My counselor wants me to come up with what to say in meeting with dean about Asperger

<p>My counselor at the clinical center at my college has asked me to come up with some things to tell the coordinator of tutoring and mentoring in engineering and the associate dean, who made the decision that I should not be tutoring anymore during the spring semester about my Asperger's syndrome and why it might make me a less desirable applicant than I really am for tutoring and mentoring freshmen this fall in the College of Engineering.</p>

<p>This semester, I tried to do some tutoring in the tutoring program in the College of Engineering. Some people complained that I was too loud and quite aggressive (not in the sense of violence, I was just eager and enthusiastic). They said I tried too hard to help people. They also said that I was staring at people and making them feel uncomfortable. The administration then made the decision that I should not tutor anymore and that I was no longer allowed to go there. When I heard from my friend what the complaints were about (administration wouldn't tell me), I immediately sought counseling and the counselors (who are knowledgable about Asperger's) attributed my behaviors that people complained about to Asperger's (especially the loudness, aggression, and staring).</p>

<p>I felt that I was fired because I had Asperger's. I want to address this situation in a meeting with the people I mentioned above so that the situation this semester will not affect my chances or minimally so when I try to do these activities. I feel they can improve my chances at an actual internship with a good employer in a future summer. What should I say about my condition that will help them realize that I am a good candidate for the job, not taking into account GPA because I am the best in that? Any suggestions would be appreciated.</p>

<p>bio, many of your posts reflect that you are facing many issues typical of people with Aspergers. Much of the world has a difficult time understanding organic differences in people. </p>

<p>There are many ways of helping Asperger people "normalize" their interactions with people so that they can function more effectively and fully use all of their skills. I'm wondering if you worked with such people when you were younger.</p>

<p>Many of the coaches are provided free in the public school system. I don't know if this is true of colleges, but if you go to a public college you should look into this. Contact one iof the Aspergers associations for information on coaching and therapy that will certainly help you through some of the issues you describe here. Good luck!</p>

<p>There are two separate issues: tutoring and getting an internship. The point of tutoring is to help the student who is being tutored. If the student is uncomfortable for whatever reason, the relationship is counterproductive. So the administration was right to remove you from the tutoring job.</p>

<p>The internship is intended to help you while also benefitting the employer. You should get advice on how to tone down the loudness, overenthusiasm which is perceived as aggression and staring. There may be some exercises that can be performed. For example, with a volunteer, you could do a tutoring session that would be videotaped. With the help of a counselor, you could review your performance and note where you were a bit loud, when you came on too strongly, when your looking at the other person shifted to staring. </p>

<p>Is there as well an Asperger's support group you could contact? Members may be able to give you advice on how to interact on a day-to-day basis with others. Good luck.</p>

<p>As a VP for Student Affairs, I've dealt several times with situations in which faculty were concerned about unusual interpersonal behaviors which they found threatening; the students involved turned out to have Asperger's. One of the frustrating aspects of Asperger's is that the behaviors are often not so extreme as to clearly suggest to observers that the person has a disability. The faculty members assumed that their students were intentionally trying their patience. </p>

<p>Is the counselor you're seeing in the school's Counseling Center? Your college should have an office of disabled student services, whose role it is to help disabled students get their disabilities documented and to arrange appropriate accommodations for those them. It will probably be under your division of Student Affairs. Make an appointment with that office and explain your situation.</p>

<p>What the!!?? You're not even helping me at all! You're all saying exactly what my parents say: I can never hold a job, ever! All you say is that I can't have these positions! I can't have an internship! I can't have a job, ever! Never, ever! Are you saying that there is no way that anyone will look past my Asperger's Syndrome, and see that I am a person!!!????? I am a person with feelings! I am a person who wants to actually do something besides sit in a mental hospital all day long! Are you people saying that there is no hope for me? I mean, I have the highest engineering GPA out of anyone in my college, according to the administration! I am clearly talented, yet I am not allowed because of something I couldn't help!!!???</p>

<p>By the way, this is in response to the first three replies, so if anyone posts before I post this, this is not in response to it. Keep the comments coming.</p>


<p>Please, you cannot expect, on the one hand, to respond to advice by saying "what the!!?? and on the other to ask for further comments. This must be an example of your problem. Where do we say that you can never hold a job or have an internship? We are trying to give you advice that will help you get that internship and eventually get a job. So calm down and try not to overreact or misinterpret advice.</p>

<p>I'm sorry for my outburst. I guess that I am so determined to make something of myself, to become a professional engineer and biologist, that I tend not to accept the limitations that are imposed upon me by others.</p>

<p>Thank you for your patience, and I will listen to your further comments!</p>


<p>You do have the makings of a great professional engineer. Don't let your Asperger's get you down. You just need practice in how to interact with others. Videotaping is a tool that is used to train Teaching Assistants or new faculty among others. This allows them to note things that they might not have been aware of when they were leading a section or lecturing, such as their unintentional cutting off of discussion, their failure to recognize a student who wanted to speak or their letting another one dominate the discussion, and so forth. Since you realize that you do not always know how you come off in your interactions with others, I suggested this strategy. I expect a good coach would have other suggestions as well. I am assuming that there is time before you seek internships to work with a coach. So try to locate one and set to work with him or her.</p>

<p>Good for you. Now that you've calmed down a little and realize that people are trying to help, go back and re-read those messages and then act on the advice they've given you. </p>

<p>You want to show people that you are smart and capable. To do that, you've got to learn some coping behaviors so that the Asperger's isn't such a barrier between you and the understanding that you seek. </p>

<p>And, please, don't keep referring to yourself as an Asperger's retard, as you have done in some other threads. You know you are not retarded; you are very smart. Don't say things like that out of jealousy for other's accomplishments. You have many strengths. Engineering is a hard course of study and you excel academically. </p>

<p>Think of seeing a counselor to learn some compensation strategies as simply a way of becoming a more well-rounded student and future employee. Channel that enthusiasm and intense concentration to master the skills you need. Meet with a counselor and get going on this. Everyone has limitations of one sort or another. Yours are not insurmountable.</p>

<p>Everyone has limitations put on them, some are due to education, some are language, some are areas of expertise. You need to learn that not everything is personal and that others are all dealing with things to. Many people have ADD, other learning disabilities, epilepsy. Their parents could be old and sick, they could have lost a job, all kinds of stuff. And while Aspergers is what you deal with, be aware that other people have stuff too.</p>

<p>As I suggested before, you need to get out of the small world you are in sometimes- you willl learn how to act and interact with people. Right now you are in a bubble, a kind of mini world of engineers....</p>

<p>If you interact with more people in different kinds of situations, you will grow and learn. Right now, you are still learning how to be with your aspergers. I know it must be really difficult. Seriously consider what I said. </p>

<p>If you come across as not recognizing your limitations, you will make it difficult for people to help you. It sounds as if some people do want to help, but if you don't say, yeah, maybe sometimes I do come across as a bit scary and loud, but I am working on it. Here are some ways the people I tutor can tell me when I cross the line with my enthusiasm. If you are more open to suggestions, then others will be more open to you.</p>

<p>Just some things to think about....I am sure you will find you path and do what you want to do. </p>

<p>Your studies come easy, but for others its hard. For others their social interactions come easy, but for you its hard....see everyone has stuff!!!</p>

<p>Parents, I'm not sure we are helping here with any advice other than telling bio he needs to find a highly qualified Aspergers therapist. Even most counselors dealing with disabilities do not have the kind of knowledge they have with things like ADD. Aspergers is often misdiagnosed and is really not well understood by most.</p>

<p>Like bio, these people often have extreme brilliance that is just couched in a way hard to understand by most. There are very effective ways to deal with this so that bio can have a great career and life, but the coping skills are going to come from someone highly trained, not from us.</p>

<p>I'm sorry to hear that your parents are discouraging bio, but I've seen that being a parent of an Aspergers child is a major challange. If you would like a list of helpful organizations, PM me and I will put you in contact of a parent and her son who is a 20 year old Aspergers kid that is thrieving at U Chicago and anticipating a wonderful life and career.</p>

Have you read any of the wonderful books by Michelle Winner? <a href=""&gt;;/a> She is a fantastic speech/language pathologist in No. Calif and she works with young people like you--highly intelligent but due to being on the spectrum lack necessary social skills to succeed in work and school environments. I am a speech/language pathologist who also works with many young people who need to learn the skills to cope in the school environment. The key to a tutoring job is that it is a relationship and with Aspergers. Your perception of the other person is probably not quite on target. My experience with students with Aspergers is that they have difficulty teaching concepts to others even though they know the subject matter quite well. Teaching requires giving instructions and then probing for knowledge. Teaching also requires you to take the perspective of the other person and as you know this is difficult for individuals on the spectrum. I often tell parents of my students that they have to remember to practice the little social nuances because that is what makes the other person uncomfortable and this includes volume, intonation as well as eye contact. The bright Asperger kids can change their social behaviors but the key is they have to want to try to be a part of the social interaction and actually understand that their perception of the world is different from other students.</p>

<p>You can have a wonderful career and a great social life. Talk to a skilled clinician there are Speech/Language Pathologist as well as Psychologist who specialize in socail skills for bright capable young people like you.</p>

<p>oh that sounds great I will ahve to take a look waitingmom
My daughter who has ADD is rooming with a boy with aspergers next year- which should be very interesting- they have a two bedroom/two bath townhouse on campus so they should have a lot of space- although I imagine they have very different ways of responding to social conflicts</p>

<p>One thing she found very helpful for her- is to lead an ADD support group- her school has less than 1500 students, but with the increase of aspergers as a diagnosis, I expect that larger schools probably have the numbers and the need to have asperger support groups, especially in a school that is large enough to have a school of engineering.</p>

<p>I agree with the above post: I am not being offered much more advice other than see a professional, which I have done and they have told me to come up with something to say about Asperger's to these people so that I will get hired as a mentor and tutor. I need to see some advice on WHAT TO SAY to explain my Asperger's and why it affected me.</p>

<p>Thank you for your comments and please keep them coming.</p>


<p>Do keep the big picture in mind: preparing yourself for a great career as a biologist rather than being hired as a mentor and tutor in college.
It is very important for your long-term prospects, inclduing getting internships and jobs, that you gain access to a specialist in Asperger's who can offer you advice on how to handle Asperger's symptoms and teach you coping<br>
What you can do, since this is almost the end of the term, is to commit to seeing a specialist and to ask that a decision about mentoring and tutoring be deferred until the fall when, hopefully, you will have had the benefit of specialist help and of support groups. strategies. Understand that an explanation of Asperger's will make people more sympathetic but will not make your difficulties in interacting with them go away. But keep in mind as well that professional help can be of great benefit, and that you CAN have a great career.</p>

<p>Actually, Bioeng, You were offered several good pieces of advice. You know enough abt Asperber's to write a list of common symptoms. Even summarizing from the DSM-4 would be helpful.
Videotaping your interactions with peers/students, and then reviewing with a professional would be most helpful. In support groups, peers offer feedback to others. Skills such as slowing down, thinking before talking, breathing techniques, can be learned. Your family could help with the videotape. If you are not allowed to tape yourself tutoring someone, you could tape a family function.
Bioeng is a wondeful choice of profession. It involve intellect and technical skills. Teaching is on the other end of the spectrum, utilizing social skills. Learning how to make the other person feel relaxed, being aware of their anxieties about feeling "stupid" and vulnerable, are more necessary than advanced knowledge. Think of all the brilliant scientists who are not good teachers!</p>

<p>bio, as others have reassured you, no one here is telling you that you cannot get a job, far from it! But you may want to rethink the sorts of jobs that you are most likely to be successful in at this point.

WaitingMom and others are saying that perhaps tutoring may not be the best kind of job for you. You seem to have your heart set on explaining the challenges due to your Aspergers so you can tutor again, but you might want in parallel to look for a job that does not involve teaching. Given your very strong coursework and high GPA, would there be any openings as a grading assistant to one of your professors? (I'm just pulling ideas out of the air, this might not make sense in your situation.) Do not judge your future options based on your success as a tutor: not everyone has the appropriate skills to be a good tutor, most of us know many people who are brilliant but not cut out to be tutors!</p>

<p>It would be a good idea to have a backup plan in case the option to resume tutoring is not available. You might make a list of other jobs you would be interested in doing (you have probably already made this list! :) ) and perhaps talk it over with your counselor. I'm sure you will be able to find a job which uses your talents and in which you can be successful.</p>


<p>Thinking back further, my S, who is quite advanced in math, had trouble helping his classmates in math, because, as he said, "too many things are obvious to me, so I don't think I need to explain them." He had trouble putting himself in their shoes mentally. As Bookworm says, empathy is more important for a teacher, tutor or mentor than actual knowledge. So his advanced knowledge, coupled with his immaturity, made him less able to be a good mentor than had he been only slightly ahead of his peers. And he does not have Asperger's. Just to let you know that you are not the only person who has difficulties tutoring others.</p>

<p>Bio, I think you would benefit from learning as much as you can about Asperger's, and how people with the syndrome are organically different from those without. One of the recent theories has to do with a lack of "mirror" cells which generate empathy. I think this is the root of your tutoring problem. In a tutoring situation, you are focused on the material; the student is trying to send signals that he or she is uncomfortable about something. You aren't picking up the signals, but remain focused on the math. Eventually, the two of you are speaking different languages, and there is a conflict. </p>

<p>Trying to overcome a problem like this is admirable, and, with effort, you can definitely improve your interactions with people. But, in the long view, having a deficiency in empathy is a little like being color-blind. Some career choices are just outside your capability. Many Asperger people find satisfactory work in areas that deal more in objects and numbers rather than relationships, beacause relationships can be so puzzling.</p>

<p>Remember that other people have a hard time understanding your view of the world. One way to explain yourself is to give the listener some clues about how you communicate, i.e., "Please speak to me directly about any problems. You won't hurt my feelings if you tell me I'm being too loud or whatever. I really enjoy explaining this material, and sometimes I get carried away with my ideas." </p>

<p>There is a wealth of good advice in the above posts, and I hope you'll reread them and let them sink in.</p>

<p>You are able to define and articulate what Asperger's is; however, I don't think that you have thought through what tutoring is. Your GPA and class rank are not necessarily qualifications for tutoring. A good tutor relates to and relaxes the student with whom he is working. A good tutor removes anxiety and tension for the student and simply and clearly connects the student to the material. I often find in assigning tutors to my students that students who have struggled with and mastered the material make much better tutors than those who know everything about the topic.</p>

<p>A great deal of effective tutoring is coaching, cheerleading, and meeting the struggling student on his own level and then moving forward.</p>

<p>I would say from your comments that you have not been approaching tutoring in this way. I do not have the clinical ability to say whether you would be able to. However, it does sound as if you are very academically knowledgeable. Perhaps your tutoring services could be offered with a disclaimer, an acknowledgement that you are not likely to be "warm and fuzzy" but that you do know this material better than any other student. You would likely get some takers who want to be challenged to move to the next level.</p>