Autism awareness: College programs for students on the spectrum

  • In 2010, an email from the University of Southern California's chapter of Kappa Sigma was under investigation (and scrutiny by the media). The email in question intended to start a guide about which girls are most willing to have sex, plus which fraternity brothers are getting the most action. The misogynistic letter that went viral referred to women as "targets" and their vaginas as "pies," and stated that they're not "actual people." Gross! So who wrote it? "We learned the email did not originate at USC. The student who sent it is not a member of the USC chapter of Kappa Sigma and received it from a friend at another university on the East Coast," said Michael L. Jackson, vice president for Student Affairs at USC. "For reasons that are still unclear, he then sent it to the listserv of the USC chapter of Kappa Sigma sometime in November 2010. Following this, the email circulated more broadly in the student community." The student responsible for circulating the disgusting email has apologized for the incident. istockphoto

    (CBS News) Much of the media attention on autism focuses on children with the disorder, and early invention tactics that may lead to a better future for these kids. But what happens when these children grow into young adults?

    Dr. Jane Thierfeld Brown, director of student services at the University of Connecticut School of Law and co-author of the book, "The Parent's Guide to College for Students on the Autism Spectrum," told CBS News, "From what you see in ads and fundraisers you would think autism is a childhood disorder that people 'grow out of.'" Brown is also a parent of a 20 year old son on the autism spectrum.

    From the time of their child's diagnosis, families struggle with many issues, including education, independence, and making friends, to name a few. But after high school ends, families have few options for adult services. If the student is going to college, he or she may need additional services than what is typically offered on campus.

    According to College Autism Spectrum, an organization Brown co-founded with Lisa King of St. Catherine's University and Lorraine Wolf of Boston University, more than 15 colleges and universities around the country offer programs to help incoming students on the spectrum. In addition to those programs, Brown and her colleagues have conducted training seminars at more than 50 colleges around the country, preparing faculty and advisors on what makes a successful program that could aid the growing population of young adults on the autism spectrum.

    With help from Dr. Brown, keep clicking to see a look at five programs for students with autism, and other support university offerings for students with autism.