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Thriving in the Midst of Chaos: Parenting With Special Needs Kids

May 13, 2021

Episode 89: Successfully Navigating College With Autism, Part 2

In this episode, we continue our discussion of  everything college for teens and young adults with autism. Guest Dr. Matt Segall discusses how to decide on the type of college that is right for the teen with autism. When deciding on the type of college to choose, pay the most attention to social maturity of the teen, executive functioning challenges and independence in using strategies to support academics, self-advocacy ability, and the reason for going to college. If a teen has difficult with these, a 4 year college, at least to start, may not be the best choice, or taking a slow approach to school may be beneficial. For these individuals, Dr. Segall recommends a 2 year Associate’s degree option, perhaps transitioning into a 4 year college afterward. For those who are a hands-on or an experiential learner, technical school might be a great option. It can be helpful to start specializing in that area in the high school years as well. The likelihood of those who go to a technical school getting a job after college is much much higher than those who go the traditional college route. Online learning is best for someone who is overwhelmed by learning in person, but has a strong skillset of independent learning and self-management and executive functioning. Make sure to match the educational setting to the person’s life goals.


The four pillars of important support in college include care coordination, skill building, within campus inclusion and capacity building, and vocational development.

When looking to see if the school is a good fit for your child, consider the living situation, and examine the distance from home, the requirements to live on campus, classroom size, student support systems, academic coaching, mental health support, care coordination/case management, assistance with skill building, mentors, assistance with executive functioning, independent living skills, and the community of students. When looking for a college, reach out to the autism support networks there and meet with them, get a sense of how the student will register with the office of disabilities, inquire about autism supports on campus, look at academic rigor of the school, think about if the student has nailed down their academic career path, examine the community of students.

Don’t start looking into college and doing the aforementioned in the spring right before graduation. Start thinking of these things in the 10th grade year. Think about the level of independence of the student academically, build up independence skills and task management skills, build executive functioning  skills, and engage in person-centered planning to help them identify what they want in a community.



Emory Autism Center Education and Transition Services

The Parent’s Guide to College for Students on the Autism Spectrum

The College Autism Network


College Autism Summit

Eric W. Carter



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Show Music:

Intro Outro: Intro Outro 2 by Mattias Lahoud under CC-BY 3.0 License (

Theme Song: 90s rock style by monkeyman535 under CC-BY 3.0 License (

Self Care Song: Green and Orange No Water by Duncan Alex under CC-BY 3.0 License (


Hosted by: Jessica Temple and Lewis Temple


Disclaimer: Our show is not designed to provide listeners with specific or personal legal, medical, or professional services or advice. Parents of children with health issues should always consult their health care provider for medical advice, medication, or treatment.

Copyright 2021 Jessica Temple