The Autism Higher Education Foundation Pioneers Programs for Those with Autism: From Alliances with Universities and Colleges to Provide Avenues to Higher Education to a Pioneering Effort with the Boston Conservatory to Offer Musical Instruction, the Autism Higher Education Foundation Is Opening Doors of Opportunity to Adults with Autism
The incidence of autism has risen dramatically in the past two decades. The Autism Higher Education Foundation (AHEF) recognizes that the current lack of lifelong learning opportunities in higher education, music, and the arts for individuals with autism is a civil rights issue that demands immediate action. The Foundation’s longterm mission is to create global access to educational opportunities for individuals with autism. The AHEF is committed to creating, improving, and providing college-level educational opportunities to individuals on the autism spectrum who have requisite reading and writing skills and would like to continue to advance their learning beyond high school. As more children on the autism spectrum reach college age, there will be a greater need to help these individuals develop and nurture their strengths so that they can lead more rewarding lives.
Vanda Marie Khadem, Esq is the founder and President of the Autism Higher Education Foundation. She has been practicing law for over 20 years in Massachusetts. Her practice concentrates on family and special education law with a focus on representing children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Vanda is a champion of this cause not only due to her advocacy on behalf of her client population, but also because she was personally impacted by her own daughter Sarah’s diagnosis on the spectrum at age three. Vanda quickly recognized the need to fight for her child and her many clients to get the services and education they deserve. There is a paucity of programs for children on the spectrum as they age out of “the system” at age 22. Vanda feels that the situation is reaching epidemic levels as more children are coming of age. She recognizes the need for the right kind of educational interventions so that a child can discover his/her own personal gifts and potentially soar. Vanda states, “We have to look for lifelong learning opportunities for these children.” She goes on to say, “with specialized instruction, children with ASD can soar beyond our expectations. Children who are diagnosed with ASD need the right education interventions. When these are developed and applied, the child can learn age appropriate materials.” Vanda fervently believes that the lack of “lifelong learning” opportunities for individuals with autism is a civil rights issue and the next frontier in human rights, which demands immediate redress. Read More