Don’t be discouraged if a first or second attempt at reaching out fails—just look for the next opportunity.
Many STEM careers and college courses are thought to focus on “computer work” without much emphasis on the human interaction necessary for success. Oftentimes, however, collaboration with peers can be daunting but necessary to advance one’s studies and career.
Video. The transition to university is major, major change, right? And, autistic people, we often thrive on predictability. It’s really valuable to spend some time exploring the physical environment of a university campus before you start.
One thing to keep in mind no matter where you end up—be it a friend’s house, your family home, or a relative’s place—is that if you begin to feel overwhelmed by the new environment or sudden transition, you should look for a quiet place to gather your thoughts. Don’t worry about exiting a stressful situation and seeking a solitary spot to calm yourself.
Video Interview. Founding the Coalition for Autism Support at Tufts (CAST) created a sense of community that…I thought I would never have.
Audio interview. Dr. Schalomon: “If you don’t quite know what the student needs, go to the student and ask.”
Video interview. Brief discussion of one student’s success auditing classes on a community college campus in preparation for the transition to higher ed.
Be aware of unconscious bias in interviews, plan for it, and be prepared to disarm it if necessary. For example: if you find eye contact challenging, acknowledge it and then communicate that you are glad to be there and are engaged in the discussion.
it’s important to have some emergency numbers available at all times. Preferably, these numbers should be programmed on the phone and also available on a wallet-sized card in case the phone is dead and the student needs to borrow someone else’s. Parents, therapists, and a friend or roommate in the college town are all important numbers to have available.
Video Interview. Attending dual enrollment classes allows students to get used to college work and what the demands are going to be. Plus, they accrue college credit in HS.