I am looking for suggestions. My 15-year-old son has Asperger's (autism spectrum disorder). We are just beginning to address transition planning and I am at a loss for good resources for what will serve him well. I'm wondering what other people have found useful.
My son is extremely bright in math and science. He would very much like to be in a biologist. His scores in these areas are extremely high and he has the potential to be an asset to the field. Unfortunately, he has some big weaknesses from his Asperger's. First and foremost is the "social" aspect and how he interacts with people. But working in academic medicine myself for over 20 years, there is many a "weird" professor and given the right situation my son will do fine. The other big issue is written expression. He can not write or get the words on to paper very easily. His scores in this area are about 4-5th grade. Of course he can spell brillantly, because that is memorization which he has an unbelievable capacity for - at least for "information."
So how does a kid like this make it in college? What do we need to put into place? It would be wonderful if he could just focus on his area of expertise - but not probable given college requirements.
There is absolutely no reason your son can't go on to college and be successful. The only problem is finding the right school that matches his needs. As a result of the laws under "American With Disabilities Act", schools are providing more for students with special needs. I work at a small college as an "Academic Coach" (I specialize in students with LD and ADHD). Five years ago, my position didn't even exist. You need to find out what services would/could be provided by the school...things like substitutions for required coursework, accommodations on wrtiing papers, time extention on tests, note takers, coaching, just to name a few. The more you can learn about the schools, the easier it will be for you and your son to decide which would be best for him.
Can be done... Cambridge in the UK has an email list of Asperger's college students and grads.
Personal experience (been there done that, Aspergers, two engineering degrees, Masters, published articles and right now I'm heading the design of my company's next generation aneathesia machine and ventilators).
Well there is a lot of work to do so lets's get started. Sounds like your sons weakpoints are writing and social skills.
So what has been tried in school for writing? Start getting some ADA accomodations and let your kid choose them. Only he knows how his brain works. With pen or pencil my writing level is 3rd/4th grade. On a computer or dictating to a tape recorder/computer (dragon speak) - - well, you guess the grade level. How does your son write (get him to describe the process)? I compose entirely in my head and then do a brain dump. Actually I see the words move as I edit and compose. Rocking back and forth and other such motions are really useful to help me do this efficently. My entire thesis was written while biking and rollerblading.
Always ask your son why. When there is an odd reaction ask what picture it causes. My husbund and I had this big fight over rewiring the house (I saw pictures of removing all the walls to replace wires. All he wanted to do was snake a few wires to an outlet box!!). The goal here is to help you understand your son's logic so you can adapt to it. I also find it helpful to mentally diagram interactions.