Young woman in wheelchair seated before a computer

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Though we prefer one-time blogs, we also accept cross blogging.

We are featuring below a cross blog from Michael McManmon of the College Internship Program (CIP) on the topic of the importance of young adults with Asperger’s, autism, or other learning differences finding the right environment to accommodate their particular sensory needs. You can find more information about CIP on their website at

Sensory Integration and Young Adults: Finding the Right Environment in a Classroom or Dormitory Setting

By Michael McManmon, Ed.D

I am the founder of the College Internship Program (CIP) a program designed to help young people with Asperger’s Syndrome, high-functioning autism and learning differences make successful transitions from adolescence to young adulthood.  At CIP, we prepare young adults ages 18 and up to enter college, pursue career training, and learn the skills needed for life, work, and independent living.  The diagnosis of Asperger’s, autism, or a learning difference sets the stage for young adults with sensory issues to get the help needed and gain the self-awareness necessary to make a successful transition from adolescence to adulthood.

Finding the right classroom, dormitory room, or an apartment environment that supports and accommodates your young adult’s needs is essential.  When I was in my early 50’s I was officially diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.  Looking back at events during my childhood and schooling my late-in-life diagnosis explains so many of the sensory issues, situations, and difficulties I experienced and continue to experience as an adult.

When I was in high school, with no desk in my bedroom or quiet space to go to, I used the dining room table when doing my homework and my favorite pastime, drawing.  I had to learn to deal with the constant traffic going past the table and the sensory overload this caused as my six siblings would come and go all evening.  Looking back and in retrospect, this was good training for college as it prepared me for being able to seek a quiet space to study.

My dorm room was impossible for this task.  The noises and distractions reminded me of my chaotic study space at home and caused me to feel the same anxiety I experienced during my early school years.  I found that if I started to read a book in my room, I would get distracted by my roommate trying to talk to me.  In my case, the rules of the library were perfect for me.  Studying in a small, enclosed cubicle met my needs, as everyone had to be quiet.  I would feel enclosed, encased, secure, and accomplish my work in an atmosphere that fed, not deprived my senses.  There was just enough background noise to keep me awake, but no conversation to distract me.

For your young adult the issues might be loud or repetitive noises (i.e. a loud clock ticking), bright lights, or foul smells.  Young adults who suffer from sensory overload can either implode or explode when faced with these issues on a daily basis.  To avoid either scenario, young adults need to develop their own specific pro-social coping mechanisms for dealing with individual sensory issues.

Students in our programs start with individual sensory assessments and then focus on the areas that cause them the most distress.  Awareness is the first step, followed by being motivated to change and lastly, being willing to incorporate new behaviors for coping with the issues.

Finding the right sensory environment for your young adult is vital.  Some students can do well in a cubicle in a library (as I did) others require fluorescent lights, or a quiet space with dim lights.  The spaces that students work should be accessible and work for them not of against them.  This allows your young adult on the Asperger’s, autism, learning differences spectrum to be more productive, have fewer problems, and gain the skills necessary for school, life, and work.

For further information about The College Internship Program, please visit or call 1-877-566-9247.


We Connect Now is featuring below a cross blog from our friends at the E-Skolar Blog, The Spout, who provided the following list of useful resources for college students. Their website can be found at

Resources for Students with Disabilities

by NICOLE on SEPTEMBER 13, 2010

College students typically have a hard time adjusting to life changes in their freshmen year. It’s the whole new independent lifestyle that would be challenging for anyone. Newly found independence and freedom can be a bit overwhelming, not to mention the personal responsibility of managing course work and organizing a schedule. Anyone who has been through the first year of college can relate to this stress.

But what about those who have more challenges to overcome? What about those students who need special assistance due to their disability? The university campus can be a great social melting pot that can be used to make lifelong friends and contacts. But sometimes people with disabilities need a little extra help adjusting to this new world.

Here are some great links for students with disabilities who are thinking about signing up for college courses.

  • National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials External LinkMaking Learning Resources Available to all Students with Disabilities
  • LD Online External Link – The world’s learning website on learning disabilities and ADHD
  • External Link – This site is a great resource for students with disabilities looking for information on new legislation, classroom support, accommodation, scholarships, etc.
  • COSD External Link – Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities
  • ODEP External Link – Office of Disability Employment Policy
  • ADA External Link – Information on the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • National Network External Link – Guidance and Training on the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • ODEP External Link – Office of Disability Employment Policy
  • JAN External Link – Job Accommodation Network: Questions about workplace accommodations, questions about ADA, and related legislation
  • Project Action External Link – Promoting access to transportation for people with disabilities.
  • National Resource Directory External Link – Education and training resources for wounded, disabled, and injured service members.
  • ADA External Link – ADA guide and publications
  • AAPD External Link – American Association of People with Disabilities
  • Disability Access Services Blog External Link – Blog from Oregon State University with information about students with disabilities.
  • We Connect Now External LinkWe Connect is dedicated to uniting people interested in rights and issues affecting people with disabilities.

High School and College Students

  • External Link – Office for Civil Rights Publication: Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights
  • External Link – Office for Civil Rights Publication: Protecting Students with Disabilities
  • Washington Do-It External Link – Disabilities, Opportunities, Internet Working, and Technology: Programs for individuals with disabilities who want to study technology and computer science.
  • NPR External Link: 10 Tips for College Students with Disabilities
  • Eberly College of Arts and Sciences External Link – Science education for students with disabilities.
  • Access Text Network External Link – This site facilitates and supports the national delivery of alternative electronic text books to higher education institutions for students with documented disabilities.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Programs

  • College Board External Link – Information on searching scholarships and aid
  • College Net External Link – Search for scholarships by keywords
  • External Link – The financial aid section with information on scholarships, loans, and grants for students with disabilities.
  • International External Link – Scholarship information for those who want to study abroad
  • disaboom External Link – Disability scholarship information
  • Incight: External Link – Scholarship research information
  • Lime Connect External Link – Scholarship for students with disabilities
  • AAPD External Link – American Association of People with Disabilities
  • Proyecto Vision External Link – A Bilingual website with scholarship information
  • External Link – Undergraduate scholarship program
  • Sertoma External Link – Sertoma hard of hearing and deaf -scholarship information
  • NAD External Link – National Association of the Deaf
  • AFB External Link – American Foundation for the Blind – scholarship applications
  • CRS External Link – Christian Record Services for the blind- scholarships
  • Lighthouse International External Link – Scholarship & award programs for the blind
  • NFB External Link – National Federation of the Blind- scholarship Programs
  • 1800 WheelChair External Link – Scholarship information for wheel chair bound students

For more resources in Spanish: Apré External Link

Other Blogs Worth Reading

a blog about: Life Without Limits with UCP-OC, United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County

IMAGE Center Blog Changing the Meaning of Disability for Everyone

Campus Progress


World Statistics on Disabilities

Academic Paper on Political Participation of People with Disabilities

Sidelined or Mainstreamed? Political Participation and Attitudes of People With Disabilities in the United States

4 Responses to Blog

  1. weconnectnow says:

    Tomorrow is September 11. I wonder how many people became people with disability as a result of the events of that day in 2001, and I wonder if there were any people with disability among the victims of the attack. Does anyone know?

    This is a link with some interesting information about this.

  2. I am certain that there are many individuals disabled as a result of that terrible day. We should also consider the psycholgical damage that day did. My own anxiety disorder manifested itself for the first time in my adult life as a result of that day.

  3. weconnectnow says:

    We were recently contacted by a visually impaired graduate student who is studying for an MBA at the University of Michigan. The graduate student is interested in connecting with other business graduate students that have visual limitations in order to discuss issues of common interest and to share best practices for example. If you are a business graduate student with visual limitations or teach or know any business graduate students with visual limitations who might be interested in connecting with other fellow graduate students, please contact us at so that we can put you in touch.

  4. Michael McCall says:

    I would like to subscribe to your blog.

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