You Can’t Be Autistic Because. . . You Went to University

I know many autistic people who have attended university. I did not.


5 thoughts on “You Can’t Be Autistic Because. . . You Went to University

  1. Yep, and I’m one of them for whatever it’s worth. My degree was little more than an expensive piece of paper (well 2 – BS and MS) in that it hasn’t really gotten me anywhere but I did go and graduate.

  2. Interesting.

    As I’ve said before, I’ve never had an actual diagnosis on the autism spectrum, because things were different when I was in school in the 80s, but I’ve often thought I probably would be diagnosed on the spectrum if I were in school today.

    That said, as a teacher, your video was somewhat thought provoking, about how school caters to one type of learner. I was mostly that type of learner. I always thrived in school, except maybe in English class because I didn’t understand the meaning I was supposed to get out of reading literature, and the way they taught writing at the schools I went to didn’t make sense to me… and even so I still got no lower than a B-minus in English, although given how easy every other class was to me, this still felt discouraging because school was the only thing I knew I could be good at. I attended a large four-year university right after high school, I continued to do well in terms of grades, and I mostly chose mathematics as my major just because it was the subject that was still coming easiest to me by the end of my first year. I didn’t have a career in mind at that point, though.

    I think going away to school was also good for me socially. It took some getting used to, definitely, after spending 18 years in the kind of family where I didn’t have a lot of responsibility or opportunities to learn to be independent. But it forced me to learn to grow up. Being at a large university in a city small enough where the university is the major cultural institution meant that it was easy to find others in the same place in life as I am and not feel so alone in the world. (Now, being in my 40s with no family of my own and living in the suburbs, I have the opposite situation, but that’s a topic for another time.)

    Today, as a teacher, I have struggled at times with finding ways to reach students with so many different learning styles. Of course, having 30 different students every hour and a limited amount of time is part of the reason it is so hard to reach everyone. But I think a lot of newer curricula have more diverse types of learning activities built in. The textbook I use, for example, is not the type where you watch the teacher do examples for a while and then repeat them. My students do a lot of activities in groups, exploring and looking for patterns, then we come together at the end and share conclusions. Of course, these changes haven’t made everyone happy; now people are angry because their children aren’t learning the same way they did when they were kids. Come on, people, you can’t have it both ways… you just want your children to grow up hating school as much as you did, but we want something better for them. For me, though, it has been an adjustment teaching this way, especially when it isn’t my natural style, but I’m doing what I can.

  3. Social myths around Autism are quite astounding! Sure, an Autistic Person can go to University … But, examine them outside of their comfort zones, or socially and you will notice their symptoms much more

    Chicago MD shows a great example of this! One of their MDs has a whole story arc regarding becoming accepted among his peers and trying to manage his social discomforts. One of the more interesting characters in the series.

  4. Gotta say, I’ve never heard that one before, but I guess that makes me 2x less autistic because I’m halfway through a second degree 🙂

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