Units covered/Conference Presentations/Career Plans

Conducting this research during the academic year has taught me how to find data on the challenges and successes for students with ASD at Post-Secondary institutions. These impacts have reinforced and given greater understanding of my diagnosis of ASD. Our units involve working together with faculty, and myself in examining and researching specific characteristics of autism. It is my intent to take what I have researched and learned to enlighten communities about the autism in so many factors that influence the way they are being educated. I would like to address the neuro-typical and the autism communities about the rights and responsibilities of both: the neuro-typical community to understand and not discriminate against the autistic student, and the autistic student to know their responsibilities in fulfilling all of the requirements to earn a higher educational degree.

Having spent the academic year expanding my research on seven additional units, I have been able to find information on the political outcomes of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders going to college, ways to measure the progress of students with learning needs, new activities that can be utilized when obtaining comprehensive support, the challenges of having certain rights while being enrolled in less structured environments, and images that explain the biological differences of the autistic and neuro-typical brain. I have also read about other comprehensive support programs around the country that have similar goals. During the academic year, have done presentations at these two conferences in two different institutions with one in the fall and one in the spring:

 

  • 2018 College Inclusion Summit Conference                     University of Vermont
  • 38th Annual Meeting of Dyson Society of Fellows          Pace University

 

Eventually, I will present at the showcase, which will happen in the beginning of May before I graduate. In terms of carrying my undergraduate research towards my career in global awareness, it is my objective to help international communities embrace the awareness of the challenges and successes of people on the autism spectrum.

 

 

Blog 3: Comprehensive Institutions/Action Plans/Professional Presentation

Moving on to a new phase of my research on autism education, I have proceeded to two units. Unit #9 reflects on different comprehensive support programs that I have discovered when I was in Vermont at the College Inclusion Summit Conference where I met with several directors from their own institutions. During the conference, I showcased the autism support program I am a part of and picked up information on comprehensive support programs that do similar tasks about the support I receive. After learning about more than 20 different programs, I have chosen four programs that I think are relevant to the research I have conducted so far and what I hope to do moving forward. The names of the programs are listed below along with where they are located and the their websites for more information.

Program Name                                                                                 Location

Keep in mind that the support programs I am discussing have a mission to help students with ASD in Post Secondary Education reach independence. Every program operates differently than other ones, but they concentrate on the same areas that I have explained earlier in my research.

Unit #10 discusses the importance of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders having access to technologies and obtaining the permission to use them in post secondary educational environments. It is also a good resource for students with ASD to enhance their social behavior when communicating with others.

According to The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, “it acknowledges the instrumental role of assistive technologies in enabling persons with disabilities to exercise their rights and freedoms.” The convention also clarifies that UN Member States are obligated to advance the role of technologies by making them affordable, and accessible for post-secondary students who use technology more frequently instead of hand-writing. Statistically, more than 50% of individuals with autism spectrum disorders who need devices with others are unable to receive them.

Antonio Guterres introduced a different Strategy on New Technologies in September 2018. His plan is to know how United Nations system will fulfill the usage of technologies in educational environments and how will it be achieved by the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. There are four values embodied in the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including the CRPD and other human rights conventions: Education and Equity, Inclusion and Transparency for independent living, employment, and education.

This year on autism awareness day, the UN Headquarters in New York will concentrate on expanding assistive technologies as a resource for people with autism as a tool to eliminate the barriers they face, and enable them to reach their fullest potential through economic and political participation in society, and in promoting equality, equity and inclusion. Topics to be addressed through discussions with self-advocates and experts include:

  • Independent living: Smart home technology and more
  • Education and employment: Communication and executive functioning
  • The right to be heard: Political participation and advocacy

This weekend, I presented my research at the 38th Annual Meeting of the Dyson Society of Fellows. It was a one-day student research that conference where I used a poster to explain my work on the importance of students with High Functioning Autism to be included in Post Secondary Educational Environments with their challenges and successes. The annual meeting has given me the opportunity to share my academic achievements with family, friends, and members of the Pace community and participate in an experience similar to presenting at a professional conference.

Blog #2: Measuring Success Rates

In University life, students and faculty complete evaluations about their educational performances towards the end of the semester. For students with High Functioning Autism who receive comprehensive support for their college career are evaluated by their coaches and the directors.

There are two measures that can be used to define success in post-secondary education:

  1. Quantitative – Academic Course Grades and GPA’s
  2. Qualitative – Social and emotional adjustments

We as researchers have developed a qualtrics measurement based on four criteria that measure the following:

  • Transitioning along the pathways toward independence.
  • Executive functioning that measures time management, organization, and communication skills.
  • Social Emotional growth that promotes social interaction and modulation of emotional feelings.
  • Employment Readiness to be able to hold a position within ones career successfully and be self-sufficient.

They provide a comprehensive view of students’ growth from freshman to graduation and employment.

Students will also be asked to fill out a self-reflective scale to measure their own perceptions of where they have succeeded and still have challenges. There is a comparative analysis between what is seen by the support services at Oasis and the students’ perspectives. These measurements are taken to keep a detailed analysis from both the student and the support service.

We will examine success rates from the Center for Disease Control and the National Institute of Health, it will enable us to do a comparative analysis on how comprehensive support at universities can expand their operations for their students to succeed.

Last month, I have had the pleasure of attending the 2018 College Inclusion Summit at the Davis Center in the University of Vermont. At the conference, I got to talk about the skills I build to be independent in a student panel, discuss the research I am conducting on Quality Education for students with ASD, and share my autism Claymation video titled, “My Name is David,” which can be found You Tube, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_O0vRTkaaY&t=39s). Being asked to do all of these tasks, I applied the skills I have learned through public speaking, team building, analytical thinking, creativity, negotiation, and leadership. The conference fits very neatly to what I want to do for my future in autism awareness. Below, I have included a picture from the conference.

Life of the Brain and Mind

Receiving another grant to continue the same research I began last summer, I feel grateful to have another opportunity to expand my research through different concepts. This time, we have conducted information through two aspects of individuals with autism spectrum disorders:

Biology of the Brain

Elasticity in the neuro-typical brain for people have who have suffered injuries, strokes, and brain damage, can be affected through training, physical therapy, and emotional counseling. The neuro-typical brain can be redirected so that other parts can take over some of the damaged areas. The autistic brain is different from the neuro-typical brain in the fact from childhood to adult hood, synapsis and neuro-connections in the brain are not removed but remain rigid and permanent. While we cannot train the autistic brain to redirect different behaviors and characteristics, we can educate and train behaviors through direct modeling, mentoring, academic coaching.

Brain map that shows the differences

Top Right: Neuro-typical Brain

Bottom Right: Autistic Brain

“Grandin has lateral ventricles that are significantly larger on the left side of her brain than on the right.”

Online Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2218611/How-differences-brains-autistic-people-explain-difficulties–shed-light-unique-talents.html

Theory of Mind

Most students with high functioning autism have the potential to be academically successful by receiving comprehensive support. Working with their coaches, they develop new skills to comprehend readings that are intensely vague, and study habits to prepare for exams. Executive Functioning skills for assignments, time management, keeping appointments, making it class on time, being able to communicate with the professors. Nevertheless, comprehending theory of mind comes naturally for neuro-typical people, and is very complex for the people with ASD. Usually it is difficult for people with autism to process that others think differently than they do, especially when people have opinions they don’t concur with. Despite the challenges, there are possible strategies for people with ASD to practice skills to be more aware of others expressing their feelings. Not all, but some of these strategies in the diagram are easy for individuals with ASD to comprehend.

 

How Theory of Mind Applies to Autism

 Online Source: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/autism/how-theory-of-mind-applies-to-autism/

Next month, I will be presenting my research at the 2018 College Inclusion Summit Conference in Burlington, Vermont. If I get footage while I am speaking, I will try to post some pictures. I am very excited for this opportunity and I cannot wait to share it.