Sending a child to college is often an anxiety-provoking prospect. There are so many unanswered questions that plague parents. Will their child be independent enough? Do they have the skills and resources needed to navigate a campus and a whole new social structure without the support of family and childhood friends? Will they advocate for themselves and seek help when necessary? These are all typical fears, and that’s why counselors and experts stress the importance of “fit” for each prospective student.
Now imagine preparing to launch a child who is neurodiverse out into the world for the next chapter in their educational journey. These same questions are asked but are further magnified because of the child’s differences and needs. And just like the typical learner, a student who has ASD or other disabilities must also look for fit as well as support services or programs that are available. Luckily, colleges and universities across the country have made strides and are more equipped than ever in an effort to service the needs of all their learners. New hires have been made and budgets have been increased to allow schools to create programs solely with the neurodiverse learner in mind.
When parents and families research these schools it is important not only that the program is a good match but that there is also a community beyond the academics where the student can thrive. Finding a school in the right region of the country that is the ideal size, with a course of study that is interesting to the student, and that has the right resources is no easy feat. I recommend talking with current students and families, experts in the field like those at the College Autism Network, a nonprofit organization that links varied stakeholders, and counselors to garner as much information as possible.
Below, listed in alphabetical order, are just a few universities that are lauded for their resources and programs available. Of course, this is list is dynamic and is changing and growing as more and more schools are working with neurodiverse learners.
- Beacon College
- Bellevue College (Washington)
- Landmark College
- Pace University
- Thames at Mitchell College
- UCAM Program, Southern Oregon University
- University of Denver
If you have any questions or would like to discuss further, please reach out to Student & Athlete Defense/Title IX Partner Susan Stone (216.736.7220, firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kristina Supler (216.736.7217, email@example.com).
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