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Accommodations and understanding help students succeed

To observe Autism Acceptance Month, the Early Bird is highlighting student stories and insights.

April 27, 2021

Close up of student's hands taking notes during a lecture.To honor Autism Acceptance Month, the Metropolitan State University of Denver Access Center and the Department of Speech, Language, Hearing Sciences have collaborated in developing a series of short articles on autism.

This month, the Early Bird has highlighted the experiences and perspectives of three autistic Roadrunners. Thank you to our final student contributor, who received a diagnosis of autism at age 3 and has chosen not to share their name, for providing valuable insights and for helping our entire University community work toward greater academic access and inclusivity.

Early Bird: Why did you choose to major in History? 

Student: I chose my major for many reasons. The first reason is that there are many facts and information that are very interesting. Secondly, I fell in love with history at the age of 5. Lastly, history is fascinating to study.

Early Bird: Did you receive an Individualized Education Program or accommodation through a 504 plan before you came to MSU Denver? 

Student: I received an IEP in elementary school, which lasted until the end of high school.

Early Bird: How does your accommodation from the Access Center help you in college? 

Student: My accommodations from the Access Center help me have more time to complete exams and quizzes. It also helps to have a learning plan in place in case you need notes and other learning materials from the class. Lastly, having the accommodation helps communicate important communication skills with my professors.

Early Bird: As a college student on the autism spectrum, what do you find most challenging about college? 

Student: The most challenging is completing the reading on time. Another challenging thing is doing online courses where there is no in-person interaction with professors and students, which sometimes makes assignments hard to understand.

Early Bird: What do you enjoy most about your college experience?  

Student: I enjoy my independence and doing research. Another part about college that I enjoy is meeting new people.  

Early Bird: Please describe a professor whose teaching you really enjoyed and appreciated.

Student: The professors that I like are professors who have a lot of knowledge and enjoy talking about the subjects of the courses. I also talk about my research and areas that I need to improve on in my work.

Early Bird: How can MSU Denver, including our community of students, staff and faculty, support students on the autism spectrum better? Please give us your suggestions.  

Student: MSU Denver already does a good job with students that have autism. I would suggest that there should be a program to get many people with autism to join the MSU Denver community and prepare them for college. There should be autism-support groups.  

Watch this short film to learn more about another autistic student’s perspective:

Thank you again to this student for sharing their story, and see other student perspectives on navigating higher education and the intersection between autism and gender identity.

Topics: Academics, Access, Community, Inclusion, Student Success

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