Supporting College Students with Autism

"Autistic Kids Learn to Survive, And Thrive, In College."  Universities across the country are seeing more and more students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. NPR reports on this new trend.



Each year many students with autism and Aspergers decide to continue their education beyond high school and attend two and four year colleges or vocational schools. Although getting into college may seem a daunting experience, staying in college can also become a challenge. Accessing accommodations in college can help students with disabilities defeat these challenges and succeed as college students.


Skills Needed for College Life:

  • Order and take medication independently
  • Get up independently and attend class
  • Keep dorm room clean
  • Independently perform hygiene routines
  • Independently was clothing on a regular basis
  • Cook simple meals
  • Independently able to balance work verses leisure time
  • Independently transition from preferred activities in order to complete responsibilities during free time
  • Independently manage sleep schedule

For more information on college transition for students read the article Self Advocacy and College Students with ASD

How to Access Accommodations in Kentucky Colleges

College and Autism Brochure[PDF] | [TXT]

Information about the process of accessing disability services at Kentucky's public postsecondary institutions.


Kentucky College Disability Resource Centers Database[PDF] | [TXT]

Directory of four year public post-secondary institutions in Kentucky and two year colleges in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS). The database contains contact information, web links for documentation requirements and services provided by each institution.

University of Louisville's Guide for Non Degree Seeking Students

A quick guide to assist students in navigating various University of Louisville processes, resources and other tools.


Accessing Disability Services at Public Postsecondary Institutions in Kentucky

Download Presentation [PDF] | [TXT]

Training Facilitator:  Diandre Glover Thomas, Program Coordinator Senior, Kentucky Autism Training Center

Each year many students with Asperger's and autism spectrum disorder decide to continue their education past high school and attend two and four year colleges or vocational schools. Although getting into college may seem a daunting experience, staying in college can also become a challenge. This webinar will discuss the process of accessing accommodations in college to help defeat these challenges and succeed as college students.






Kentucky Higher Education Programs

 Supported Higher Education Project in Kentucky

SHEP provides assistance to students with learning disabilities by helping them to develop an educational plan based on the student’s goals and interests. In addition, they provide mentors, a variety of academic and social supports, and assistance with the college application, admission and financial aid process.

SHEP is a project of the University of Kentucky's Human Development Institute and they also currently partner with Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Eastern Kentucky University, Northern Kentucky University


Kelly Autism Program Circle of Support Program for College Students
The student will have to apply to Western Kentucky University and then apply to the Kelly Autism Program. The KAP Circle of Support provides three major areas of supports: private room, study tables and mentoring.



Kentucky Employment Programs

SETP: Supported Employment Training Project - University of Kentucky Human Development Institute

OVR: Kentucky Office of Vocation Rehabilitation - Assists Kentuckians with disabilities to achieve suitable employment and independence

Carl D. Perkins Vocational Training Center - The mission of the Carl D. Perkins Vocational Training Center is that persons will achieve sustainable competitive integrated employment, maximize independence, and yet gain self-respect through the provision of comprehensive services.

ISAW: Innovative Supports for Autistic Workers - ISAW offers face to face training on autism and employment for all Business Service Teams in Kentucky

Coalition for Workforce Diversity -  The Coalition For Workforce Diversity is an alliance of companies and individuals working together to create employment opportunities for people with disabilities.


Out of State Programs

 Marshall University Huntington WV

"How Students with Asperger's Syndrome Make the Transition at Marshall University."
This video highlights several aspects of high school to college transition effective in supporting students living with an autism spectrum diagnosis at Marshall University in Huntington, WV. The video was produced in 2009 by Mountainside Media and the College Support Program for Students with Asperger's Syndrome, which is sponsered by the West Virginia Autism Training Center.


Pace University New York City, NY
Colleges today are responding to a new generation of students -- academically qualified, and matriculating with a disability -- autism spectrum disorders. This video presents strategies and methods that have proved successful in supporting students with ASD, in the OASIS program at Pace University in NYC.




Job Accommodation Network - The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues.

Autism Now - The Arc - The nation's source for resources and information on community-based solutions for individuals with autism, other developmental disabilities, and their families. A national initiative of The Arc.

ASAN: Autistic Self Advocate Network - Roadmap to Transition - ASAN partnered with the Family Network on Disabilities to produce Roadmap to Transition: A Handbook for Autistic Youth Transitioning to Adulthood. This plain language handbook was created to help young autistic people understand and plan for their transition to adult life.

Center for Accessible Living - The Center for Accessible Living is Kentucky’s first Independent Living Center. With offices located in Louisville, Murray, and Covington, its services span the entire state of Kentucky. 

Independence Place, Inc. - This is your life. These are your goals. We’re here for you. At the core of our mission is the belief that every individual can and should be independent. Open the door to independence today!

College Resources for Students with Disabilities -- Support, Advocacy and Assistive Technology to Facilitate the Transition to Higher Education

Coverage -- Guide to car modifications for people with disabilities.

Scholarships for Students with Disabilities -- Lists of scholarships specific to some disabilities as well as a section for general scholarships

Scholarships for Student with Disabilities --Lists of scholarships specific to some disabilities as well as a section for general scholarships. STEPS (Student Training & Education in Public Service) page showcases 40 scholarship opportunities for students with disabilities, along with a set of valuable resources and support groups to further help throughout their college and career journey.

Going to College with Asperger’s & Autism -- Resources to Prepare Parents & Students with ASD

Support for Students with Intellectual Disabilities  -- College programs, funding, and other key resources to ensure success

College Guide for Students with Psychiatric Disabilities -- A comprehensive resource for college-bound high school seniors and currently enrolled postsecondary students who struggle with mental illness.

The Guide To Avoiding Alcohol And Drug Abuse In College -- A guide to understanding the reasons behind college-age drug and alcohol abuse and how to fight those influences. 

The Best - Online colleges provide a viable alternative to the traditional college experience for students on the autism spectrum, whose learning needs and abilities can take many forms. We created a guide that covers learning accommodations and resources available to students when taking online courses

Documentation Requirements for College Tests




Government and Other Agency Resources

United States Department of Education information about accessing disability services at postsecondary institutions.


TRANSITION FROM SECONDARY TO POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION Access to postsecondary education: Planning for education after high school. (n.d.). Lexington, KY: Division of Exceptional Children Services Kentucky Department of Education.


Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)

AHEAD is a professional membership organization for individuals involved in the development of policy and in the provision of quality services to meet the needs of persons with disabilities involved in all areas of higher education.



How do I support students with ASDs in my classroom?

 College Autism Spectrum (CAS) is an independent organization of professionals whose purpose is to assist students with autism spectrum disorders, and their families. Visit CAS to view a variety of presentations, and a wealth of resources regarding supporting students with ASDs in your classroom.


University Students with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. A project funded by the London Development Agency and the European Social Fund to support students with ASDs in the University Setting. Exam tips, accommodations, and disclosure are some of the topics discussed.


The Job Accommodation Network provides extensive information about a variety of disabilities, and the accommodations that are often helpful for this population.


Asperger Syndrome: A College Professor's Guide: Part 1
The first DVD in the series "Asperger Syndrome and Adulthood," this video is intended for use by college students with Asperger Syndrome to educate their professors, teaching assistants, etc. on what it means to be a college student on the spectrum and how they might best be able to help them succeed. Understanding


Asperger Syndrome: A Professor's Guide(Part 2)
Asperger Syndrome: A College Professor's Guide: Part 2 of Understanding Asperger Syndrome: A College Professor's Guide. This is the first DVD of the series "Asperger Syndrome and Adulthood".