A student with special needs in the United States from grades K-12 receives individual therapies and support necessary to succeed in school. But what happens when the student graduates from high school? Unfortunately, many students with special needs or disabilities such as autism do not end up going to college. As the diagnosis of autism continues to increase, however, more and more institutions around the country are developing programs for these students.
Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti,Michigan, holds one of these opportunities. The Autism Collaborative Center offers students like 22-year-old Tony Saylor a graduate student to assist them with their coursework and better their college experience. This opportunity, for Saylor’s mother, has been a “godsend.”
Students with autism often struggle with staying focused during a class and maintaining the information. For Saylor, his method to succeed in processing the information is doodling, of which most of his professors are compliant. Many college programs also offer disability services, such as the University of Arizona, Lynn University in Florida, and Beacon College in Florida.
A catch-22 to this increase of options is that instead of parents struggling to find a program for their child, they now struggle with which program to send their child to. Unfortunately, many of these programs can burn a hole in the parents’ pockets, after already spending a hefty amount of out of pocket money on therapy services.
Still, the fact that more and more colleges are making it possible for students with autism and other developmental disabilities to attend is wonderful. For Tony Saylor, this really is a gift as he explains, “I knew I didn’t want to work in the fast food industry my whole life.” [i]
[i] “Daily News” More colleges provide options for kids with learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder. 16 Sept 2013. Web. < http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/new-college-options-kids-learning-disabilities-article-1.1457371>