Supporting Students with Autism in the Classroom

Increasingly, individuals with high functioning autism (HFA), commonly referred to as Asperger’s Disorder, are finding their way onto college campuses. These individuals have been successful students academically in high school and meet the criteria for normal admission standards. Once on campus and expected to function independently, they often experience challenges in one of more areas: developing reciprocal social interactions, forming friendships, navigating large campuses and planning and organization. Their interests may be restricted, and they may have difficulty understanding how to interact in small classes where they are expected to contribute or to exhibit collaborative behaviors, such as working in groups on joint projects.

Instructors often become puzzled by the behaviors of these students in the classroom and the students, themselves, find it difficult to communicate their problems, seek support or share their feelings of inadequacy. This can lead to social isolation and academic decline.

Matthew Segall, Asst. Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University, addressed faculty and staff of Emory College on issues affecting students with Autism Spectrum Disorder in college.

You can access his talk on Echo 360:

The PowerPoint presentation that accompanied the talk is below:

Supporting Students with Autism in the Classroom