Requesting a Single Room for a College Student with Asperger Syndrome

Michelle Alkon, AANE Coordinator of Adult Services
Article

Please feel free to adapt the following sample letter to your son or daughter’s individual situation and needs.


Month ##, 2011

Office of Residential Life and Housing
LIFE University
950 Main Street
Collegetown MA 01610-1477

Re: Housing request for College Student

College Student is a current patient with a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome. Although he functions well in an academic environment, there are a number of factors related to his condition that suggest he would be most successful if the university were able to provide a housing placement:

  • In a single room
  • At one of the First Year Experience Residence Halls and
  • In which his resident advisor pays particular attention to Student’s joining in with freshman social activities.

Sensory Issues

As is the case with many people on the autism spectrum, certain environmental conditions may cause significant discomfort and stress. In Student’s case, he has very narrow tolerances for noise and light. He prefers to study with background noise such as the TV or radio; however, he can not study or sleep with loud music in the background. Similarly, he prefers to sleep in complete darkness and has trouble falling asleep if it is too bright or if there is a light on in the room. Because of his sensory preferences, Student does all of his studying in his room and if would be difficult to work in a library or other public space.

Social issues

Student functions very well in both large and small group situations. He continues to have challenges in 1:1 social situations as he is not good at reading non-verbal cues in tone or body language. He is not good at negotiating or compromising if he is sure he is in the right. While he has improved enormously in social functioning, I do not feel that he has the social competence to get along in a roommate situation without significant support and facilitation.

Dysgraphia

Student has writing challenges that he has learned to overcome, in part, by the use of voice recognition software (Nuance, Dragon Naturally Speaking). It would be very disruptive to a potential roommate to study while Student is “writing” a paper, and difficult for Student to speak loudly and clearly while worrying about disturbing someone else.

Medication

Student takes medication on a daily basis to control impulsivity and increase his ability to concentrate on a particular task. It would be better for him to keep this private. He will be locking his medication away for safety reason, but it would be best if other people did not have knowledge of or access to these medications.

At the same time I am recommending a single room, I do not want him to be socially isolated. Therefore, I am also hopeful that you will be able to place him in housing with peers. It will be important that he develop positive social relationships with the other freshmen and I sincerely do not want to compromise potential social relationships by “depriving” him of a roommate. I hope you will be able to accommodate Student’s special circumstances by providing him with a single room in one of the First Year Experience Residence Halls, and that you will make sure that his resident advisor pays particular attention to Student’s joining in with freshman social activities.

Sincerely,

Hans Asperger, M.D.

cc: Coordinator of Disability Services
Parents