Going away to college can be an intimidating experience for all young men and women. For students with challenges like Asperger Syndrome, a disorder on the autism spectrum, settling into college can be even more overwhelming. Author Rosemary Martin originally wrote this as a lengthy note to her son before he headed off for college. She added extensive research to create the book, Top Tips for Asperger Students: How to Get the Most Out of University and College.
The book begins with a chapter titled, “The Daily Routine,” which deals with getting up in the mornings, washing, dressing, bed-making, and getting ready to go out into the morning. Shouldn’t this kind of planning be obvious to anyone of college age? Well, no. Many new college students have never been away from home much less organized their days without family support. The author has checklists to help students to remember what they need to do to successfully get up and out the door.
Other chapters offer tips on time management, maintaining physical and mental health, and money matters, with practical tips and suggestions. The fifth chapter, “The First Week at University,” actually takes the student through those all-important first five days at school, beginning with moving in and extending into the first few days of classes.
Particularly emphasized is the importance of making friends and finding groups that share one’s interests. Some people are naturally sociable, others less so, and the author acknowledges this. The fourth chapter, “Socializing,” gives suggestions on how to meet and develop a rapport with others.
Food preparation, housekeeping, roommates, and personal hygiene are discussed, as are alcohol, drugs, and sex. Chapters on studying and getting the most of the college experience are chock-full of lists, tips, and questionnaires to identify tasks, and to plan and coordinate activities. A checklist about what to take with you to university is thorough and extremely helpful. A budget planner, a list of helpful websites, and a reference list of works cited round out the book’s resources.
While highlighting useful information and basic practical tips, the author writes with gentle humor and insight. Top Tips for Asperger Students: How to Get the Most Out of University and College, would be beneficial for every new student.
Martin is a lawyer. Her son Tas, a student with AS, wrote the foreword to the book after successfully settling into college.