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Higher Education Resources

About the PAN Higher Education Forum

PAN has hosted two "Autism Goes to College" forums for professionals in higher education and autism advocates. These meetings, held on the University of Pennsylvania campus, are designed to identify issues related to students with ASD on college campuses. The group shares ideas for promoting successful adaptation to college life.

For notes from the September 2008 meeting, click here. (pdf file)

For notes from the September 2007 meeting, click here. (pdf file)

For Dr. Anthony Rostain's PowerPoint presentation, "Autism Goes to College: Identifying Issues and Sharing Ideas," click here.

Thank you to all the attendees from the following higher education institutions and autism organizations who have attended PAN's forums:

Arcadia University; The Art Institute of Philadelphia; ASCEND, The Asperger Syndrome Alliance for Greater Philadelphia; ASPEN, The Asperger Syndrome Education Network; Autism Spectrum Resource Consulting; Autistic Self-Advocacy Network; Bass Educational Services; Bergen Community College; Boston University; Bucks County Community College; Community College of Philadelphia; DeSales University; Dickinson College; Drexel University; East Stroudsburg University; Fairleigh Dickinson University; Holy Family University; Leahy Learning; Lebanon Valley College; New Jersey City University; New York University; Ocean County College; PA Department of Public Welfare, Bureau of Autism Services; Rider University; St. Joseph's University; Salem Community College; Shippensburg University; Swarthmore College; Temple University; Transition Success; University of Connecticut; University of Pennsylvania; The University of the Arts; Villanova University; West Chester University

College Planning Resources

Heath Resource Center
Online Clearinghouse on Postsecondary Education for Individuals with Disabilities

Information on Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Internships.

Asperger Foundation International

The "Asperger Syndrome College Resource Guide" provides lot of information on colleges, universities, and independent living programs.

College Planning for the High-Functioning Student with Autism

Lars Perner, Ph.D., shares information on "Preparing to be Nerdy where Nerdy Can be Cool."

Going to College: A Resource for Teens with Disabilities

From the site: "This Web site contains information about living college life with a disability. It's designed for high school students and provides video clips, activities and additional resources that can help you get a head start in planning for college." It was developed under a grant from the Office of Special Education Programs, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education.

A Guide to Assessing College Readiness: For Parents of College-Bound Children with Learning Disabilities or AD/HD
(a .pdf document)
From the guide: "Does your son or daughter aspire to attend college? To help parents assess college readiness, Landmark College has identified five essential foundations that are particularly critical for students with learning disabilities or AD/HD in order to succeed in a traditional higher education setting."

Google Lime Scholarship

From the site: "We're partnering with Lime to offer scholarships to students with disabilities who are pursuing university degrees in the field of computer science in Canada or the U.S. ... Scholarships will be granted for the 2009-2010 academic year, and recipients will be invited to attend an all-expenses-paid retreat at the Googleplex in Mountain View in 2010." Applications must be received by June 1, 2009.


News Items of Interest

Click on title to read.

Charting a Course After High School

Education Week, March 13, 2009
The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act calls for schools to help students develop a plan that will carry them to college or the workplace, but the requirement remains a challenge for families and educators alike...

Students With Learning Disabilities Get Help With College: College Living Experience helps students with learning disabilities pursue their dreams of higher ed
US News & World Report, February 24, 2009
Before moving away from her Southern California home to become a student at the Community College of Denver, Brittany Ross was nervous. She had tried college once before, but her Asperger's syndrome made it difficult for her to connect with her peers and stay focused on her schoolwork...

An autistic student's journey to college

NPR: Morning Edition, September 11, 2008
Sending your child off to college can be an anxious time for many parents. But for parents of children with a mental illness or learning disability, the transition is especially challenging...

Autistic students get help navigating college life

Associated Press , July 8, 2008
When Dan Hackett started college, he didn't make the grades he knew he could. Hackett, who has Asperger's syndrome, found at the Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh that some of his symptoms were holding him back. He had difficulty organizing his time and managing assignments...

Tips for college bound students and their families

San Diego Tribune, July 8, 2008
Choosing a college: Decide whether the student is ready to move away from home; Select a college that has a strong program in the student's area of interest...

My semester with an Asperger Syndrome student

Inside Higher Ed, July 7, 2008
I am not a psychologist or otherwise qualified to say for certain that "Fred," the name I am using as a pseudonym for one of my students, has Asperger Syndrome. He never identified himself as such, or sought any accommodation...

UA part of new program for autistic students: Social skills emphasized

Tuscon Citizen, July 5, 2008
Like most young adults her age, 19-year-old Sara Goralnik wants one thing: a life outside the watchful eyes of her parents...

UC grad is special - and very able

San Francisco Chronicle, May 21, 2008
Joel Sidney is graduating from UC Berkeley today with an almost perfect grade-point average, a bachelor's degree in American Studies, an honors thesis on Bay Area bluegrass music and the certainty that having autism is not going to limit his expectations...

Living to learn, learning to live: A lifetime of dealing with autism

Missourian, May 26, 2008
All the small yet extremely celebrated successes in Chad Winkler's 22 years have led him to his biggest success yet: college graduation...

How these college students deal with disability

Press of Atlantic City, April 27, 2008
Shakur Burton always liked to cook. Then he discovered it could be a career. "I realized I could make money, make a living for myself in hard times," said Burton who has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism...

Asperger's no barrier to University of Michigan degree

Ann Arbor News, April 23, 2008
When Tim Hull is surrounded by his classmates at the University of Michigan commencement ceremony on Saturday, he will be focused on what comes next--graduate school at the U-M School of Information. But his mother, Sheri, will be much more reflective about how far he has come in order to receive a U-M diploma...

Demand high for MU's Asperger program

The Herald Dispatch (Huntington, WV), April 19, 2008
When Rebecca Wallen first read about Asperger Syndrome, she couldn't believe her eyes. "It sounded like they had written the book about my son," she said. While much remains to be known about this form of autism, advocates say programs and services continue to be needed locally...

More students with Asperger Syndrome going to college

ABC News, April 2, 2008
Like many of his classmates, Robby Cvejanovich is trying to decide which college to attend this fall...
Note: This story appeared on Good Morning America and features Jane Thierfeld-Brown of the University of Connecticut. Jane presented at PAN's annual conference in March 2008.

Autism no longer an obstacle for students seeking college degree

Detroit Free Press, March 10, 2008
If college were purely academic, 16-year-old Cullen Kappel would have no worries. But the mostly straight-A student who studies astrophysics just for fun knows his challenge at college will be in what happens between classes...

Autism no hurdle for HCC freshman

Connecticut Post, January 14, 2008
Sitting in the quiet atrium of Housatonic Community College, Austin Smith, 18, talks about his goal of becoming a writer. The college freshman, with short hair and glasses, makes eye contact and is not at a loss for words as he talks about school, family and getting where he needs to go by bus...

Autistic student adjusts to college life

The Journal News, New York (Hudson Valley), December 30, 2007
Claire Sayers is a 19-year-old freshman at Albany University, SUNY. Sayers was born with Asperger's syndrome, which is a high-functioning autism spectrum disorder...

Campuses widen the mainstream: Program welcomes some with cognitive disabilities
Boston Globe, December 10, 2007
Dressed in a hoodie and cords, cellphone clipped to his belt, Wilson Lee looks much like any other student at MassBay Community College. Yet in his halting speech and hesitant prose, Lee, an autistic and intellectually impaired 19-year-old, is helping to radically redefine the traditional boundaries of a college classroom...

College Transition Programs Launched for Students with Autism

Newswise (Source: University of Alabama), December 10, 2007
Description: A handful of colleges nationwide are establishing transition programs for students with an autism spectrum disorder. With the number of ASD diagnoses ballooning in recent years, there's a growing demand to help these students navigate college life - the near ultimate in social interaction challenges...

Colleges meet special needs: Conference urges more possibilities

Detroit Free Press, November 6, 2007
Rachael Kollman is proof that having an intellectual disability doesn't mean you have to write off a college experience. She's taking classes five days a week at Oakland University, volunteers regularly and enjoys meeting new people...

Providing the Structure the Autistic Need for College Life

The Washington Post, October 29, 2007
The first 15 years of Laura Freeman's childhood were marred by erratic obsessions with television shows, outbursts when other children teased her, a suicide attempt and questions about why she behaved the way she did...


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