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Autism awareness still lacking at universities

If you ask people what autism is, chances are you will get a different response every time. The Autism Society of America states that it is a developmental disorder that appears within the first three years of life and affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills. No two people exhibit the same characteristics, which explains why it is called autism spectrum disorder.

The prevalence of autism spectrum disorder is on the rise, reaching one in 110 births according to the Autism Society. This shows that the problem increasingly needs to be addressed at all levels of society and especially in schools and colleges.

Many universities are already beginning to rethink their current support programs. The vast majority of the students on the spectrum admitted to universities have been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), the highest-functioning form of autism. Typically, these students have average to above average IQs with deficits in three main areas: communication, social relationships and behavioral/emotional intelligence. They are exceedingly literal people, have difficulty understanding facial expressions and usually have trouble maintaining eye contact. Initiating conversations is generally a scary prospect for them.

The few autism support programs that exist at TU today still require these students to use what little self-advocacy they possess to inform their professors of their diagnosis. Students with AS can often dread holding this conversation and, not surprisingly, most never follow through.

Read more here: The Collegian Online: Autism awareness still lacking at schools.

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