Students with High Functioning Autism (ASD) (Asperger's)
What is Asperger’s / High Functioning Autism?
And How is it Supported in College
At Northwest College Support, we have the ability to support students with a diagnosis of High Functioning Autism, or Aspergers Syndrome. Officially, these two diagnoses have been grouped together in what is now called Autism Spectrum Disorder. While these young adults tend to have unique strengths and strong skill sets in certain areas of their lives, young adults on the Autism Spectrum often have struggles in social relationships, academics, and independent living skills.
Autism Spectrum Disorder is often characterized by difficulties with communication and socialization, as well as repetitive behaviors and narrow-bands of interests. These features of Autism often lead to social isolation, which can be related to problems in school and employment. Autism Spectrum Disorder is typically, but not always, diagnosed at an early age in a child’s development. Some individuals on the Autism Spectrum may show symptoms of the disorder as young children, however, they may not fully experience the difficulties of Autism until later in adolescence or young adulthood due to social demands becoming increasingly complicated as the individual ages- therefore exceeding their social skill level. Autism Spectrum Disorder is diagnosed by identifying the level of severity, which is defined by the level of support the individual requires (requiring very substantial support, requiring substantial support, and requiring support).
Learn More about Support for College Students on the Spectrum
College Transition Program for Autism Spectrum at NWCS
The students on the Autism Spectrum at Northwest College Support often come to our program with difficulties related to executive functioning, challenges with peer relationships, and struggles regarding the daily living skills of young adulthood. These issues lead students on the Autism Spectrum to struggle in a collegiate environment even though these individuals are not intellectually impaired. These issues create significant barriers and complications when it comes time to launch into independent adulthood.
Features of Autism Spectrum Disorder:
difficulties with communication and social cues
difficulties with socialization and maintaining relationships
rigidity surrounding routines and structure
How Northwest College Support works with students on the Autism Spectrum:
individual therapy to address rigid thought patterns
individual therapy to work through anxiety related to socialization
mentoring student to build social skills
educational coaching to improve organizational skills and strategies for college
life skills coaching to work on social engagement and management of environment
Therapy for College ASD
Each student at Northwest College Support is provided a therapist within the program. Individual therapy benefits our students on the Autism Spectrum by help to address internal issues such as rigid or black and white thinking patterns, and anxiety or self-esteem issues that formed over a lifetime of experiencing social difficulties. A student at NWCS with Autism can use individual therapy to process the emotions related to social isolation and feeling lonely, while at the same time learning the skills to improve social relationships.
College Education Coaching
Each student at NWCS works one-on-one with an educational coach in order to address a wide-range of academic challenges a student on the Autism Spectrum may experience. Students on the Autism Spectrum at NWCS almost never have difficulty intellectually being able to understand college-level coursework, but rather face challenges related to organization, follow-through of tasks, and other executive functions. Our educational coaches work with students to learn new skills, strategies, and techniques which allow students to better organize school work and their approach to learning. Educational coaches do not teach or tutor specific subjects, but rather lead students into a new framework of learning. By using better organizational skills and study habits, a student at NWCS with Autism is more likely to experience academic success.
Life Coaching for College Students on the Spectrum
Students on the Autism Spectrum work with our team of life skills coaches on a wide variety of areas. Life skills coaching can focus on a student’s goals of social engagement, improving social skills, daily living skills, physical fitness, nutrition, and managing their living environment. Students at NWCS meet with life skills coaches regularly through the week to help provide accountability in following through on goals.