State budget crunches nationwide are forcing public and private colleges to hike tuition and other fees. Students are protesting the rising costs which, in some cases, are adding thousands of dollars to educational costs. And those 529 college savings plans are still a bit anemic. But smart shoppers can at least find bargains on required books and textbooks for their Spring 2010 courses. Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Borders along with Wal-Mart and Target are lowering prices of thousands of books — especially those supplemental texts that professors are fond of requiring. And the big online book retailers all provide discounted and free shipping for some textbooks. Used books are a great value, too, and you can find them online at Amazon and eBay’s Half.Com as well as at your campusl bookstore. It’s rare these days to have to pay full price for most textbooks. Chegg.com even lets you rent them. So take advantage of the deals while they last.
Can’t take the pounding Dolby Digital sound at movie theaters? Once a month, AMC Entertainment and the Autism Society sponsor Sensory Friendly Films at 88 participating theaters across the country. It’s a chance for people who are sensitive to light and sound to watch first-run films in a more accommodating theater environment. Planet 51 will be shown on Nov. 21. Most viewings are at 10 a.m. local time. Talking during the movie and walking around is allowed. AMC theaters will turn the lights up, the sound down, and allow families to bring in their own snacks. Tickets are $4 to $6 and can be purchased on the day of the event. Up next: The Princess and the Frog, Dec. 12, and Alvin and the Chipmunks 2, Jan. 9. For a list of participating theaters, click here.
The Journal of Whole Food and Nutrition was launched in December 2008- so it is only half-baked,” the website acknowledges. But with few credentials and no apparent backing by a significant scientific, educational or federal agency, the Journal has declared November as National Autism and Vaccine Awareness month. Beware of studies, journals, advocacy groups and others that purport to be voices of credibility for the autism community.
Pre-registering for your spring semester courses can be a nightmarish time as you try to line up the right mix of courses at the right times for your busy schedule of classes and extra-curricular activities. But the earlier you do it, the greater the likelihood that you’ll get into the classes you most need and want. If you’re a freshmen, try to get several of your core requirements out of the way early (Check out the Allegheny College video, above). Whatever your level, schedule classes with your temperament in mind. If you’re not fully awake until 9 in the morning, it’s probably best to avoid 8 a.m. classes. Check out www.ratemyprofessor.com if you’re not familiar with the person teaching the course you’re considering. In fact, when possible, schedule a brief meeting before you sign up in order to meet the professor, discuss the course and get a syllabus for the class. The more you know about a course, the better. You want to schedule for yourself a mix of classes that balances those that are writing and reading intensive with those that have a lighter workload. If you know your major, be sure to incorporate classes that count toward your major’s requirements. The goal is to have a well-rounded schedule that keeps you challenged, on track for graduation and that spices your week with electives that enlarge your world view.
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Dreading the long lines, security checks and bag fees at airports this Thanksgiving travel season? Lots of students are opting to travel home by train. Amtrak expects an uptick in holiday travel compared to last year’s 659,184 riders nationwide during the week of Thanksgiving. Students using the Student Advantage Card get a 15% discount on fares. Many colleges will provide shuttle service to and from the local Amtrak station if it is not within walking distance.
Stress levels tend to be highest among young adults — especially those grappling with college, new careers and ever-changing social relationships. And more are seeking counseling. Colleges and universities are hurrying to meet the demand. The University of Idaho is offering free screenings Thursday at its Counseling and Testing Center. Universities across the country are adding counselors. And the City University of New York (CUNY) is using an innovative computer game called AtRisk by Kognito to train faculty to recognize students who are overwhelmed. A recent poll found that 85% of colleges and universities have seen an increase in mental health problems on campus. Often the problems are severe. Some 2.35 million of an estimated 18 million college students are struggling with severe depression, according to the National College Depression Partnership, which is working with 20 select colleges to quantify and mitigate the problem. However, many young adults in need of counseling or other mental health services don’t seek help. In a 2006 study, the American College Health Association found that nearly 50% of students said they had been so depressed at one time in the previous 12 months that they found it difficult to function. Colleges are working hard to make sure students know that counseling is available and stigma-free.
By 2013, the diagnoses of Asperger Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Delay could — in a highly controversial move — disappear from the medical lexicon in favor of the broader term “autism spectrum disorder.” The change is among several unveiled this week as planned revisions to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Asperger’s only became part of that lexicon 15 years ago. Why so short-lived? The answers vary. ““Nobody has been able to show consistent differences between what clinicians diagnose as Asperger’s syndrome and what they diagnose as mild autistic disorder,” says Catherine Lord, director of the Autism and Communication Disorders Centers at the University of Michigan, one of 13 members of a group evaluating autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders for the DSM. The group wants autism viewed as a continuum, from mild to severe forms, with treatment available for multiple aspects of the diagnosis. Opponents fear the change will confuse insurers and limit treatment options. Well-known autism advocate Temple Grandin , whose biopic recently appeared on HBO starring Claire Danes, says of the debate: “P.D.D.-N.O.S., I’d throw in the garbage can. But I’d keep Asperger’s.” In January, the American Psychiatric Association opened the proposal to public comment.
“This last midterm I have taken completely devestated (sic) me because out of a class of 57, I was one of 7 people who failed the test. I don’t understand why I failed for a class that should be relatively easy to pass. I just don’t know what to do anymore. Just going to class, taking notes, and studying is not helping me.”
I ran across this post on a site called “Autism Blogger” and it really tugged at my heart. If you find yourself in a similar situation, here are some tips that may help.
1. Record every lecture and review your recordings outside of class.
2. Arrange to get course notes, PowerPoints, chapter summaries and any other study aids from professors or fellow classmates as part of the accommodations you are guaranteed as a student with a documented disability.
3. Get a tutor. The disability services office should be able to arrange one. If not, it’s worth finding and paying for one on your own.
4. Meet with your advisor or work with your parent to make a study calendar for the remaining weeks of the semester. Start working now on papers that are due in December. Stay on schedule for your reading assignments and visit your professors during office hours to discuss any subjects you don’t completely grasp.
5. Doing nothing should not be an option. Talk with people in position to help you — and follow their advice.