PTA Students with Asperger's Syndrome: Making the Pieces Fit
Purpose: To share one PTA Program’s response to the academic preparations and clinical performance of a student with Asperger’s syndrome. Methods/Description: Following identification of the student’s diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome and his struggles during a clinical affiliation, an remediation plan was created. A psychologist, specializing in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), provided us with direction regarding methods to best assist our student navigate college and transition to a career. We met with the student on a weekly basis to identify and address areas of concern. Videography of mock interviews and patient treatment scenarios was incorporated to improve the student’s self-awareness and prepare him for future clinical experiences. We also identified key professionals on our campus to provide the student with psychological and emotional support, academic and career counseling, and decision-making during periods of transition. Results/Outcomes: Through the remediation sessions, the student became aware of personal and professional challenges associated with his diagnosis. This awareness allowed him to take full advantage of campus resources, and ultimately make an insightful decision about his future. Even though the student decided to change his career path and leave the PTA program, the student and the PTA faculty identified the outcome as successful. Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Coordinates for Change- Remediation Strategies for Success Change is not easy, particularly for people with ASD. PTA students with ASD may need an individualized remediation plan and access to a number of resources, including and psychological services, career planning and academic support. PTA faculty need to be aware of, and have access to, these resources.