Navigating Higher Ed with ASD Discussed

Monday 26, 2018

Northern Michigan University will host a World Autism Awareness Day guest presentation on addressing the challenges faced by college students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and ways to help them succeed. Chaturi Edrisinha, Oakland University professor and director of research for OU's Center for Autism, will speak at 4 p.m. Monday, April 2, in Jamrich Hall room 1100. An informal reception with light refreshments will be held prior to the event at 3 p.m. in front of Jamrich Hall room 1100.

NMU’s Department of Psychological Science is sponsoring the event, which qualifies for one hour of Type 2 BACB CEUs. Edrisinha will review the law, supports and resources that may hold the key to attrition and successful graduation for students with ASD and related developmental disorders as they navigate higher education. She will also discuss employment outcomes post-graduation from the perspective of accountability. She will share what OU is doing to address the needs of the ASD population and what can be done to address those needs in Michigan.

According to Jacob Daar, NMU professor and director of the Behavioral Assessment, Education and Research (BEAR) Center, heavy focus of treatment is placed on early and school-aged interventions, yet far fewer programs are specifically designed to support individuals once they are in college. While many individuals with ASD can succeed at that level, some find it hard to adapt to the complex academic, social and occupational requirements of being a college student. Specific areas of difficulty for some include interacting with professors and peers, being successful self-advocates, connecting with other students and peer groups, maintaining living arrangements and dorm life, and transitioning following graduation.  

Edrisinha is a board-certified behavior analyst who received her doctorate in autism and developmental disabilities and her Master of Education in early childhood special education from The University of Texas at Austin.

According to a feature on Edrisinha in “OU Magazine,” an overarching agenda in Edrisinha’s research is to develop instructional and support strategies in order to foster independence and inclusion for persons with ASD. She has been successful in obtaining multiple research grants totaling more than $100,000. She published more than 60 peer-reviewed articles, conference papers and book chapters in many prestigious journals, including the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Research in Developmental Disabilities and the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities. She has presented at numerous national and international conferences.

Jill Vermeulen
Student Writer