Autism and learning disabilities no longer prevent students from attending college as schools offer more accommodations and private organizations provide additional support; however, cost of services still represent a barrier for many students.
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
Allen Park, Mich.
As he sits in class at Eastern Michigan University, a flood of images streams from Tony Saylor's vibrant, creative mind down through his pen and onto paper.
Often, his doodling features the 9-year-old character Viper Girl who battles monsters with her pet fox Logan. Saylor, 22, has even self-published three books of their adventures.
Saylor's professors didn't exactly welcome his constant drawing, but once he explained it was the only way he could hope to process their lectures – and even to stay awake – most let him continue.
For college students with autism and other learning disabilities, this is the kind of balancing act that takes place every day – accommodating a disability while also pushing beyond it toward normalcy and a degree, which is increasingly essential for finding a meaningful career.
But Saylor and a growing number like him are giving it a shot. Students who would once have languished at home, or in menial jobs, or struggled unsuccessfully in college, are finding a new range of options for support services to help.
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