From a letter posted by a parent on a listserv discussion about autistic students and leadership and community service requirements:
I do hope that others will recognize what a big stumbling block this is for our older children with Asperger's. My son also did not make the National Honor Soceity the first year, even though he was tied for the highest gpa all through jr high and up to that point in high school. The last year he did make it, but only after I helped him with the application and we went through anything we could think of that could be called leadership or communityservice. At the time, he wasn't yet dx with Asperger's.Community service requirements are on the rise everywhere, affecting everything from high school graduation criteria to college scholarship decisions--even, apparently scholarships specifically for students with autism.
If your child goes on to college, you may find the same problem arises in the form of scholarship and award applications. It has for us, at least. Our son's grades are still very good. However, he does not belong to campus clubs, does not hold a leadership position, etc. In fact, he recently applied for a National scholarship specifically for students with Autism. I was hoping he'd get some assistance through that one. But, no, he was told he was *required* to show Community Involvement / Social Activities. They also required letters of recommendation from close friends in his field or professors who knew him well - in order to submit a completed application. Well, the only people who know his character well are family or perhaps doctors. It is very frustrating and will affect many of our kids as they progress through school and college.
How many people have considered what these means for the autistic students we are supposedly trying to include? How broad an interpretation of "community service" are the Powers that Be wiling to consider? For example, would posting helpful tips on programming on online discussion boards count as community service?