Young adults with Asperger’s syndrome struggle to find jobs

Her resume attracted plenty of attention.

Hospitals, technology companies and a major research organization indicated that Chelsea Ridenour – computer and math whiz, summa cum laude graduate of Capital University – looked good on paper. Some called for interviews.

And then, suddenly, it didn’t seem to matter that she is intelligent and dependable and tenacious. Ridenour can communicate with a computer in six languages, but she can’t chat her way through a face-to-face meeting with a stranger.

“People try to be nice. They’re not deliberately not nice,” the Hilliard resident said. “They just don’t understand.”

Ridenour is among a rising population of young adults whose coming-of-age stories are at best complicated and oftentimes heartbreaking. They are grown-ups with Asperger’s syndrome and other autism disorders, conditions that society seems to handle best when boys and girls are young and in school.

But Ridenour is 23. What she needs is a job.

via Young adults with Asperger’s syndrome struggle to find jobs | The Columbus Dispatch.

Program could smooth a hard road to college for student with Down syndrome

A new program in Missouri is aimed at helping students with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities experience college and build skills that will take them from home to independence and employment.  It’s called THRIVE – for Transportation, Health, Responsibility, Independence, Vocation, Education. Read this Kansas City Star story about a possible participant in the THRIVE program.

Ask Mary Warm about her hope for her future, and she cocks her head. The bushy ponytail swings, the smile spreads across her face.

“I love kids, being around kids and hanging out with them, so I want to be a teacher,” said Warm, 18, a junior at Archbishop O’Hara High School in Kansas City.

For most teens Warm’s age, her goal is fairly easily reached with good grades in high school and four years of hard work in college. But for Warm, who has Down syndrome, a chromosomal disorder resulting in cognitive disabilities, it’s not as easy.

But the University of Central Missouri’s THRIVE program, which starts this fall, could well be a big step toward making it easier after she graduates from O’Hara.

via Program could smooth a hard road to college for student with Down syndrome – KansasCity.com.

College and special needs students

Can my special needs student go to college?

That is the question that is often on the mind of a parent whose children have special needs, especially this time of year.

The short answer is yes. There are things that parents can do to help their child have a successful academic career while at college.

via Can my special needs student go to college?.

How a piano prodigy with autism is navigating college at Boston’s Berklee

The scrawny kid with the squeaky voice and Harry Potter glasses, the jazz prodigy from Sudbury whose feet didn’t reach the piano pedals when he began performing and recording, the autistic grade-schooler who dazzled everybody from Dave Brubeck to David Letterman with his keyboard wizardry, is growing up.

Last month, Matt Savage began his second semester at Berklee College of Music. Before setting foot on campus, Savage, who’ll turn 18 this spring, had already established himself as a rising star, having recorded eight CDs, the latest titled “Hot Ticket: Live in Boston,’’ and played the “Today’’ show, Birdland, Lincoln Center, and the New Orleans Jazz Festival.

via How a piano prodigy with autism is navigating a performing career and college at Berklee – The Boston Globe.

Autism: transitioning to college and the real world

I used to envy my friends who had children with learning disabilities and Asperger Syndrome. I watched their sons and daughters move from special education classes to regular classes–some even landed in our school district’s gifted and talented program. My understanding at the time was that since these kids were on the “graduation track”, they would likely go to college, enter the work force and go on to live independently.

I would later learn that academics alone are not enough.”My daughters have the grades and intelligence to get into college,” said my friend, Marnie Raymond. Her twin teenage girls have Asperger Sydrome.”But their underdeveloped social skills, lack of central coherence and poor executive functioning impact their ability to function without a great deal of support.

Now there is an option in the Bay Area for college-age youths with Asperger Syndrome, high-functioning autism, dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other learning differences to help them transition into the real world–The College Internship Program CIPin downtown Berkeley.

via City Brights: Laura Shumaker : Autism: transitioning to college and the real world.