Supporting York University Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

As more students are entering post-secondary in Ontario, there is a need across the province to address the unique needs of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Universities are finding themselves unprepared to support post-secondary students with ASD.  In 2012, York University was chosen as a pilot site to launch a transition program that works closely with high schools, prospective students and their families, current students, faculty and support services across the York campus.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neuro developmental disorder that involves atypical development in three areas: (1) social interaction, (2) communication and (3) behaviour.  Characteristics may include impairments in communication and social interactions, and repetitive behaviours and restricted interests. Additionally, those with ASD often experience difficulty with sensory processing. As a result, within the busy post-secondary environment, increased levels of group work and more abstract course material can contribute to greater levels of isolation, anxiety, depression and become more vulnerable to early exit for students with ASD.

In concert with the guiding initiatives of the pilot to work with York University faculty, Disability Services has desiged a workshop to support faculty in developing and maintaining effective classroom strategies in working with students with ASD.

This workshop is designed to support participants in:

  • Understanding how the characteristics of ASD can impact learning for students with and without ASD
  • Understanding the York context for students with ASD – successes and challenges
  • Developing practical strategies for support, communication and in-class instruction

By the end of this workshop, participants can expect to:

  • Know where to go for immediate support if there are questions on how to better support students with ASD in the classroom; or even how to support students who do not have a diagnosis of ASD
  • Have a more comprehensive understanding of the experiences (successes and challenges) of students with ASD on campus
  • Know how to better support students with ASD within and outside of the classroom

Raymond Peart, M.Ed., PhD Candidate, ASD Educator/Coordinator, Learning Disability Services
Eugenie Choi, M.Ed, ASD Academic Skills Coach, Learning Disabilities

Thursday Oct 12, 1:00 – 4:00 in DB 1014