College Prospects Brighter for Kids with Autism

New Book Provides Tips for Helping Students with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome Prepare for College

According to the journal Pediatrics, approximately 1 in 91, or about 1% of children are being diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Even more startling, the number of autistic individuals expected to need extensive adult services by 2023 is about 380,000, and the bill for caring for them will be in the billions of dollars. “These are alarming statistics,” says author Sarita Freedman. “It is our responsibly as a society to make it possible for individuals with ASD to be all that they potentially can be.”

In her exceptional new book, Developing College Skills in Students with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome [April 2010, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 224 pages, paperback, 978-1-84310-917-4, $22.95] Freedman provides unparalleled information and resources for professionals, educators and parents with an eye toward preparing individuals with ASDs to become thriving contributing members of society. “If we are successful, we will reap the benefits of their unique talents and distinctive qualities,” writes Freedman. “If we are unsuccessful we will be doing them a great disservice and will pay the price of supporting them throughout their lives.”

Developing College Skills in Students with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome describes the unique needs that ASD students entering further or higher education are likely to have. Freedman identifies the key skill-sets they will need to develop in order to be successful in college and in life, and shows how they can be helped to develop these while still in highschool. “Not only are the social expectations attached to being in a college environment complex, sophisticated, and demanding, the diversity of issues students with ASD bring to dorms, classrooms, and interpersonal relationships make the experience daunting, at best.”

In her book, Freedman outlines the skills required for success in further and higher education in relation to the strengths and weaknesses of individuals with ASDs, and explains how those weaknesses can be ameliorated to enable success at college. Such weaknesses include: an underdeveloped sense of self, a need for routine, a lack of ability to manage the social environment, little development of social tools, lack of assertiveness, relationship-social inadequacy or awkwardness and the inexperience with organizational skill sets needed for higher academia. “

The first generation of students entering college within the next five to seven years may struggle,” writes Freedman, “because we have just begun to understand the prerequisite skills for future success.” However, though the task may seem daunting, Dr. Freedman remains optimistic. “A joint effort between federal and state agencies and primary, secondary and post-secondary schools to identify and make the necessary changes will make it easier for future generations of students with ASD to make their dreams come true.”

Dr. Sarita Freedman is a licensed psychologist and maintains a private practice in Calabasas, California, USA.  Dr. Freedman has over 30 years’ experience working with children, adults, and families, in both educational and clinical settings. She has published articles in autism-related magazines and presented on many aspects of Autism Spectrum Disorders at conferences. Formerly, Dr. Freedman co-founded the Child Development Institute where she was Director of Special Needs Programs. Dr. Freedman is the founder of College on the Spectrum®, devoted to helping students with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome succeed in college and in life.

For further information or for a review copy, please contact:
Katelynn Bartleson, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA. 
Tel: (215) 922-1161; Fax: (215) 922-1474;
 Email: Katelynn Bartleson