College and Autism Beginning the Process and Finding the Right Fit


This past Christmas while we were visiting some close friends, their oldest son Ben was in the process of researching colleges and had narrowed his search down to three choices. Ben is brilliant and one of his three choices was Yale but that is beside the point. He had done his homework and was so informed on each school, it was very impressive.
Driving home that evening, I started to think about Ben’s conversation. I would love see Jordan attain that social skill. I would love to see Jordan talk amongst his peers about his college choices.
The next day I contacted his speech teacher and we discussed what took place the evening prior and worked out the details.
I talked Jordan into majoring in Sports Broadcasting, since he is obsessed with sports.
I suggested that Jordan start with studying sports broadcasting and if down the line he wants to change his mind, so be it. That would be his choice but we needed a starting point.
Jordan’s speech teacher agreed and had Jordan choose six schools that offered broadcasting and together the speech teacher and Counselor started the process of elimination.
Our homework over the summer was visit two Universities that Jordan chose. One was Columbia University, located in Downtown Chicago and North Central University located in Naperville, Illinois. We set up a private tour with North Central and let me tell you, it was like trying on the perfect pair of shoes.
Founded in 1861, North Central is recognized as one of Americas Best Colleges, by U.S. News & World Report. And it’s is ranked as a “college for high-achieving students” by Peterson’s Competitive Colleges and has been called one of the most interesting colleges in the nation by Kaplan’s insiders guide to 320 of the most interesting colleges.
This cute little, bright eyed, bubbly college student took us on an extensive tour. It’s a quaint college small, cozy and friendly. All of the Professors are very humble they are referred to by their first names. They are always assessable by telephone, email, or text. The classrooms are similar to high-school classrooms and the lecture halls seat no more than forty students at one time.
North Central provides free tutoring, honors students IEP's and encourages working and living on campus. If you’re the quiet type or have autism you can sit and watch the resource center all day or you can give tours if you have the gift of gab.
The broadcasting station was awesome! Again, it was cozy and friendly and has won many awards they are comparable to some of Chicago’s top radio stations. As a freshman, you begin broadcasting immediately. You shadow an announcer and they slowly allow hands on opportunity.
You have opportunity to broadcast basketball and football games on campus, as well. Jordan can spend three days on campus and the other two days Downtown Chicago in the Loop with an internship program set up by North Central with ESPN, Mike and Mike in the morning! Jordan’s favorite program
How cool is that? Placement opportunities would follow.
At the conclusion of the tour, we met with a woman named Ashley who went over details and handed us literature, etc.
I explained Jordan’s disability and asked important questions involving extra guidance- note takers having access to the Professors providing extra instruction if needed and if there is someone I can meet with to discuss Jordan’s needs. Lastly, I asked about financial assistance for students with disabilities. She told me to come in and they would help me with the process in applying for assistance for financial aid. Impressive, that’s all I have to say! The search continues but I believe we found Jordan’s college.
By the way, Jordan will be a junior in high school. We began this process early to create a level of comfort and knowledge for Jordan . Go Jordan!(: