Supporting Accessibility for Advanced Technological Education

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Differences in Autistic v. Allistic Communication

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Autistic and allistic people approach ideas differently, but can learn to communicate effectively.

In our latest tip sheet from DeafTEC and AccessATE, we discuss how communicating with employees with autism can require some adjustments. This, of course, doesn’t mean autistic people are bad communicators – simply that the way they process conversation is different than some of us may be used to. Here, we will further explore the differences between autistic and allistic communication.

Tip Sheet: Workplace Communication for Autistic Employees

For those unfamiliar, “allistic” refers to people who are not on the autism spectrum, and has become an increasingly popular term to help distinguish people from their autistic peers without using judgmental terms like “normal” in contrast to “autistic”. When interacting with an autistic employee, it’s important to remember that there is no one “right” way to communicate, which of course is true regardless of whether one is on the autism spectrum or not. It’s also important to bear in mind that misunderstandings are as frustrating for the autistic person as they are for you, and having a better understanding of autistic communication can prevent breakdowns for both parties.

While autism doesn’t look the same in all people who are on the...

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Tools

This resource, from the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes, provides two documents and a video that explore research on the effects of increased access to English through computer-mediated communication (CMC) on Deaf individuals' language and literacy skills. The first document is a summary of research goals, methods, findings, and...
This resource, from the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes, provides a document and video that explore the importance of promoting high expectations for Deaf individuals' postsecondary success. The 7-page document summarizes research on strength-based approaches, postsecondary planning processes, role models, and parent/teacher roles in ...
This case study explores CAST's partnership with Manchester Community College, which aimed to remove barriers to learning in laboratory environments through employing Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles and accessibility best practices. The case study focuses on Manchester Community College's Improving the Education of Mechatronics...
This case study explores case-based learning strategies for active learning in bilingual classrooms with Deaf and hearing students. A five-part video series is provided. In part one, Dr. Sandi Connelly describes how she checks for understanding when teaching cases in large classes. In part two, Connelly discusses technology and digital media, and...
This case study explores the Opening the Pathway to Technician Careers Conference, which engaged biology teachers of Deaf students in 2019. The case study describes how Universal Design for Learning (UDL) can be used to support a bilingual (English and American Sign Language), accessible, and inclusive professional development conference. Best...