Attention: Autistic college students
If you’re on the autism spectrum, being a college student is both uniquely rewarding and challenging. With that in mind, we’d like to share a few tips and resources.
Whether you’re a Vanderbilt student or not, it’s important to remember that there are school resources at your disposal. Your college should have a disability services office, which exists to help you obtain appropriate, helpful accommodations. And there are resources like Resident Advisors and college counseling services that you may have access to, depending on the type of school you are attending. We also encourage you to consider whether or not you want to disclose your autism to your peers. It’s totally your decision, and there is no universally “right” answer to this question.
Additionally, we really enjoyed this article and highly recommend it – it’s an open letter to any autistic student starting college, by author Whit Downing.
If you are a Vanderbilt student, there are some more specific resource options. In addition to our Student Access Services Office and University Counseling Center, we have the Center for Student Wellbeing and the Office of Student Care Coordination. And in the autism-specific arena, we’ve got the Vanderbilt Autism Resource Line and the Vanderbilt Autism and Neurodiversity Alliance (VANA). VANA is neurodiversity support group which shares resources & tips and offers a social outlet. Undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty, staff and alumni, and welcome to join. The first meeting of the year is Thursday, Aug. 29 from 4-5pm in the Wond’ry.
Also, if you are a Vanderbilt student, we encourage you to stop by the Frist Center space in the Engineering and Science Building to meet our staff. If you are not in Nashville but have a question, you can reach us via email.
And finally, we want to wish you good luck as you start the new academic year! There may be tough moments, but we know you are capable of success.