College for autistics? Count me in!

August 4, 2009
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Oh, I wish I could have gone to the new College for autistics at Cal. State University. Of course this flies in the face of inclusive education, but there is a time and place for everything. If this is a research experiment that will help understand how differently Auties and Aspies need to be educated, it will bode well for understanding how higher education needs to grow if it is to have any hope of being inclusive AND getting the best for our society from and for all our members. What a neat idea! Eh?

Much of the growing literature on autistics focuses on their limitations and disabilities: the socially awkward behaviors, the large gaps in cognition and conceptualization, the self-stimulating behavior like spinning or rocking and self-talking.

But it is also true that many students with autism possess academic skills more advanced than many students in computation, observation and documentation. They often bring a different way of looking at the world and a singular creativity. Can these skills and insights be harnessed in ways that allow the students with autism to succeed in college and in the larger world and work world? This question is central to the experiment about to begin in Hayward.

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