Language and Executive Function Skills Coaching:
Many college students with attention deficit disorder (ADHD), language/learning disorders (LD), or who are on the autism spectrum (ASD) benefit from an academic life coach to learn life skills they need both on the college campus and eventually to become independent adults. An academic life coach helps them develop the communication, social skills and executive function they need to take advantage of all aspects of college life and builds the skills they will need in their professional lives. Learning to communicate effectively with authority, as well as, peers, time management skills, and other executive function skill development is critical for success in adulthood.
“…. support(ing) a smooth transition from high school to post-secondary education may prove critical in helping students succeed in the post-secondary environment, as well as preventing a host of adverse outcomes (i.e., skill loss, symptom exacerbation, and poor quality of life in adulthood). The transition to post-secondary education typically occurs during late adolescence and early adulthood, a developmental period of heightened risk for people with ASD (and ADHD). Core ASD symptoms (e.g., social and communication impairment) and daily living skills tend to plateau, or sometimes worsen, after adolescence (Smith, Maenner, & Seltzer, 2012; Taylor & Seltzer, 2010), so intervening during this period may be especially beneficial with respect to longer-term outcomes.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4927339/
Academic Life Coaching
College is more than just going to class and getting “A’s”. Part of the experience is pursuing interests by participating in groups and clubs and making connections with new people some that will last a lifetime. With an academic life coach, students learn to choose extracurricular activities, manage their time so they can attend gatherings and complete assignments, and how to communicate effectively with others. How many times do you go to a group before you decide you don’t like it? What do you say when you first get to a club and you don’t know anyone? How do you find study partners in your class? Can you ask your peers for their notes? How do you find people to sit with when you eat in the cafeteria? Is it okay to stay in your room playing video games when you are not in class? How can you manage home assignments and actively engage with a group? Becoming an independent adult requires many skills. If a student is weak in core areas, such as communication or executive functioning skills, not only is navigating college life challenging, but they may be unprepared for the world of work. An academic life coach can help them acquire and use the skills they need to be successful at school and work.
Supporting the Transition from College to Work
Transitioning to adulthood can be difficult for many with learning disabilities, because of deficits in communication, social skills, and executive function. Not everyone needs or wants help, but some young adults continue to need help and an academic life coach help them develop the skills they need for adulthood. Inadequate support can result in increased mental health issues, failure to complete post-secondary education and problems eventually in their professional lives. Not just academic skills, but all the skills students learn while attending college are critical to success in their adult lives. With an academic life coach, many young people with ASD, ADHD, and LD can receive the support they need to optimize their college experience and ultimately prepare them for their professional lives.
Cortiella, Candace and Horowitz, Sheldon H. The State of Learning Disabilities: Facts, Trends and Emerging Issues. New York: National Center for Learning Disabilities, 2014 https://www.ncld.org/wpcontent/uploads/2014/11/2014-State-of-LD.pdf
Grandin, T. (1999, November). Indiana University Bloomington. Retrieved July 15, 2018, from https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/Choosing-the-Right-Job-for-People-with-Autism-or-Aspergers-Syndrome
Roux, Anne M., Shattuck, Paul T., Rast, Jessica E., Rava, Julianna A., and Anderson, Kristy, A. National Autism Indicators Report: Transition into Young Adulthood. Philadelphia, PA: Life Course Outcomes Research Program, A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, Drexel University, 2015.
White, S. W., Elias, R., Salinas, C. E., Capriola, N., Conner, C. M., Asselin, S. B., . . . Getzel, E. E. (2016, September). Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder in College: Results from a Preliminary Mixed Methods. Retrieved July 15, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4927339/