SUPPORTING ACADEMIC SUCCESS FOR STUDENTS WITH AUTISM AND RELATED LEARNING DIFFERENCES

 

The second annual College Inclusion Summit concluded November 7th. Over 125 participants shared insights about supporting college students with autism and related learning differences. Among the participants were self-advocates, faculty members, program staff, and administrators from two continents. Use the buttons below to view materials from several of the Summit’s 22 presentations. 

 

Co-sponsored by the University of Vermont Center on Disability and Community Inclusion, the College Autism Network and Mansfield Hall

 

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Testimonials from the 2017 College Inclusion Summit

Brett Nachman

“This work matters… on a personal level, it matters on a professional level.”

Kate Viezel

“…incredibly satisfying and inspirational to finally meet with a group of colleagues that were facing the same challenges that my team and I address every day. The College Autism Network is a real game changer… now college-based practitioners have a fabulous and easy-to-use resource to help them make informed decisions about best practices for working with college students with autism.”

Ellen Goedert

“The Summit was one of my favorite parts of my work with CAN… “

“…really, really exciting to know that there are other people out there with similar interests.”

Presentation Examples from the 2017 College Inclusion Summit

How Are We Going to Pay for This?

Brett Bauch, MBA, ChSNC, CFP Telemachus Wealth Resources

This discussion will highlight ten potential options for funding supplemental college support programs.  Platforms addressed will include:  ABLE accounts, Scholarships, 529s, SSI, Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Programs, Special Needs Trusts, UTMAs, and other funding options that should receive consideration.  The goal will be a working knowledge of the various platforms which will offer valuable context to the financial issues facing families entering this complex transition phase.

High Quality Vocational Evaluation Tools for Students with ASD

James Williams, Chief Operating Officer/Vocational Expert/College Program Consultant, Bloom Consulting

This discussion will focus on using the research-based tools and methodology needed to ensure an accurate and appropriate vocational evaluation and employment goal. Using high-quality psychometric, environmental, and employment instruments, a vocational expert will explain how to empower families, schools, and, students with the information they need to make an informed choice regarding their future post-secondary employment, education, and independent living goals.

Aspergers & Popular Culture Presentation

John Sheehan, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne

A look at Asperger’s Syndrome through the lens of characters in popular culture (Dwight Schrute & Sheldon Cooper, in particular) to highlight why these characters are popular, to help illustrate symptoms of Asperger’s, and to show the growing effects of autism (and particularly Asperger’s) on the campus community both inside and outside of the classroom.

CASE: Connections for Academic Success & Employment

DeAnn Lechtenberger, Ph.D.; Program Director for CASE Program at the Texas Tech University’s Burkhart Center for Autism

This presentation will provide participants with information on an innovative and fully inclusive support program for college students with autism and other developmental disabilities at Texas Tech University. Students are enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate academic degree or certification program at Texas Tech University or a local community college, South Plains College. This presentation will describe the CASE program and its five year outcomes at the Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research on the Texas Tech campus.

Academic Anxiety in the Brain

Rachel Pizzie, Department of Education, Dartmouth College

Many students experience anxiety in response to particular subjects, such as math, science, or writing, or sometimes even to school or testing in general. This talk will explore these academic anxieties, including how the brain responds when someone is anxious versus when someone is calm, and ways in which we might combat the negative effects of anxiety on school performance.

Fostering Career Readiness: Introducing “Landmark Works”

Jan Coplan, Director of Career Connections, Landmark College

Connecting Classroom and Career: How do you improve communication skills, build confidence and professionalism in students with little workforce experience?  Implement a comprehensive campus work program.  “Landmark Works” is a college wide initiative with an overarching goal of helping students see, in practical ways, the connection between academics and the world of work. The key component is a one credit course that provides both classroom and workplace hours to improve career readiness skills in neurodiverse students. Come hear how the program has led to greater academic alignment and an enthusiasm for expanding the impact of the program.

Out of the Frying Pan: Challenges and Benefits of Professional Internships for Diverse Learners

Perry LaRoque, Founder and President, Mansfield Hall

This presentation will examine the obstacles of creating a successful internship program for diverse learners and the enduring benefits of participation. We will explore the challenges of discrimination, aligning with institutional policies and expectations, and overcoming objections in the workplace. We will also review the strategic implementation, requisite skill development, and embedded support needed for success. Finally, we will share the positive outcomes that overwhelmingly justify the transition from the frying pan to the fire.

Researcher Summaries from 2017 Summit

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The College Autism Network (CAN) is a nonprofit organization run almost entirely by dedicated professionals and students who volunteer their time, resources, and expertise to support college success for students with autism.

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