This article on MSNBC describes the extra services some colleges make available for students on the spectrum. That is good news – but notice the price tag. Isn’t college expensive enough without paying an extra $5K a semester?

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At the university where I teach, I see two issues related to this. We have a center that helps kids with learning disabilities and other issues (like AS). But it is as expensive as the programs described in the above article. So I see many students that could benefit from these services, who go without, because they can’t afford them. Invariably these students are not doing well in my classes (usually failing).

The other group I see are students that are enrolled in the program, but who don’t self-identify or ask for the accommodations they need. Every semester I have one or two who are on my list, but who don’t ask for accommodations.  I am not supposed to approach them about it if they don’t “self-identify” – so I contact their advisor (or sometimes the advisor contacts me).  I think there is a stigma about being in the program; I think students fear that I will be prejudiced against them if they ask for accommodations. I try to slip into my comments early every semester that I have a child with disabilities, so I’m very sympathetic with the situation. That seems to encourage some students to approach me who might not otherwise do so.

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The community college where Rob is attending does not have a program like this. But the advisors are pretty knowledgable, so I hope that will suffice. Today classes start, so here we go….

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