff also offer research summits each year offering an in-depth look at the research related to higher education, employment, and transition. The Think College website includes an online College Search directory of the many college programs across the U.S. for students with intellectual disabilities. Search by program, location, or keywords.

“Emerging Practices for Supporting Students on the Autism Spectrum in Higher Education: A Guide for Higher Education Professionals” This comprehensive publication was developed by the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in collaboration with several other institutions of higher education, autism consultants, and experts for those considering adding programming and supports for college students with ASD.

We are thankful to the institutions and organizations that developed these valuable resources for supporting students with ASD on college campuses.