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Professor Ken Gobbo of Landmark College explains the range of symptoms contained beneath the heading of Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Posted: Mar 05 2012

Contact: Steve Muller 1-802-387-1632

ALBANY, NY (WAMC) – In today’s Academic Minute, Professor Ken Gobbo of Landmark College explains the range of symptoms contained beneath the heading of Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Professor Ken Gobbo - Autism Spectrum Symptoms

Autism spectrum disorders or ASDs are a group of disorders that cause difficulty with self expression and communication, reading social cues, and understanding the mind set of others. Shifts in diagnostics and improved educational practices have enabled more young people with ASDs to graduate from high school, attend college, and enter rewarding careers.

Many students with this diagnosis function at a high level and have specific strengths that can serve them well in academic settings. They can and do learn to memorize facts, understand concrete situations, and follow detailed directions, which help them in tackling complicated problems. Students with ASDs also often develop detailed knowledge about specialized topics that they are intrinsically interested in, for example; the Civil War, hurricanes, or computer games. College professors can better support this group of students by understanding the social communication difficulties and anxieties students with ASDs have, and how such students think differently about the world.

As an increasing number of young adults with autism spectrum disorders enter colleges and universities across the nation, we who teach them must become more aware of the challenges they face, and find ways to enhance our teaching that will benefit not just students with this diagnosis, but all students. There are many ways we can shift our approaches, and provide more variety in our teaching routines and in the ways we engage and help students as they work to understand content we offer. We must remember that our classrooms are social settings. Offering a greater diversity of presentation modes and learning activities that appeal to a wider range of learning and thinking styles, will not only allow for greater understanding of subject matter, but might also result in students developing a greater understanding and appreciation of each other's learning strengths.

About Professor Gobbo

Professor Gobbo is an associate professor of psychology at Landmark College in Putney, Vermont. He has published numerous articles on education and the needs of students with learning disabilities and his work has appeared in such publications as College Teaching, Journal of College Counseling, Journal of College Student Development, and Journal of Attention Disorders.

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