IHHS Receives External Scholar Grant
The Division of Community Outreach has received an External Scholar's Grant to be able to bring a speaker to campus to discuss Asperger Syndrom in the college environment.
Asperger Syndrome (AS), a less severe variant of an autism spectrum disorder, is more common than ever among college students. One in 166 children are now diagnosed with autism, compared to 1 in 500-1000 approximately 15 years ago. In decades past, an autism diagnosis was given only to the most severely impaired children, children who never made it through public school, much less into a college classroom.
AS is a neurobiological disorder that impairs social interaction, behavior and communication. Those affected are usually average to above average in intelligence and have a tendency to become very interested and preoccupied with a particular subject. Undiagnosed people with AS are often viewed as behaviorally or emotionally disturbed because they cannot appropriately control their anger or impulses. They may behave in an eccentric manner, are loners, and are frequently teased or viewed as “nerdy” or odd by their peers. Many students with AS and other autism-like disorders are academically capable, despite their social disabilities and awkward mannerisms. In the college setting, where participation and social acceptance both in and out of the classroom is enormously important, students with AS and similar disabilities are challenged in ways that most professors are unfamiliar with. The person with AS often perceives the world very differently. Therefore, many behaviors that may seem odd or unusual are due to those neurological differences and not the result of intentional rudeness or bad behavior. While these children have been in college classrooms for decades, they often continue to be misunderstood by their instructors and their peers.
Ann Palmer, Director of Advocacy and Chapter Support for the Autism Society of NC will be speaking to ASU faculty on November 3 at noon in the Hubbard Center Classroom, 1028 Anne Belk Hall. A graduate of ASU, a published author, and a recognized international speaker on Autism, Ann will bring techniques and ideas to help faculty adapt their college classrooms so that students with AS can function better and even become assets to the learning environment. Informed instructors can serve as role models for how to support and interact with individuals who have unique communication, social, and learning needs.