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College Options For Students with Disabilities

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At home in Howard County, Ms. Zanoni’s daughter did well pursuing math through videos from Khan Academy, a not-for-profit provider of online educational videos and activities, and working on her social skills using an online role-playing game, but she faltered taking French and then Italian online. Ms. Zanoni said she had to work hard to keep her daughter on task online and felt she needed additional face-to-face support. Ms. Zanoni eventually found a private school that specialized in working with students like her daughter.

“There’s a huge value to online education [for students with autism], but it depends on how it’s introduced and the nature of the person,” Ms. Zanoni said.

There are some aspects about a “bricks and mortar” school that can be especially helpful for autistic students to learn to make their way in the world. One can’t be — well, one shouldn’t be — online forever; what’s needed is for schools to help create environments in which students with sensory sensitivities, learning disabilities and more can feel safe and supported.

Of course, that’s easy to say, but it can be challenging for school districts and for colleges — at a time of budget cuts, no less — to achieve. Half of colleges say that “financial barriers” prevent them from training faculty and staff to accommodate students disabilities and purchasing “appropriate technology.” At my own college, professors — myself included — with children with learning disabilities and on the autism spectrum — have done some informal outreach to other faculty members and certainly always try to give extra support to students in our classes. But more comprehensive training and educating of faculty and staff about the challenges and strengths of students with disabilities is still called for.

Other college options for students on the autism spectrum include College Living Experience, a privately operated and for-profit company that operates residential programs to assist students with special needs in attending college; more information about this program can be found here and here.

If you’re a post-secondary student with disabilities, I’d also like to recommend  DREAM, which stands for Disability Rights, Education, Activism and which is a “genuinely cross-disabilities effort” that “aims to fully include students with the full range of disabilities–psychiatric, cognitive, developmental, mental, physical, intellectual, sensory, and psychological.” The group also has a Facebook page and the website has some great information about students’ rights, education and advocacy.


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2:17AM PDT on Apr 29, 2013

Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Calls for Application.

Opportunity has presented itself again for interested faculty members to have three to nine months research experience in the United States of America under the Fulbright foreign scholarship programme sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States of America.
The Fulbright foreign scholarship is a non degree programme introduced by the Public Affairs Section of the United States Mission in Nigeria to offer faculty members opportunity to conduct a nine month research at a U.S. academic or research institution under the full sponsorship of the United States government.visit

1:47PM PST on Nov 20, 2012


9:15PM PST on Dec 19, 2011

Hell yes Asperger is genetic. There are traits all over male members of Dad's family. I am the only confirmed Aspie. Difficulty with romantic relationships at least with average women (disabled women may work out better), intelligence in math science technology music grammar and composition and foreign language.

9:11PM PST on Dec 19, 2011

You need to express yourself in writing. I learned to write essay style tests from a sociology professor with Gambian citizenship. I went to a selective college Shepherd [now called] University.

Don't lower the bar please. Not all Aspies need the bar lowered.

9:09PM PST on Dec 19, 2011

The only trouble I had with college was romantic. It devastated me emotionally and that devastated my GPA. I barely graduated. I have Asperger.

8:27PM PDT on Sep 3, 2011

I went to university for 1 year and failed miserably. I didn't even know I was on the autism spectrum until I was 21. I'd love an opportunity to go back to school, I just don't have the money. I want to take a Veterinary Assisting program.

5:19AM PDT on Aug 31, 2011

Thanks for the article.

10:52PM PDT on Aug 30, 2011

I hope more colleges adopt this policy-this is awesome!

10:39PM PDT on Aug 30, 2011

Thanks for the article.

8:46PM PDT on Aug 30, 2011

Good news for students with disabilities! Now education is accessible and with different forms.

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