College students with autism is focus of workshop for YSU faculty and staff

“Supporting College Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder,” a workshop hosted by the Academic Advisors Association at Youngstown State University, will be held Wednesday, Feb. 19, in the Ohio Room of Kilcawley Center on the YSU campus.

The workshop for YSU faculty and staff, which is not open to the general public, is designed to increase awareness and efforts in support college students with autism. The event is supported by the Centofanti Center of Health and Welfare for Vulnerable Populations at YSU, as well as the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services and the Professional Development Fund of the YSU Association for Professional and Administrative Staff.

Nicole Jarock, director of AHEADD (Achieving in Higher Education), a national organization that supports college students diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, will lead the workshop. Founded in 2002 in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University, AHEADD has supported more than 130 students in 39 colleges across the country. Jarock also serves as the director of Transition and Higher Education Services for AERI Behavioral Health Service, where she supports program development and community outreach and oversees AERI’s college preparatory high school, The University School.

The following sessions are scheduled:

9 a.m., Autism: The Facts, the Myths, the Solutions.
FACT: “If you have met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” While we now know more about how autism impacts communication, social interactions, and behavior, knowing how autism impacts an individual remains a mystery until we get to know the individual. Until then, let’s understand the facts (autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder), bust the myths (autism is not contagious), and identify solutions (visuals help, but dim the lights).

10:45 a.m., Autism: Considerations, Strengths, and the Gifts.
The transition into college, and then again into the workplace, presents new challenges for individuals with an autism spectrum disorder. Understanding the strengths and gifts of individuals with ASD will help to prepare individuals for success in college and the workplace. This training will examine common traits observed in college students diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder and simple strategies to support students in the classroom and beyond.

Noon, Lunch.

1:30 p.m., Theory to Practice: Skills and Strategies for Success on the Campus, in the Classroom, and Beyond.
The college experience is not defined simply by how well a student tackles the academic curriculum. Academic strengths aside, individuals with ASD must learn self-advocacy, self-help, organization, and social skills to be successful in college. This training will provide coaches an overview of skills needed within each category, strategies to teach and reinforce the skills, and how to promote independence for success. Participants will learn how to promote the development of self-advocacy, organization, and self-help skills and identify common accommodations that will lead to success in and out of the college classroom.

For more information, contact Bill Buckler, YSU coordinator of Academic Advising, at 330-941-1801 or 330-941-3620.