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Realizing the College Dream With Autism or Asperger Syndrome: A Parent's Guide to Student Success Paperback – 15 Nov 2005

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"A story that rings with love and support, and a drive to help Eric achieve his potential through meaningful challenges." -- Kirkus Reviews

"This book feels like a kind and experienced friend sharing her and her son’s fears, doubts, and successes." -- Catherine Faherty, TEACCH teacher, psychoeducational specialist, and author of Aspergers…What Does It Mean To Me?

"This comprehensive guide to college success will be used as a reference by our international organization for years to come." -- Susan J. Moreno, President, MAAP Services for Autism and Asperger Syndrome


This is a very comprehensive guide to college preparation, selection and success. The real-life, personal accounts of Ann Palmer and her son concerning his own path toward and through college life are a key and unique component to this work. I would buy this book if only for the excellent appendices!... Our international organization will use this book as a reference for years to come. (Susan J. Moreno, President, MAAP Services for Autism and Asperger Syndrome)

They say experience is the best teacher and there can be no better way to learn about coping with life's challenges than first-hand from others. The detailed and comprehensive scope of Ann Palmer's book about her experience of enabling her autistic son, Eric, to progress through school and into college, makes it a valuable resource. (Newscheck)

This is a guide book written (for all 'you fellow autism spectrum club members') to provide advice, reassurance, information and hope in supporting students on the autism spectrum to fulfil their dreams. It is a book both parents and teachers will find equally stimulating and immensely valuable... Ann Palmer tells the story of her son Eric's transition through school, highlighting the difficulties in the education system for children on the autism spectrum. The scope of Realizing the College Dream with Autism or Asperger Syndrome covers diagnosis, parental concerns, school experiences, and the realisation of the college dream. Each chapter deals with a different aspect of Eric's schooling and provides insights into how to access the school system to accommodate the needs of a child on the autism spectrum. (British Journal of Special Education)

'Through "paving the way" and discussing the difficulties encountered at key stages in the education processes, the author clearly provides help and encouragement for parents of a child with Asperger syndrome. The main strength of the book, however, lies in its consideration of preparation for adult life within the further education system. There is clearly a sense of both stepping out, and of letting go, with the author again highlighting key stages in the process for both herself and her son'. (Teaching Fellows Journal)

Palmers interweaving of personal experiences (like preparing Eric for college) with general information and resources results in excellent guidance for ASD students in high school or college and their parents. (Library Journal)

Palmer describes how parents can help children with autism or Asperger Syndrome attend college, using information, learned from assisting her own son. She details his diagnosis and experiences in elementary through high school, how to decide to go to college; safety, health, and academic issues; self help skills, time management, and orientation; adjustment; support services; self-awareness and self disclosure, the benefits of college; and what to do after college. The appendices contain an annotated list of useful books and websites and a sample self-disclosure form. (Book News)

'Realising the College Dream with Autism or Asperger Syndrome is both a practical and personal account of one ASD students successful experience of going to college. This book focuses on how to get there and stay there: deciding to go, how to get in and how to get the most out of it. Writer Ann Palmer advises parents and professionals how to prepare the student and the transition from school and home life to a new environment and educational challenge, and how to support them through potential problems such as academic pressure, living away from home , social integration and appropriate levels of participation in college. She offers helpful strategies to show that college can be a suitable option for students with an autism spectrum disorder, as well as the basis for a successful independent life later. The book is essential reading for any parent considering college as an option for their child, the disability service provided in colleges and for ASD students themselves'. (Autism US)

Palmer relates a humble, gracious story of squiring a high-functioning autistic son to college... She thoroughly addresse[s] questions of self-awareness, disclosure forms, Eric's capacities for self-help, orientation, time management and exploiting resources. There's plenty of practical information in these pages, particularly about the college classroom environment... A story that rings with love and support, and a drive to help Eric achieve his potential through meaningful, appropriate challenges. (Kirkus Reports)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars 18 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very valuable resource 11 Jun. 2008
By James B. Buehler - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was sold on this book within the first couple chapters. We borrowed this from the library and by the time I started reading, I knew we had to have our own copy. Ann Palmer does a fantastic job of describing their transition into college without pushing the things that worked for them knowing that each individual is different. She modifies their experiences into a generic form that can be used by anyone. This could even be a resource for anyone not on the autism spectrum. I wish I had a guide like this before attending college. She starts off with a chapter on Elementary and Middle School. Then goes into a chapter on High School before getting to the College experiences. This transition is handled very well. Having the insights from the elementary through the college experience is very beneficial without focusing on the earlier years of school. The appendix contains a wealth of information as well with many book and web site references. We plan on using this when the time comes for our two asperger children (and one "normal" child) to make the college decision. Also, we'll take Ann's advice that she wished she had done some of these things sooner herself. If you are wondering if college is right for your child(ren) then this could be a helpful tool to make that decision and give you some things to concider.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for parents and professionals 5 July 2006
By Laurie Quartermain - Published on
Format: Paperback
Ann Palmer shares the information that she learned on her own journey to enlighten those who venture on this path. The chapter on summer learning sessions and college strategies will assist parents as they plan and prepare their child on the spectrum for college life. Professionals supporting these students will gain a better understanding of the difficulties that these bright students encounter. More than a personal story, Ann uses her knowledge and experience as a professional to mentor parents, professionals and individuals on the spectrum as they enter this new life phase.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mother shares her experience 11 Aug. 2009
By Dreamdog - Published on
Format: Paperback
Imagine that your local ASD parent support group has a member whose son has gone away to college successfully. You know this mom must have done tons of research along the way, from the time her son was first diagnosed until she was moving him into his dorm. She agrees to speak at one of your group meetings. What would you like to ask her?

The answers to your questions are in this book. It's a very personal account of how one family successfully prepared their HFA son for college. When I first began reading, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to use the information in the book because my son's situation is so different from that of the author's child. However, once I got past the sections on early childhood and reached the account of the high school years, I was able to apply the information to my family's situation.

I found the chapter on possible accommodations in college especially helpful. If your child receives any accommodations or services now, you know that it can be hard to find out what is available. I've found that other parents are often the most useful source of information on accommodations, and Ann Palmer proves that to be true.

I also found it very helpful to have a parent's view of how to help a child on the spectrum to become his/her own advocate. I had become nervous reading over and over that college students must be their own advocates, without having an example of how to hand that responsibility over to my son. This book helped with that.

The last chapter, on careers, is a useful introduction to what might come after college. The book also includes a helpful resource list and a sample self-disclosure form.

I got this book through interlibrary loan, but plan to buy my own copy to refer to over the next several years.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wealth of Knowledge 11 July 2007
By Hilda H. Jones - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is an invaluable resource for all college students and parents not just students with autism. A wealth of knowledge, I found myself using multiple color highlighters throughout this book b/c there were so many important things I wanted to remember and use.
4.0 out of 5 stars Even IF you are still doing High School, this is a good read to prepare for college. 1 Jan. 2014
By Okayfine87 - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lots of CLEAR ideas on preparing your Autistic Spectrum child or adult for college given by this mother. And lots of discussion on accommodations that colleges need to prepare to give to serve this population. I am glad to have this book as a reference for college prep and the first few years of college level coursework. The accommodations needed for high school and college are discussed thoroughly from the perspective of the parent.
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