Parent Perspective: Autism and Community Colleges

Autism and community colleges. In this interview series, Maureen Perkins talks to STS about supporting her son’s transition to college. Perkins and her son used their understanding of his autism to create and follow a matriculation plan that worked for him and allowed him to thrive.

Questions for Maureen? Let us know in the comments. Community colleges can be a good fit for students who have an autism diagnosis, and you can learn more about the kinds of support often available at such institutions, too.

If you are looking for more resources on schools that might be a fit for students who have autism, check out these lists: Autism in College and the 2o Best Value Colleges for Students with Autism 2019.

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Contributor Maureen Perkins is a 48-year-old mother of five. In 1995 her son Daniel was born and at the age of eighteen months, he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. With this shift in every day life, Maureen and her husband decided in 1995 that she should quit her job at the state auditor’s office to be Daniel’s full-time aid and advocate. Through a great deal of research, travel, and legal battles, she was able to give Daniel the tools to graduate with honors and begin a career in his chosen field.

1 Comment

  1. There are also small undergraduate universities which offer 4-year-degrees in a similar type atmosphere with small class sizes and instructor support. The institution I did my first degree at started as a community college and became a university part way way through my program. It is still recognized for being student driven, professors are approachable and interactive with students, small classes (usually about 30 per class), diversity friendly, and plenty of hands on learning and research opportunities for students. Also, several of the grads from this university, including me have gone on to graduate studies or professional programs in Canada and the United states and some in other countries. I am thinking that the United States likely also has small universities in addition to the big name ones. I read an article in University Affairs (a Canadian national magazine) which was expressing the view that quality of instruction and supervision students receive is more important for future employment or graduate school acceptance than the university status itself and I think I would agree with that based on my own experience. I’m glad community college worked well for your son and I think there needs to be more focus on both community colleges and small universities for producing quality graduates and for not being thought of as “lesser” schools.

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