Managing Asperger Syndrome at College and University

3rd June 2005 at 01:00
MANAGING ASPERGER SYNDROME AT COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY: A RESOURCE FOR STUDENTS, TUTORS AND SUPPORT SERVICES. By Juliet Jamieson and Claire Jamieson. David Fulton. pound;20.

Despite having the intellectual and verbal skills for academic work and professional careers, when individuals with Asperger syndrome enter higher education they face hurdles in their living arrangements and social lives.

This book is addressed to these students, their siblings, peers, parents, tutors and pastoral support staff.

The Disability Discrimination Act puts the onus on colleges and universities to take account of students' disabilities and to make reasonable adjustments to ensure equal access and fair treatment. While there is widespread awareness of strategies that enable participation by students with dyslexia, sensory or physical impairments, practical support for Asperger syndrome is more haphazard.

Introductory sections give basic information on the characteristics of the condition, trawling briefly through strengths and problem areas. There is coverage of statutory rights and transition plans, with information on appropriate vocational and academic courses, valuable lists of contacts such as publishers, organisations and internet resources, including such gems as the "Oops... Wrong Planet Syndrome" website.

The book is accompanied by a CD of resources that supplies, among other things, information for interview panels, templates for recording mentoring sessions, and a pro-forma for personalised information to be given to academic staff.

The coverage focuses on day-to-day difficulties, which is where I suspect most help is needed (for example, it looks at organising belongings, time-keeping, managing finances, healthy eating, personal hygiene, money issues, study skills, joining clubs and making friends).

Hints for tutors include tailoring teaching to meet learning styles of students with the condition, such as visual aids, mind maps, arrangements for group work and examinations. This is an indispensable survival guide for the socially vulnerable.

Alec Webster

Professor of educational psychology, University of Bristol

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