Accommodating autism classroom
Each year more information about the college experiences of those on the autism spectrum is written by their parents, professionals and these students on the autism spectrum.This film also reminds us that fellow college students need information to better understand their peers on the autism spectrum and how to include and support them. Intellectually these students are often very bright but many may face a variety of “hidden challenges” that can undermine their ability to navigate a typical college campus and perform well in class.However, each person is affected in different ways.The sensory perceptions, motor skills, learning styles and coping strategies are often affected and may cause “hidden” challenges that are not understood by those supporting these students.Some students expend a lot of energy, at all costs, to blend in and not be detected.Unfortunately, for some, this may result in them leaving the university without finishing a degree as the stress is too great.As a result of these challenges the observable behaviors of students on the autism spectrum may make them appear inattentive, bored, rude, defiant or possibly even on drugs.
“Temple Grandin” a biopic movie of Temple’s life premiered last year on HBO, and won several Emmy and other awards.Accommodations for a college student with an autism spectrum disorder might include providing the instructor’s lecture notes or a note taker to help key in on important information, providing study guides for tests, allowing a longer verbal response time from the student and allowing for important exchanges of information to be done in written form.It would also help for instructors to be clear, concise, concrete and logical when communicating as well as asking for clarification; don’t make assumptions about what students truly understand.Students with an autism spectrum disorder may be very articulate and have a large vocabulary which may “hide” their communication challenges.
Those supporting students on the autism spectrum should become aware of each individual students weaknesses in this area.
These students likely will not understand the “unwritten” classroom etiquette and will often misinterpret facial expressions and other non-verbal cues.