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The transition from high school to college is tricky for most students, and for those on the Autism Spectrum, there are added and unique challenges.

But the college environment in many ways is also ideal for those on the spectrum, because of factors like scheduling flexibility, more choices and a diverse student population that may be more accepting of quirks.

On Wednesday, Oct. 9, Chapel Haven presented a workshop on the topic. Ginny Hodge, M.A., CCC-SLP and Chapel Haven’s Vice President of Autism Spectrum Programming, gave attendees an excellent overview that included exploring differences between college and high schools. She discussed the skills that are most important for success in college, what areas lead to difficulty, and how to prepare now for a successful transition into a college setting.

The evening included the tips of asking a son or daughter: do you want to go to college and if so, why. Getting everyone on the same page about college goals is a great first step.

Among the academic skills, higher order thinking and abstract language skills can be the most difficult in a college setting. Feeling more confident with life skills is also important. Practicing getting up in the morning, learning to handle medications, using the telephone and a calendar effectively are all good skills. Also learning how to ask for help and establishing some coping skills go a long way. Develop a support network and be sure your son or daughter knows they can call into the network for help.

Chapel Haven helps prepare adults for independent living. College readiness is a component of the program for many adults. Providing support in the areas of executive functioning, planning, time management and organization has helped many young adults start, continue on and complete college studies.