Understanding College Students with Autism Spectrum - PowerPoint Presentation

Understanding College Students with Autism Spectrum
Understanding College Students with Autism Spectrum

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Disorders Strategies to Support Students in the Classroom The University of Rhode Island Office for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning Sue Constable Adam Moore The Culture of Autism ID: 536644 Download Presentation


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Understanding College Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Strategies to Support Students in the Classroom

The University of Rhode Island

Office for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning

Sue Constable

Adam MooreSlide2

The “Culture of Autism”Different, not less (Eustacia Cutler)Individuals with ASD have unique strengths and interests that should guide our practicesWhile there is the spectrum in Autism, the notion of an autism culture suggests that individuals share predictable patterns of thinking and behavior that guide our understanding and interactions.Mesibov, Shea

, and Schopler (2005)Slide3

Psychological Theories of Autism

Impaired Theory of Mind

Weak Central Coherence

Impaired Executive FunctionSlide4

Theory of Mind (ToM): Being in Someone Else’

s Shoes

Is the ability to recognize and understand the thoughts, feelings, beliefs and intentions of other people.

It is the ability to know that other people have thoughts that are different from our own and they should be taken into consideration during any and all social interactions. Slide5

Some individuals Struggle to understand how their behavior affects youMay not realize how their behavior impacts how you feel about themFind it difficult to modify their behavior according to where they are or who they are with

May not have self evaluation skillsAre not always skilled at s

ocial fakingSlide6


Have you seen this Theory of Mind deficit in your students?Those students who may say something clearly not understanding how that may be interpreted by other students or you?This may include students who monopolize the time, want to talk about their interests….Slide8

The Hidden CurriculumIs about how well we follow the hidden social rules of the environment

We are always adjusting our behavior to help people around us to have “normal” or


thoughts about us, regardless of whether or not



interacting with


The Hidden Curriculum in College


you walk into class on the first day and there is just one other student in the room who you do not know, do not sit right next to that person. Instead, sit one or two rows away from them.

Do not shout out the answer to every question your professor asks even though you know it. Give others a turn to answer.

If you are not interested in what your professor is talking about, try to disguise your disinterest by smiling, nodding and asking a question.

Even if you are very interested in the topic, do not talk for more than a minute or two during class discussions so others can have a turn.

Do not tell your professor he is wrong in his teaching, even though you know he is. Contact him privately after class to discuss your thoughts.Slide10

It is sometimes assumed that students can… ask for help when they need it

work in a small or large groupwork independentlySlide11

To work effectively in a group, one needs to:Sit calmly in the groupAttend to the groupCommunicate ideas clearlyStay on topic Listen while others are speakingTake other perspectives into considerationFollow through on responsibilities assignedTake constructive feedback calmlyAppreciate diversitySlide12

It helps to clarifyClassroom expectations (arrive on time, be ready with materials out, cell phones awayParticipation expectations (asking and answering questions, taking part in

discussions by actively listening and responding, reflecting on the readings as well as individual and group

classwork). Group work expectations. Group members should develop clear roles and responsibilities for each of them.Slide13

Have you seen this in your university students? Slide14

Central Coherenceis the ability to see the big picture from a collective set of details. Individuals with ASD can be remarkably good at attending to detail but appear to have difficulty perceiving and understanding the overall picture or gist of something (Frith & Happe, 1994). Slide15

Weak Central CoherenceMany individuals are good at spotting details, but struggle with seeing the “big picture”

Classroom problems may occur because student doesn't know what to focus on or may focus on a detail of interestSlide16

Let’s t

est your Central Coherence….Slide20

Bottom of the SixthSlide21

Use your central coherence and your ability to draw inferencesSlide24

Have you seen this Central Coherence Deficit?Those students who go off on a tangent on a small, unimportant detail….Those student who totally miss the main “gist” of the story…..Slide26

StrategiesPoint out the salient parts of the text and lectureHighlight the relevant sectionsIf possible, encourage your student to research projects based on their interestsSlide27

Impaired Executive Function Impairment in Organizational and planning abilitiesWorking memory

Inhibition and impulse controlTime management and prioritizingUsing new strategiesSlide28

Executive FunctionStudents with ASD often have difficulty initiating their work, staying on task and being able to organize themselves.Slide29

List what you had to do this morning before you left your home.Slide30

Breaking Down TasksWe need to respect the tremendous amount of steps we are truly asking our students to accomplishMany students have difficulty with organization and we need to be able to separate out the tasks into the smaller steps for them.Slide31

Organization and Academic SupportsVisual SupportsChunk Assignments for the Students Put in the dates assignments are due into the calendar section of your syllabusSome students have accommodations of extra time for tests and extensions for completing and handing in work Clarify the best way to ask for help from you should they need it.Slide34

From College Students with ASDOn having a “disability” . . . Well actually I don’t have a choice to incorporate the disability. It’s always there. It’s in everything.On getting accommodations . . . I wish it wasn't necessary. I wish I didn't need to flaunt my autism to get help. I wish I didn't need help.On how professors best support me . . . When we run into something that we actually just don't have the ability to do, increasing the consequences for not doing it isn't going to magically make us able to do it. It doesn't work. Find a different goal. No, I do not have a sufficient sense of my own volume. Do we have probably volume control? Because I perceptually do not have this, volume control is probably not the best goal. Slide35

On why autism is a benefit:It's the entire way my brain is wired and people seem to think I'm smart. That's one thing. I definitely tend to have offbeat ideas for solutions, just because the way my brain works is not typical. Therefore, some of the solutions that I will come to and that will make immediate sense to me are not typical. This apparently winds up looking like creativity, which I might even agree that it is.Slide36

Consider 1 or 2 changes you could make to increase student engagement and success.What specifically would you need to do to make this happen?Slide37

What questions do you have?Slide38

For more information or questions, feel free to contact us!Susan Constable: Susan.Constable@ride.ri.govAdam Moore: adam_moore@uri.edu

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