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Westminster Professor & Disability Director Present Research

Posted on Thursday, May 5, 2005

Dr. Amy Camardese, assistant professor of education, and Bonnie Van Bruggen, director of disability support services, recently presented their research at the Council for Exceptional Children national conference in Baltimore.

"My presentation, Working with Asperger's Syndrome at a Small College,' addressed the need to learn more about students with Asperger's Syndrome and how they are supported in college," Camardese said.  "The demonstration session profiled Rob's first visit to the campus, his fixation on fantasy, social difficulties, academic concerns, and the awareness of his disability.  In addition, issues that support services needed to organize and coordinate, such as tutors, job coaches, and education of the faculty was shared."

"In the past ten years the number of students with Asperger's Syndrome has increased 370 percent. Students with Asperger's Syndrome are often very intelligent, but have difficulty with social skills and the ability to interact with others," Camardese wrote.  "The second year I worked with Rob, I decided to try an independent study that required my supervision.  Each week Rob had to read a journal article related to Asperser's Syndrome and summarize the article in a one-page paper.  The independent study resulted in an awareness and acceptance of his disability."

"I spoke on the subject of discriminating when students with these disabilities are most likely to succeed at college, what kinds of programs or accommodations would most likely be offered or not offered, alternatives to college, or when more remediation or transitional treatment or preparations would be recommended before the student begins college," Van Bruggen said.

Camardese, who has been with Westminster College since 2001, earned her undergraduate degree from Ohio University, her master's from the University of Pittsburgh, and her Ph.D. from Kent State University.

Van Bruggen, who started at Westminster in 2004, earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon and her master's from the University of Iowa.

Contact Camardese at (724) 9467183 or e-mail or Van Bruggen at (724) 946-7192 or e-mail for more information.

Dr. Amy Camardese & Bonnie Van Bruggen