When a loved one gets diagnosed with autism, it’s normal to question what the rest of their lives will look like. Will they be happy? Will they find a job? Will they be successful? While every person is different, many adults with autism go on to be productive members of society, just like everyone else. If you’re on the spectrum yourself, you know that autism doesn’t have to hold you back. But what about attending college?
Adults with Autism Can and Do Go to College
Just because a person is on the autism spectrum doesn’t mean they can’t be academically successful. If they have the interest and determination, they can succeed in college fairly easily. In fact, about 1/3 of students with autism who do well in high school continue on to college.
That said, some kids need a little time after graduation before they’re ready to attend college. This isn’t a reflection on their intelligence or a sign that they’re not going to succeed. It just means they’re not up to the changes that college can bring. In those instances, it’s possible for teens with autism to wait a few years before going to college to pursue a degree.
How You Can Be Successful
Many colleges offer certain accommodations for adults with autism. But this does mean you need to provide documentation of the formal autism diagnosis. You’ll need to get this document from your doctor. The school will use this to make sure you receive the proper accommodations to further increase your chances of success.
Once you’re on campus, find the disability support services office as soon as you can. The people at the office will have access to the right resources and can help you get set up and adjusted to college life. You may also want to meet with your professors ahead of time to let them know of any accommodations that can help you be more successful in their classes. If you’re not comfortable speaking with them directly, you can always start by emailing them.
Don’t Be Afraid to Participate
Ultimately, you know your limits and your strengths. Autism is only one part of who you are. You can still have friends, find others with common interests, and contribute in class. This means you’ll need to participate with others actively.
Seek out student organizations that you might be interested in. Share your ideas in class discussions. It’s okay if you don’t feel comfortable immediately. The more you do it, the easier it will get.
Set Your Goals
For adults with autism, going to college is a huge step towards achieving goals and finding the right career. You may find it helpful to set clear goals with your advisor early on. This will help you figure out which courses to take, which majors you’re interested in, and which careers may be a good fit from the very beginning of your first semester at college.
Schedule an Appointment
Going to college can bring up tons of strange and new emotions. If you’re struggling to figure out how to handle those emotions, schedule an appointment today.