There are thousands of kids with autism coming of age, and Sharon’s comment tells me Sam’s experience — while a first for him — is not unique in higher education and many in higher education need to do more to get ready.
Thursday when I picked Adam up from class, he didn’t want to talk, at all. He seemed sad. Finally, late in the night he told me that his philosophy professor asked the class who had read the assignment. Adam answered that he had but, fearing he might get questions he couldn’t answer, he added that he was not sure he completely understood what he read. His instructor ridiculed him and got the rest of the class to laugh at him. Naturally, he felt horrible.
But, that’s not all. Tuesday he went to the music department to get advice about the possibility of majoring in music. He wants to do soundtracks for movies and he is pretty darn good at it too. He was told that he should stick with engineering because he should have started his music career a long time ago.
He is 16 for crine out loud! Sixteen, with 18 college credits and a 3.8 GPA. What’s wrong with the jackasses who are supposed to be teaching our young people.
Higher education has come a long way to accommodate students with disabilities, but there are still problems. This is what happens when you build an educational system that has built-in assumptions.
Oh, and because my past life was in music, I can say this with complete authority: Any music professor who thinks music training needs to begin in childhood, like you do with gymnasts, isn’t a true musician and artist, he is a gymnast.