Expectations of college office of disability for Aspergers

<p>In the discussions about resources for Aspergers here, I am wondering why some parents are very concerned about the colleges office of disability for Aspergers. If the student just has Aspergers without a co-existing condition such as learning disabilities, why do you need the disability offices? Aspergers students need a match of academic program to fit their special interests, quiet housing, available special interest clubs/extra currciular activities, etc. The only real support I can think of that is important for solely Aspergers is support at the career placement center to help with job interview skills. Please enlighten me about disability office resources for Aspergers because I feel I am missing something here.</p>

<p>One thing that I can think of would be possible accommodations for oral exams or in class participant components, if those might be struggles for a particular student. Also, possibly taking tests in a private/quiet area, especially for those with sensory issues.</p>

<p>I think it depends if you feel having Aspergers is a disability that needs accomodation, and then an agreement from the school that it needs accomodation.</p>

<p>From your posts, it sounds like your S needs a quiet environment. He could talk to the school and see if arrangments can be made to take exams in quiet environments. Sometimes it can be noisy, and since students leave once the exam is done, there can be a lot of commotion in the room. That might make it hard to do well on exams.</p>

<p>You've said he wants a single room. So they can assist with that.</p>

<p>Maybe he needs a large table to take an exam at rather than a tiny desk. They might be able to arrange that.</p>

<p>I don't know anything about Aspergers but those are my thoughts from your posts.</p>

<p>These are very good points to consider. My concern is that my IEP team said if I want accomodations in college for my son, I would have to go to an outside evaluator to document the need for accomodations. Since we are talking about college students, and not noisy little kids, wouldn't the room be quiet during exams? I am only interested in a private room for my son on a quiet floor, at least at the beginning, which is a matter dealt with the housing office. Bottom line, I wonder if it is necessary to spend $2,000-5,000. for an outside evaluation to document the need for a quiet environment.</p>

<p>Well, you have to be the to make the choice.</p>

<p>College exams can be very noisy. First of all, some older buildings have granite floors and sounds from students in the hallway travel into the classroom where the exams are taking place. Second, the few minutes before the exam starts is often noisy as students are talking and chatting and have nervous energy. Then when students leave there is commotion. So it can be overwhelming to someone with acute sensory abilities.</p>

<p>In Washington State, each college has a disabled student services dept that takes care of all needs of a student, which would include housing. It is much handier than trying to work with each department individually. (i.e, they can direct housing to provide the single room to you son.)</p>

<p>Before spending $2,000 to $5,000 for the outside evaluation, you will want to talk with the disabled student services to see what they require. I would not trust the IEP team since they are not affilated with the school your son will be attending. Every school and every state will have different requirements.</p>

<p>Thank you very much for an excellent point. We have narrowed my son's choices to a few schools with some more college visits. We will have to check the disability office after time of acceptance to see which office is most helpful and what the requirements are to request quiet setting for exams. I am trying my best to find schools which offer a close match of program, single rooms, and clubs of similar interest.</p>

<p>It depends on what your Aspie kid needs. Many Aspies have executive function deficits and need coaching which might be supplied or coordinated by Disability Services. Some Aspies need extended time for exams, notetakers for classes, a quiet room for exams or a single dorm room; those would almost certainly be issues for Disability Services. </p>

<p>Think very hard about how much organizing and scheduling, if any, you have been doing for your son while he has been in high school. How confident are you that he can do all that by himself?</p>

<p>In the colleges that my kids attend, getting a single room requires working through the disabilities office, not the housing office.</p>

<p>They only required an MD note, not new testing. Their "disabilities" are medical, but I would think that for Asperger's, a family physician note would suffice for that purpose.</p>

<p>Schools do usually match roommates according to sleep schedules, preference for quiet, neatness and so on.</p>

<p>College exams do tend to be quiet.</p>

<p>The level of accommodation required of colleges is much lower than the level required by law at high schools. Accommodations that are provided, are usually a result of interaction between the student and professor, sometimes with the support or help of someone on staff. But generally, there is a lot of discretion for professors.</p>

<p>I don't think testing is worth it at all, if quiet housing is the main need.</p>

<p>You can certainly inform the school, or the dorm staff, of your son's Aspergers, to help them support or respond to him during the year. That does not require documentation and is just the type of information that some schools routinely ask of parents.</p>

<p>
[quote]
The level of accommodation required of colleges is much lower than the level required by law at high schools. Accommodations that are provided, are usually a result of interaction between the student and professor, sometimes with the support or help of someone on staff. But generally, there is a lot of discretion for professors.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>The colleges I have investigated, including the community college and the liberal arts school my son has attended, and the other four year schools he applied to, have a different system than this for disability accommodations. In our experience, the student presents the written diagnosis (from a qualified professional) to the disabilities office, generally with recommendations for accommodations. The disabilities office then grants (or doesn't grant) the accommodations. At that point, professors have to give the student the accommodations granted by their disabilities office.</p>

<p>Since the asperger's/autism is such a wide spectrum, there are different needs. some schools
have a learning specialist who can help with the organizational, time management issues. strategies for approaching professors and academic support, joining clubs, living with a room mate or in a dorm. this is where the disability office can make a big difference, not just handing over some letter to the professors with a list of accommodations for the student. On my wish list is priority registration, single room, weekly coaching. the problem with aspergers students is that you have to address problems early before they become overwhelmed.</p>

<p>Bestmom, I suggest you have a long, in-person talk with the disabilities office and/or the counseling office of the school your child selects, about exactly what support your child needs, and exactly what the school will do for your child. </p>

<p>For my son, the coaching was an issue. My son's college assured me that they were committed to his success, knew what he needed, and would provide it. When I offered to hire him an outside executive functioning coach, the therapist told me that was not necessary, because the college could handle that. They did not provide a coach-- instead they provided a student peer mentor who, while a nice young man, was completely incapable of doing the necessary job. My son crashed and burned. :(</p>

<p>Another 2013 parent here had the same exact thing happen to her son at a different college. The school said everything was under control, they could help the child-- next thing she knew they called her to tell her to come get her son.</p>

<p>We have schedule meetings with the disability office at 2 of the schools he is interested in..
The 3rd schools disability office gave me a number of a social worker who works with students and their professors. He has never worked with an asperger student (I'm not even sure he understood the condition) and that he has worked with "brain injured" students. This conversation has put this school lower on the list. Obviously, i could look for someone else,
but I am definitely more interested in these other schools, and will make some decisions based on these meetings. As far as peer mentors, I would think that if an asperger student would listen to someone, it might be easier with a peer. Obviously, it would depend on their
training, background, etc. My son really clicked with an SAT tutor who was 23 years old and was in the process of applying to medical school.</p>

<p>
[quote]
As far as peer mentors, I would think that if an asperger student would listen to someone, it might be easier with a peer.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Whether the Aspie would listen to the peer mentor is one issue. Whether the peer mentor would say the right things is another. An executive function coach sets up and enforces a life structure for the Aspie. Peer mentors are not trained to do that.</p>

<p>Working with a peer mentor would be better than an executive function coach in my opinion. College is preparation for real life, and once in the workforce, the aspergers employee will have to manage without the executive function coach. A peer mentor would be more similiar to a coworker in that you can gently ask for help but are expected to generally function on your own.</p>

<p><em>sigh</em></p>

<p>It does depend on each person.</p>

<p>I have the following with the help of my schools Disability office:</p>

<p>Private room w/ bath - I need to have my own... get away area often times there are so many people around that i need my own area to chill.</p>

<p>Extended testing and seprete testing room - due to my adhd problems i have a hard time dealing with testing in classrooms with others in them. I also tend to take much longer then most students when takeing an exam.</p>

<p>Allowed use of digi recorder/laptop in class - its very hard for me to take notes ( i have problems with writting) so i was allowed to have this in class.</p>

<p>Allowed to leave the room at any time - yes i know, we're in college and we should be allowed to leave if nessesary, however, if you wanted to come back that might pose a problem right? There are times when i have near panic attacks due to people being around me.... <em>sigh</em> </p>

<p>Also if i have any problems with any of my professors i can go to the head of the DA department and she'll help. </p>

<p>Yes, it may seem like over kill or what have you, but it really is hard.</p>

<p>An executive function coach would advise an Aspie on how to establish and maintain functional relationships with peers, and also how to decipher the "unwritten curriculum" of a college and a major. I suppose this could be requested of the Disabilities Office, or a referral might be requested from the medical school or a psychology or education department that does active research into AS and the parents could choose (and pay) a professional who could see the student privately. If the student has been seeing a private professional during the k-12 years, sometimes this person could make inquiries.</p>

<p>In any case, it seems to me that it could be very helpful to have more than one adult who is not a mental health professional, and who is not necessarily a professor in a class, but who sees the student on a regular basis. This could be a counselor or advisor of some sort, or a club adviser, a coach or an employer, or a friend of the family who makes regular contact with the student. Obviously, this would be more easily available on some campuses than on others.</p>

<p>Outside of the Disabilities Office, I would find out what types of "services" are available to the student body at large. Just as some schools make private rooms available to large numbers of students, some also provide services such as notetakers for all large freshman classes, tutoring for freshman subjects, and (sometimes multiple) upperclass peer mentors for freshman. Many have special interest housing and freshman seminars to help students adjust. Career services also vary from one campus to the next.</p>

<p>
[quote]
My concern is that my IEP team said if I want accomodations in college for my son, I would have to go to an outside evaluator to document the need for accomodations. Since we are talking about college students, and not noisy little kids, wouldn't the room be quiet during exams? I am only interested in a private room for my son on a quiet floor, at least at the beginning, which is a matter dealt with the housing office. Bottom line, I wonder if it is necessary to spend $2,000-5,000. for an outside evaluation to document the need for a quiet environment.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>There's no reason why the school couldn't have done the evaluation, except I think you're too late to request it now if your S is a senior. My S hadn't had a full assessment since he was initially determined to be eligible for special education in fifth grade. He was due for his triennial reevaluation in eleventh grade, so I requested updated testing solely to have documentation in case he would need any accommodations in college. The special education handbook specifically mentioned that parents should ask for updated testing for that reason. The testing was completed prior to his last IEP meeting in May of his junior year.</p>

<p>I don't see why you would need a $5,000 test for reasonable accomodations at college. It's not like high school and the special education department. Accomodations in college are much simpler and I don't see why a letter from a physican would be insufficient for the university.</p>

<p>^ all i needed was the last evaluation from my phsycologist (sp). And then whatever accomidation papers i had from my school.</p>

<p>
[quote]
College is preparation for real life, and once in the workforce, the aspergers employee will have to manage without the executive function coach.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Why? Plenty of adults have executive function coaches. True, a coach can be expensive, but not as expensive as unemployment. Unfortunately, in many cases hoping for an Aspie to learn executive function is like hoping for a deaf person to learn to hear. Might as well wish for world peace at the same time. And a pony.</p>