Students with High Functioning Autism (ASD) (Asperger's)
Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or “Asperger’s” often struggle with issues of executive functioning, social development, and activities of daily living (ADLs). These issues interfere with an individual’s ability to succeed in a typical collegiate setting. Below is an example of how Northwest College Support supports individuals with these struggles.
Individual Psychotherapy brings a significant benefit to individuals with challenges related to Asperger’s/ ASD. Often, an individual with Asperger’s/ ASD needs help addressing internal issues including rigid thinking, anxiety, self-esteem issues, and motivation. Sometimes an individual with Asperger’s/ ASD feels isolated or lonely, and the therapeutic process helps a student learn to process these emotions. At the same time, other members of the treatment team help the student improve connectedness to others. Our psychotherapists are licensed counselors and social workers with experience in a vast range of psychological, emotional, and behavioral issues. The amount of psychotherapy necessary weekly is determined based on an initial team evaluation, with significant input from students and families. All students are required to work with a psychotherapist at least once per week. Family therapy is also available on a case
Students with Asperger’s/ ASD benefit form Educational Coaching which addresses a wide range of academic challenges. Often, a student with Asperger’s/ ASD struggle with issues related to organization, follow through, and executive functioning. An Educational Coach works with individuals to help them learn specific skills and techniques that teach how to organize their school work as well as the approach to learning. An Educational Coach is not teaching a specific subject, but rather a framework of learning and organizing. Through learning how to better study and organize, a student is likely to experience more success academically. The amount of Educational Coaching is variable and is based on student needs and goals. Typically, a plan starts with a higher amount of coaching at the beginning of the semester, and then decreases as the semester progresses. For example, a student might begin by meeting with an Educational Coach twice per week at the beginning of the semester or during mid terms, then the quantity may decrease to once per week or every other week by the end of the semester. The goal of educational coaching is for students to learn to internalize the skills they are being taught and become good self managers by the end of the semester.
An individual with Asperger’s/ASD benefits from working with a Life Coach in a variety of different areas. Often a plan includes goals in the area of social engagement, social skills training, life skills training, physical fitness, nutrition, and living environment organization. An individual with Asperger’s/ ASD meets with a Life Coach regularly in order to provide accountability, ensuring the student is following through on his or her goals. The amount of Life Coaching recommended is based on the goals and needs of the student. The amount of Life Coaching a student receives is based on a collaborative evaluation, with input from students and families. All students initially are assigned to meet with a Life Coach at least once per week.