Autism Spectrum Disorders and Asperger's Syndrome

Autism spectrum disorders and Asperger’s syndrome are neurological disorders characterized by significant difficulties with the use of language in social situations, poor social skills, and the presence of unusual and repetitive behaviors. Students with autism spectrum disorders or Asperger’s syndrome have normal intelligence and, in some cases, may demonstrate exceptional skills or talents in a specific area. But the social and communicative problems associated with these disorders often make social interactions, relationships, and participation in group situations difficult. Students with an autism spectrum disorder or Asperger’s syndrome may show anxiety in social situations, have poor eye contact, and have difficulty understanding non-verbal cues. They often have rigid routines and may be preoccupied with a particular subject of interest. They may also be overly sensitive to touch, sounds, tastes, smells, and sights. They may engage in unusual behaviors, such as hand-flapping, which may increase with stress.

Accommodations

Typical accommodations for students with autism spectrum disorders or Asperger’s syndrome include:

  • private rooms in residence halls
  • reduced course loads
  • preferential registration for smaller classes

Specific Academic Activities

Related Links

Invisible Disabilities and Postsecondary Education (video)

More Resources

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