New York Times Article: Along the Autism Spectrum, a Path Through Campus Life
The Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis used to mean a life of residential homes and hourly wage jobs. This is not the case anymore. Now more young adults with ASD are going to college. This New York Times articles looks into the lives of students at Western Kentucky University who have ASD. For years colleges have made accommodations for students with physical disabilities and learning disabilities. However, students with ASD need more support. That is why nearly 40 colleges around the country have created programs to give comprehensive support for students with ASD. The program at WKU is called the Kelly Autism Program and currently provides support for 45 undergraduates. The undergraduates spend three hours, four days a week in the Kelly Autism center studying, meeting with tutors, and conferring with counselors and a psychologist. This support is crucial to their graduation. Although it is hard to tell how many individuals with ASD go to college, a 2012 study in the Journal of Pediatrics found that about 50,000 teenagers with ASD turn 18 each year and 34.7% attend college, but without support, few graduate. Experts speculate that this is because many students who have ASD won’t step forward and accept support because of the stigma surrounding it. However, with these programs becoming more popular, the hope is that more students with ASD will be able to obtain a college degree in four years. These students’ presence on campus also shows the great strides families, activists and individuals have made towards including individuals with ASD in mainstream activities. You can read the full article here.