College is one of the most exciting and terrifying topics amongst the spelling community. We finally have an outlet of which we are able to display our intelligence, but we still are stuck in an impulsive body. Where is the balance between the two? What accommodations do we need to appear tame in the classroom?
I am a very regulated guy, so it is hard to believe the impulses I struggled with in the past. I was a runaway fueling further chaos. My body was not my own, it never allowed me a peaceful moment. How did I become so regulated? How can you do the same? Well, the answer is something only you know. For me, acupuncture, massage therapy, and energy transfer worked. The holistic route resonated at the frequency matching my own and neutralized it.
For others, body engagers like sticker books, puzzles, and legos are helpful in achieving a calm, regulated body. It is important to remember that everyone is different, and each person will need their own set of accommodations. Some will need support staying in class, others will need extra time with the professor, and most will need double or triple the time for exams. There are even some who will need to attend class remotely, and that’s okay! Inclusion at its core is embracing individuality, so embrace yours! Do not shy away from any detail that supports your regulation. Try new things and once you find something that works, master it. The world is ours, we can do anything we desire.
Image description: A photo of a man in a yellow T-shirt walking away from the camera on a boardwalk in a forest.
If college is a goal of yours, start preparing now. Build stamina by sitting at a desk or table, up the amount of time your spelling sessions last for, practice with the communication regulation partner (CRP) you will be attending with, and experiment with methods to keep your body calm and quiet during lectures. Practice makes permanent! Practice, practice, practice, and then practice some more!
Reinforcers are great, utilize them. If you’re able to do even two minutes more of spelling than usual, reward yourself. This is a method called stimulus pairing. Pairing your efforts with something you enjoy will encourage your body to work with you, thus making you successful in your goals.
Most important of all is not being too hard on yourself. We all know that leads to dysregulation-station. Dysregulation=negative feedback for your body that is working overtime to reach goals. Be kind to yourself and remain aware of all of the small accomplishments you achieve. Small victories are still victories!
Never shy away from asking for the things you need. Request any and every accommodation you believe is necessary. Build a rapport with your professors and guidance team right away. It is crucial to your success.
Professors, please keep an open mind to the requests made. Needing to color or stand every 10 minutes to jump for a few seconds or knit during class could be the only way we are able to remain regulated enough to sit through a lecture. Be kind and support your students, we are there to succeed! Outsides do not always match insides, so it is best to let the CRP present address any concerns, they are more familiar and know how to help us through our hard times. Always presume that we are paying attention and understand the material being presented unless we directly state otherwise. And never ever shy away from asking questions to help you better understand us, we want to build connections with you!
If you are a college professor interested in learning more about nonspeaking people, the Spellers & Allies Advocacy Network offers presentations to help with this. Get in touch with us about scheduling a presentation or a meeting: email@example.com.
To all my neurodivergent friends, this is our time! Chase your dreams and don’t let anything get in your way.
Anshil Kumar is a 22-year-old minimally speaking male from Orlando, Florida. His passions are blogging and advocating for disability rights, oftentimes he combines the two. He is an avid member and supporter of Spellers and Allies, a group whose primary goal is to guide society in the way of being more inclusive to the neurodiverse community. He plans to attend university within the next two years. He enjoys quality time with his friends, family, and nature. One of his favorite things to do is wade in the calming waves of the ocean – this is where he feels the most peace.