chapter  9
16 Pages

Supporting College Students With Asperger's Syndrome

Little has been written to date about both the nature of Asperger's Syndrome for college-aged individuals and about strategies and therapies for helping at this age level. Yet the challenges for these individuals are great: Thrust into an "adult-like" community with little or no parental-type supervision, the college student with Asperger's Syndrome is like a boat without sails that has been set off to sea. The transition from high school to college is momentous for any student. For many, it means leaving home, sometimes going far away, to embark on his or her most significant transition to adulthood. However nurturing or challenging the home environment has been, it is familiar, family members are accustomed to one another's differences, and have established rituals and routines. Any student going off to college must not only deal with leaving the familiar, often supportive home environment, but learn a new set of skills that affect all aspects of daily living. These include learning how to monitor and make choices about food intake and sleeping patterns, dealing with health problems; creating and following a schedule that changes from day to day and is dictated by classes, assignments, and social pressures; and remembering to show up for meetings and appointments. Of course, for any student, negotiating the social life of college and living full time with one's peers might be the most extraordinary undertaking. Roommates, shared bathrooms and dining facilities, drug and alcohol consumption, sexual norms, and the desire to make new friends initially overwhelm even the most socially competent students.