The problem of educating students with autism is relatively new to the world. While much can be accomplished in this area through simple means, they are not commonly known or obvious, which often leads to the inability of students with Asperger syndrome to reach their academic potential. Much also depends on proper daily planning to enable young people to adapt painlessly to their new environment and to enhance their quality of life.

Typical Challenges for Students With Autism in College

While every person with autism is different, and the difficulties in learning can vary for each student, there are still a few of the most common challenges that may require additional instruction from students themselves, faculty, and sometimes their classmates. Remember that not all of them may be present in an individual with autism. So, let’s look at the most widespread ones in the table below. 

Planning skillsWith a large number of subjects and at the same time full autonomy, it may be challenging to prioritize and assess time expenditures, which is associated with what is called executive dysfunction. These difficulties can increase anxiety and seriously affect academic performance.
Self-care skillsThese are difficulties with taking notes and perceiving long verbal instructions, a tendency toward literal comprehension, rigid thinking, etc. Although it is difficult to classify them as strengths or weaknesses unequivocally, they can bring their specifics to the learning process.
Group work and social skillsIf discipline involves working in a pair or group, it can cause some difficulties. Also, a lack of social skills can negatively affect relationships with classmates.
Classroom BehaviorFor example, autistic students can disrupt the class flow with excessive questions, disturbing other students.
Sensory PeculiaritiesStimuli, such as strange smells, ticking clocks, or flickering fluorescent lights, can make it impossible for a student with autism to be productive. Sensory overload is a condition that results from an overabundance of sensory stimuli. It can lead to disorientation, inability to think, speak and perceive speech, hang-ups, blackouts, aggression, fainting, etc.
Cognitive featuresThese are difficulties with taking notes and perceiving long verbal instructions, a tendency toward literal comprehension, rigid thinking, etc. Although it is difficult to unequivocally classify them as strengths or weaknesses, they can bring their specifics to the learning process.
Emotional self-controlProblems with awareness of one’s emotions (alexithymia) and managing them can lead to conflict.

As mentioned above, overcoming most of these problems is usually not difficult or costly but requires awareness and understanding on the part of both students and faculty. If you want to learn more about the behavior and character traits of students with autism, you can use popular writing services like Best Essays Education, where you can find an essay writer to help you with this issue. 

Planning Tips From an Autistic Student to Help You Cope With Challenges

No one knows how best to use planning for college adjustment better than students with autism themselves. And below, you’ll find practical advice from Eric Chen, a young man with autism from Singapore who is also the author of two successful books on life with autism. 

✔️ Plan within your abilities:

  • Never make unsubstantiated claims about your abilities. You may find that you can’t live up to them, which will give an unfavorable impression to those who believe in you.
  • Gradually succeed: take on simple assignments, only raise the bar on your current accomplishments.
  • Be humble and patient, and accept that significant accomplishments take a long time.

✔️ Plan from experience: whatever you do, don’t forget the lessons of your past experiences or those of others. You may encounter many unexpected obstacles you won’t know anything about until you try. Thus, it is vital to prepare for them in advance.

Learn how to support students with autism and help them reach their academic potential with practical advice from a young author with autism

✔️ Simplify your plans:

  • Do away with all the planning systems you’ve learned.
  • Stick to just two things: a to-do list and a calendar.
  • Ensure you have at least 10 minutes of work for one minute of planning.

✔️ Plan for the near future by thinking about long-term plans: since most of your projects will never come to fruition, focus on the shortest goals. Instead of planning out the details, visualize and describe the results of your purposes:

  • Choose a valuable accomplishment that you want to achieve.
  • Analyze what commitment and real effort it will require.
  • Set a date when you will reach what you want.
  • Determine intermediate goals without which you will not achieve them. Set a realistic date for each of them.
  • Believe that one way or another, you’ll arrive at your desired outcome.

✔️ Allow others to plan for you: be humble enough to accept your limitations and let close people plan for you. Choose someone who can work with you and listen to their input. It will help you focus on your most important tasks.

✔️ Promise and keep your promises: make them as sparingly and carefully as possible, and then try to keep them. If you don’t keep your promises, people will never trust you. As a result, they won’t give you opportunities to develop your skills or more essential and meaningful work.

✔️ Make it happen: so many autistic people remain eternal students, who constantly learn but rarely apply their knowledge in real life. They don’t want to commit because they feel like they’re not ready. If it is your case, it’s time for changes. Start with something simple so you can get excited about putting your ideas into practice.

Learn how to support students with autism and help them reach their academic potential with practical advice from a young author with autism

Bottom Line

In conclusion, it is worth noting the role of parents and teachers who can help students with autism to overcome the discomfort or fear they feel to change the emotional meaning of a frightening experience if necessary. And every successful step in normalizing such a student’s affective development provides new opportunities to help them develop intellectually and socially. 

It is up to each parent of a student with autism to choose their methods and approaches to learning and development and assist in daily planning. However, at the same time, you shouldn’t forget that each student with autism has their interests, hobbies, talents, skills, challenges, and opportunities, so it is crucial to be highly attentive to all of them.

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