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University "Giving Up" Autism Support Program

I wish I could say I am shocked... but I'm not. The announcement below is probably going to become the norm. Minnesota: leading the way in autism acceptance, I suppose.

Special Supports to be Discontinued

The University of Minnesota is terminating the Strategic Education for Asperger Students pilot program.

The University of Minnesota is announcing this change in disability services effective June, 2008. This change will affect all students registered for services related to ADD/ADHD, Asperger's Syndrome, High-Functioning Autism, and PDD-NOS.

With the SEAS pilot program ended, the University has decided that DS specialists should work with students only on academic accommodations (extended test time, notetaker, etc). Specialists can no longer work with students as they have with SEAS.

I have been told the basic implications could include:

  1. The end of scheduled appointments (no longer meeting weekly or monthly)
  2. No special support for other issues like time management, social issues, writing help, and coaching.
  3. No mediation with departments to explore alternative accommodations.
  4. No special outreach to faculty, as SEAS was the conduit for autism awareness training.
There is no way, absolutely no way, I could have completed my Ph.D coursework (yeah!) without the help of the dedicated individuals in Disability Services. I had several seizures, fell (with injuries) a couple of time, and in general struggled with the topography of the university. I really do thank the people at DS and within the Office of Diversity.

To learn the university is saving money by cutting supports is truly disheartening.

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