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Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)/Asperger’s/High Functioning Autism

ASD is a neurological disorder that affects how one interprets and interacts within the social world (Autism Ontario, 2013).  As a spectrum disorder there is a great range in the severity of symptoms and each individual with an ASD will have unique set of strengths and challenges.  Students with ASDs at the post-secondary level are typically individuals with average to above average intellectual ability.

Students with ASDs may respond to and interact with people and their environment in atypical ways they may be unaware of the thoughts, feelings or perceptions of othersand consequently may respond in ways that appear inappropriate . With respect to academic impacts, student with ASDs may also take information very literally and may have difficulty reading between the lines or interpreting sarcasm.  Students with ASDs can also have difficulty within their environment and can be highly adversely affected by sensory stimuli such as subtle noises (the hum of florescent lights), loud noises, or bright lights (Asperger’s Society Ontario).

 What Instructors May Do:

  • Provide a detailed course syllabus, that outlines the expectations,and evaluation procedures and deadlines - and refer to it regularly
  • Allow time for questions and clarifications - allowing the student to ask or repeat deadlines or expectations even when it has been announced in class
  • Consider alternate ways for students to demonstrate their participation through being able to submit questions or responses to class discussion on line



Asperger’s Society of Ontario.  Common Traits.  Retrieved from


Autism Ontario (2013).  What is Autism?  Retrieved from

Updated on October 25th, 2013.