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STEM, students with an ASD, and college

Nationally, students with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) enter college at a rate lower than for almost any other category of disability, including learning disability, intellectual impairment, and emotional disturbance. At Village Glen, however, graduating students enter college at a rate of approximately 85%, far above the national average in every category. How do we manage this?  We actively encourage our students to go to college; we support them in making that choice and in preparing for it. We identify the barriers to college enrolment, whether they are financial, social, or emotional, and we address them while the student is still at school. Village Glen supports and encourages students and their parents to use the resources of the college and career counselor, the clinical staff, teachers and administrators to address these needs. But second, and equally importantly, among those students with an ASD who do enroll in college, some 34% enroll in STEM-related courses compared with only 22% for the general population. That is a striking difference! If roughly a third of our students are drawn to STEM-related classes in college, providing them the best grounding and education in those areas in school will greatly contribute to their success later on. Moreover, if those who might not otherwise have been exposed to such classes now do have that opportunity, that might well encourage them to further their studies in college in areas of interest to them. If STEM classes are what our students overwhelmingly gravitate to, then providing them the range and depth of classes in those areas in school is the best way to support them. That is what Village Glen is doing.

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