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College Student with High Functioning Autism

Sarah Ward, M.S., CCC-SLP

September 17, 2012

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Question

I am working with a college student with HFA (High Functioning Autism) who has a lot of difficulty planning big projects.  How can I estimate how much time a research paper will take him to complete?

Answer

One of my favorite things to do when I look at a research paper like that is to ask the student to get a sense of how many pages the paper needs to be.  Let’s say the student says it needs to be 7 pages long.  I will take out 7 blank pieces of paper and lay them out.  Then I will ask how many note cards or facts/details should go on each page of information.  Let’s assume there are 10 paragraphs with 5 sentences in each for a total of 50 sentences, with 40 of those coming from note cards.  I will then get out a stack of 40 note cards.  Then I ask how much time the student should need per note card.  Then I actually lay the materials out in front of the student blank, so they have a true visual of the volume they need to accomplish.  At the college level, students will then look at that volume of material and realize that they cannot wait until two nights before it is due to complete.  This is a unique way of helping them anticipate.  

Sarah Ward, M.S., CCC/SLP has over 16 years of experience in diagnostic evaluations, treatment and case management of children, adolescents and adults with language learning disabilities, nonverbal learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, executive dysfunction, Asperger’s disorders and social pragmatics. Ms. Ward holds a faculty appointment at the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions where she provides instruction to graduate level students in the assessment and treatment of individuals with traumatic brain injury and other cognitive communication disorders. 


sarah ward

Sarah Ward, M.S., CCC-SLP

Sarah Ward, M.S., CCC/SLP has over 16 years of experience in diagnostic evaluations, treatment and case management of children, adolescents and adults with language learning disabilities, nonverbal learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, executive dysfunction, Asperger’s disorders and social pragmatics. Her particular specialty is in the assessment and treatment of executive function deficits.  Ms. Ward holds a faculty appointment at the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions where she provides instruction to graduate level students in the assessment and treatment of individuals with traumatic brain injury and other cognitive communication disorders.  A popular speaker, Sarah regularly presents locally and nationally on the topic of executive functions to a variety of professional and parent organizations, school and lay groups.  She has presented to and consulted with over 300 public and private schools in Massachusetts and across the United States.  Awards received include the MGH Expertise in Clinical Practice Award, the Distinguished Alumni Award and the Faculty in Excellence Award from the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions (2002, 2011).


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