Students with autism and other disabilities are now participating in programs that provide much-needed structure in "life skills" as well as academics, according to an article in the Washington Post (registration required).
The article profiles Laura Freeman, a student at Austin Community College. Ms. Freeman, a Maryland resident, moved to Austin to get help from the local branch of the College Living Experience, a for-profit service that provides help for students with a wide variety of disabilities.
From the article:
The demand for such transitional programs has grown as students with disabilities, who gained access in large numbers to regular classes in the 1980s, expect to follow their peers to college, said Meg Grigal, who leads a research team that studies higher-education programs for students with learning disabilities.
"It's very clear that students who have the opportunities to do this in a program that does it well come out with better employment opportunities and a better ability to advocate for their own needs," Grigal said. "Anecdotally, we know that providing support for these transition projects really works. We just need to document it."
The proper support, according to the program's model, is a regimen in which a student's week is heavily planned: tutoring sessions, study time, social outings and meetings with financial advisers. A scheduler helps Freeman plan her week in a color-coded agenda that includes time for academics as well as trips with her friends to the shopping mall and grocery store.