When we, as parents, approach the next phase of our child’s life, we often look to those who have been through it before us. Whether that is conversations with a neighborhood group, appointments with professionals or late night Google searches, it is wise to gather insight from those who have gone before us.

With my academic background, I look to books for these new perspectives. Many fellow parents and coaching clients ask for my book recommendations as they approach these milestones for their autistic students.

Today, I’m happy to share my recommended reading for parents of autistic high school students preparing for college. These books are not about the college application process – that’s a whole other genre. These books will help your family prepare for all aspects of college life including life skills, executive function, social situations and major decisions.

Important note: I find each of these books to have valuable information for parents of autistic young adults. However, they do cover some controversial topics which may not align completely with my personal views. As always, read thoughtfully and decide what is best for your unique family.

A Freshman Survival Guide for College Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders: The Stuff Nobody Tells You About! by Haley Moss

Written by a university student with autism, the firsthand nature of this book is helpful for parents seeking to understand what comes next for their student. This book does an excellent job of introducing the many facets of college life from Greek life to office hours and everything in between.

If you’re looking for a casual, student-centered approach to college readiness, I recommend starting here.

A Freshman Survival Guide for College Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders: The Stuff Nobody Tells You About!
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Developing College Skills in Students with Autism and Asperger's Syndrome

Developing College Skills in Students with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome by Sarita Freedman

I love the practical nature of this book. Freedman explain 7 skills sets for success and preparation steps for each of these areas: self-awareness, environmental, self-advocacy, organizational, asking for help, self-care, and social skill sets.

If you have a younger student in elementary school or middle school, this book also includes useful steps that your family can start taking now to prepare for the college years. 

How to College: What to Know Before You Go (and When You’re There) by Andrea Malkin Brenner and Lara Hope Schwartz

I’ve gotten to know Andrea Malkin Brenner through our work supporting young adults. With over 25 years of experience as a professor and creator of American University’s first-year experience program, she has lived and breathed college freshmen for her career. This book is designed to be read by students themselves but parents also benefit from understanding the topics and challenges their students may face in their first year of ‘adulting’ without the support of parents nearby.

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How to College: What to Know Before You Go (and When You're There)
STC Reading List - 7 Steps to College Success

Seven Steps to College Success: A Pathway for Students with Disabilities by Elizabeth C. Hamblet

The disability landscape changes from high school, where students are under 18 years of age, to college, where they are legal adults over 18 years of age. Accommodations that were granted in high school will need to be presented and approved in college. Autistic college students need to be prepared to work alongside the disability services office to get the supports they need. Hamblet’s book also explains skills needed to grow independence and outlines the admissions process.

Taking Flight: The Guide to College for Diverse Learners and Non-Traditional Students by Perry LaRoque

I appreciate LaRoque’s focus on the whole person in Taking Flight with topics like self-expression, college bureacracy, roommate relationships and having fun!

College is a time of exploration and independence and students with disabilities should enjoy these same moments of joy and happiness alongside their peers. 

Taking Flight
STC Reading List - You've Got This!

You’ve Got This!: The Journey from Middle School to College, as told by Students on the Autism Spectrum and Their Parents  by Rachel Bedard and Mallory Griffith

Written by the same authors as Raising a Child on the Autism Spectrum: Insights from Parents to Parents, this books shares both expert and parent perspectives on raising a young adult on the spectrum. You’ll hear about their struggles and success as well as the imporantce of planning and support for the whole family.

Whether you read one or all 6 of these books, I’m confident you’ll learn useful strategies to help support your college bound autistic student. 

If you’d like to discuss your family’s unique situation or learn more about our coaching packages, schedule a complimentary intro call here