Supporting Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

by: Brett Marshall

Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior and, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, affects one out of every 59 children in the United States. 

 This means at Minnesota State, which has an enrollment of around 15,000 students, about 250 students are affected by autism spectrum disorder. 

How does autism impact students? 

Autism impacts each individual person differently, so in order to understand each person, it’s important to understand the autism spectrum. The graphic below shows how autism varies from person to person with the most severe on the left and most mild on the right. 

Image courtesy of Harkla.co

 

 Information provided by MSU’s Accessibility Resources notes that most college student tend to be on the right side of the spectrum and have High Functioning Autism, Asperger’s or pervasive developmental disorder (PPD).  These students tend to excel in certain academic areas, notably art, math and science. Though these students may be academically gifted, their autism may hinder them in other areas like social interaction, impulse control, rigid thinking and time management. 

What can you do as a student to help your peers who have autism? 

One of the best ways to be understanding of a peer with autism is to just be patient – understand that they may process things differently than you.  In addition, make sure when working on a group project that you clearly map out their role and expectations and be sure to follow up with them to make sure they understand everything they’re supposed to do. 

What resources can autistic students receive from campus? 

Students with autism spectrum disorder can find support and resources by visiting Accessibility Resources in the Memorial Library, Room 132, or by phone at 507-389-2825. Students can also visit the Counseling Center, located in Centennial Student Union 285 and by phone at 507-389-1455. For safety concerns or help with disruptive incidents, students can contact Campus Security at 507-389-2111.

Stuttering Support Group Aids ‘Misunderstood Challenge’

by: Brett Marshall

“If you stutter, you are not alone.” That’s the slogan of the National Stuttering Association (NSA), an organization that has a presence at Minnesota State and wants to help students and community members who have a stutter.

“Stuttering is a complex and often misunderstood challenge that can effect a person’s ability to say what they say and when they want to say it,” Jeff Glessing, an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Speech, Hearing, & Rehabilitation Services, said.

The NSA campus group consists of a combination of adults in the Mankato community and MSU students that have a stutter. It’s estimated that about one percent of the adult population has a stutter, which translates to there being about 150 students at the University being affected by stuttering.

Image result for national stuttering association

Glessing says that stuttering “can hamper a person’s ability to participate in classroom activities, form relationships with peers and hinder networking for personal and professional growth.” He hopes the University’s NSA chapter can be a resource for students who are scared to confront their stutter.

“Talking with others who have experienced stutter can be valuable to taking steps to lessen the challenge stuttering often presents,” Glessing said. “As a person who stutters myself, I remember one of the hardest things was to open up about my stuttering with others. Doing so changed my life immensely.”

The support group meets once a month on Tuesday evenings from 5:30 to 7:30 and discusses issues relating to life as a person who stutters. He encourages anyone who stutters to consider attending an NSA meeting.

To get involved with the NSA chapter at the University, you can contact Jeff Glessing by email jeffrey.glessing@mnsu.edu or by phone 507-272-2752. Additional information about the chapter can be obtained from the Minnesota State Center for Communication Sciences and Disorders Clinic at 507-389-5224.  You can find additional information about the NSA by visiting their website www.westutter.org.

University Policies and Protocols

By CYDNEY COFFEY, CSU Communication Graduate Assistant

For incoming students keep in mind that there are various consequences for drug and alcohol offenses. The general consequences for students for drug and alcohol are as follows through Residential Life:

  • First offense:
    • Probation for up to a semester
    • Completing an online course that covers being under the influence of marijuana or alcohol depending on the students’ offense
  • Second offense:
    • Probation for up to a year
    • Completing an online course that covers risk reduction and involves talking with other students
  • Third offense:
    • The students housing contract is terminated

The more a student racks up offenses the longer their probation will be, the disciplinary sanctions will become more serious and the educational sanctions will become more expensive as well. Dr. Mary Dowd, Dean of Students and Director of Student Conduct stated “We try and make it an educational process.”

A couple of important things to keep in mind for incoming students:

  • The police provide the University with weekly lists of names of students who are cited for drug and alcohol uses off campus. This includes DUIs as well as students who were transported to detox.
  • Police are out in MASSES on campus during the first 8 weeks of school. Take into consideration that there have been situations where a student has been arrested 3 times in just one week!

Dr. Mary Dowd, stated “Bottom line, it’s all about safety.”

The University strives at having the student’s best interest at heart.

FOR ALL SAFETY MATTERS, INCLUDING CONCERNS ABOUT A STUDENT’S MENTAL HEALTH – CALL UNIVERSITY SECURITY 24/7 (507) 389-2111; or DIAL 911 IN AN EMERGENCY.

 

Types of Drugs and their Consequences

By ALEJANDRO REYES VEGA, CSU PR Student Assistant

The possession of Schedule Drugs has different consequences:

First Offense: Imprisonment of no more than 1 year and a minimum fine of $1000

1 previous drug/narcotic/chemical conviction will result in Imprisonment of 15 days-2 years, and a minimum fine of $2,500

2+ previous drug/narcotic/chemical conviction will result in imprisonment of 90 days-3 years, and a minimum fine of $5,000.

 

They are all illegal:

Drugs are illegal in the state of Minnesota. The only exception is medically prescribed marijuana; however, it is against University policy for students to possess any type pf drug including medically prescribed Marijuana.

The possession and use of Marijuana is a violation of federal law and since the University belongs to the State and accepts federal dollars for financial aid it must follow the Drug-Free Schools and Community Act.

There is no exception on the use of drugs and they are classified in five Schedules.

 

According to the DEA, these are the different schedules and drugs:

Schedule I.

These include drugs, substances, or chemicals are not currently accepted in any medical use and have a high potential for abuse.

Ex: Heroin, LSD, marijuana, ecstasy, methaqualone, and peyote.

 

Schedule II.

These include drugs, substances, or chemical that have a high potential for abuse potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence and are considered dangerous.

Ex: Vicodin, cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, dilaudid, Demerol, oxycodone, fentanyl, Adderall, and Ritalin.

 

Schedule III.

These include drugs, substances, or chemicals with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence.

Ex: Tylenol with codeine, ketamine, anabolic steroids, testosterone.

 

Schedule IV.

These include drugs, substances, or chemicals with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence. Schedule III drugs have a higher risk of abuse.

Ex. Xanax, Soma, Darvon, Darvocet, Valium, Ativan, Ambien, Tramadol.

 

Schedule V.

These include drugs, substances, or chemicals with a lower potential for abuse than Schedule IV and consists of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics. Schedule V drugs are generally used for antidiarrheal, antitussive, and analgesic purposes.

Ex. Lyrica, Parepectolin, Motofen, Lomotil.

 

The previously named drugs are just some examples, this is not by any means a full list of drugs that are considered illegal.

 

 

 

Alcohol and its Effects

by: Afure Adah

People often drink alcohol to celebrate, socialize or relax. But alcohol can often have strong effects. These effects vary from person to person and they depend on many different factors, including:

  • How much you drink
  • How often you drink
  • Age
  • Health status
  • Family history

The effects of alcohol can appear in about 10 minutes and as you continue to drink, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level, increases. The higher your BAC, the more impaired you become. These effects include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Reduced inhibitions
  • Motor impairment
  • Confusion
  • Concentration problems
  • Breathing problems
  • Coma
  • Death

Some other risks can include:

  • Accidents and car crashes
  • Violent and risky behavior
  • Suicide and homicide

Long-term effects can include:

  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Health problems
  • Increased risk for certain cancers

REMEMBER: The legal minimum drinking age in the United States of America is age 21. In Minnesota, it is a misdemeanor violation punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and/or 90 days in jail.  The penalty typically starts out with a fine that is increased each time you get caught. Stay safe and make good choices!

 

Managing College Stress

By ALEJANDRO REYES-VEGA, CSU Public Relations Student Assistant

College can be stressful for many students. Some have heavy workloads, while others have to deal with school and work,  and then there are those who just have a hard time adapting to college classes.

Learning to manage stress will not only make you more successful in college but also in life and maybe managing it could prolong it. Everyone has different ways of dealing with their stress and everyone must find what works best for them. Sometimes, I either binge eat or restrict my eating, neither of which are healthy choices. However, over time I found some healthy habits that have helped me manage my day to day stress in a better way.

First and far most get some type of physical activity into your schedule. It can be playing ping-pong, basketball, soccer, running, lifting weights, or just taking a walk around town. Any of these activities help get the mind distracted for a little while, and focus on something else other than school. Moreover, moving around helps get some much-needed physical activity. Most students will discover that they are majorly responsible for their own physical activity.

My second suggestion could be controversial, however, if managed correctly it can be helpful. Videogames can be a great stress reliever. Entering an alternate world, role playing, trying to beat your friends at FIFA, NBA 2k, or other sports games can be a great distraction and help relieve stress. Nevertheless, videogames should be used cautiously since time tends to fly when playing them and responsibilities get lost and forgotten.

My third suggestion is reading books. I know it might not sound appealing, specially to those who are not used to reading, but a good book can be a great distraction. Immersing yourself into the story and letting yourself go. It can be of great help, especially when you seem like the world is about to fall on your shoulders. I know college students are always busy and reading seems like an impossible task, but thirty minutes or an hour of reading can be the sufficient break to get a fresh mindset and be back to your responsibilities and be more efficient.

My fourth suggestion is socializing. In college, classes, homework, projects, studying, reviewing, and work can prevent you from having dinner with friends or just catching up. It is easy to isolate yourself and be buried under the work load. Classes will only get harder as time passes. That is why it is important to learn how to manage your social life along with school.

These are some suggestions that I have discovered work for me. However, everyone is different and it is important to try new things. Stress can be managed by distracting yourself every so often. Hobbies are one of the best ways to do so. I know some people that play instruments while others choose to write computer code. Just make sure to always keep those stress levels in check and keep striving for success.

Toilets on Campus: Student Favorites

by REED CARR, CSU Public Relations Intern

Minnesota State, Mankato campus is packed with great places to go number two.

While most of us would rather be in the comfort of our homes while dropping the kids off at the pool, we have classes to attend. Luckily, there is a variety of different bathrooms at MSU.

“I spend most of my time in the library, so that’s where the majority of my bathroom time is spent,” said a marketing major. “The library doesn’t have any individual bathrooms, but there are shared rooms on every floor that have plenty of stalls. I usually go up to the third floor because it has the least traffic and it’s hidden pretty well.”

The library may have plenty of reading material, but some people need more seclusion while letting the dogs out.

“CSU 107 is the only way to go if you’ve really got to go,” said an international business major. “I make sure I only use individual bathrooms that have a door that locks when I got to do my business. There are only a few really good ones on campus.”

Individual restrooms are a must if you’re having a true emergency. Unfortunately, even single occupancy lavatories can have their downsides.

“The single person bathrooms in Trafton South are risky because, for some reason, the locks don’t work,” said a mechanical engineering major. “I still use them when I’m in a rush though. I just put my bag in front of the door in case someone tries to walk in. Hopefully they’re fixed soon, or I’m going to change my spot.”

If you haven’t found the best spot in school to take a royal squat, take a long walk around campus when you get the chance. It’s best to have a strategy before duty calls.

5 Things I’ll Miss About MSU

by REED CARR, CSU Public Relations Intern

Memorial Library

There is something mystifying to me about sitting in a library surrounded by mountains stories and philosophies I have no knowledge of. Even more so when it’s pitch black outside, a cup of black coffee in hand, in one of the unoccupied corners of the second floor of the Memorial Library. I spent hours ignoring homework in exchange for hours of being lost between the dusty pages of James Joyce, Ernest Hemmingway, Edgar Allan Poe and countless others. It made studying the next day a rigorous, hurried process, but I feel nighttime in the library is when and where I learned most.

 

The Newsletter

 My final semester at MSU has been my best yet as I’ve worked with some really great people to deliver weekly events and news through the MSU newsletter, inSIDER. I came to MSU as a marketing major and realized my talents laid in writing to the masses, not selling to them. The inSIDER has evolved my writing in a way I didn’t expect and I was able to have a blast with fellow writers and mentors while doing it. If you’re looking for an internship in writing next year, talk to Leonard Koupal in the CSU. He’s the man!

 

The Professors

 Mass media and English department professors at MSU are a large part of the reason I was able to keep a positive attitude with my schooling and my future. While they are the ones that assigned 10-page papers and at times asked class to read an entire book in one day, those hurdles taught the most. They have always been up for a chat about class discussion, travel, food and anything in between.

 

Campus and Changing Seasons

 There’s nothing quite like the beginning of a new school year. As the trees burst into reds and oranges, the MSU campus’ artistic, monumental and memorial decorations give the campus a nostalgic feel. Students sport purple and yellow as Blakeslee Stadium rumbles on the other side of Stadium Rd. Minnesota autumn is second to none, but I suppose the beginning of May isn’t such a bad time of the school year either.

 

The Diversity

 Growing up in Kilkenny—a town of 108 people—and moving to Mankato opened my eyes in so many ways. I met people who have helped me grow academically, spiritually and culturally. I’ve met friends that made class not only knowledgeable but fun. I’ll miss walking through the halls seeing all the friendly faces. No matter what I do after graduation, I’ll always be proud to have been a MSU Maverick.

Renewed Responsibility in Sexual Encounters

by REED CARR, CSU Public Relations Intern

“Affirmative consent,” a policy adopted by Minnesota State College and Universities in February, helps spot the difference between a green light and a yellow light in a sexual encounter.

The Minnesota State Board of Trustees policy change was urged by college students and faculty in an attempt to halt sexual violence on campus.

Laura Schultz, Assistant Director of Violence Awareness & Response Program at Minnesota State, Mankato, explains that the new policy “places the responsibility of making sure that consent is present on the person instigating sex. So instead of someone having to say a verbal “No” for an incident to be considered sexual assault, this policy encourages folks to think about the way that a verbal, enthusiastic, ongoing “Yes” should be present for both parties to feel sure that this is fully consensual.”

Not only are college students required to engage in “Affirmitive Consent” before sex, but faculty and the Board of Trustees are holding themselves to the same standard in an attempt to show the importance of consent.

“This policy is meant to encourage everyone to fully understand how important it is to ensure consent,” Schultz said. “Hopefully policies like this one will make folks think more specifically about what actions they are taking to be sure that each partner is fully agreeing to each step of the way. Hopefully it will increase communication and make clear what’s expected of all who are engaging in any specific sex act.”

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center reported one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college. This new consensual footing helps define the sometimes blurry lines in an intimate setting.

LGBT Center Anniversary

HELPING STUDENT FIND THEIR VOICE FOR 40 YEARS

by TAYLOR ZENZ, CSU Public Relations Intern

This year is all about traditions and anniversaries. Alongside the University’s 150th and the Centennial Student Unions 50th celebrations, the LGBT Center hosted their 40thanniversary this past week.

Back when it was still Mankato State, the University became the second school in the nation to have a campus-based LGBT Center. In 1977, the “Alternative Lifestyle Center” was found with only a few student volunteers and a graduate assistant as part of their staff.

Now, the landmark LGBT Center has an independent office, a full-time coordinator, Jessica Flatequal, and hundreds of students who visit the Center each week.

One student, Graham Waitt, is especially thankful for the LGBT Center this year. As a nontraditional student who felt lost in school, he joined the LGBT Center and never looked back.

“I would not be who I am today without the people that I met simply by hanging out in the Center,” Graham mentions, “I think the biggest impact was that it helped me find my own voice that I didn’t realize I had. It helped me become a strong advocate and ally for the community that I now call home.”

Like many other students, Graham didn’t find the comfort of the LGBT Center right away. As a freshman on campus, he didn’t feel comfortable enough to go into the Center or to volunteer. When returning to Minnesota State Mankato after taking time off, he knew that he didn’t want to let a second chance pass him by. After meeting a close friend in Residential Life who ultimately invited Waitt to join her in the Center, he found himself visiting frequently and making friends.

“It was one of the best decisions that I ever made in college,” Graham said.

Joining the LGBT Center provides endless opportunities for students. For Graham, it’s given him the opportunity to get out in the community and give back. He’s been able to attend several LGBT conferences around the Midwest and was given chances to be a speaker at peer panels to educate the community on LGBT-specific issues. He also has had the privilege to help with campus Drag Shows and Mankato Pride.

Graham is not only an advocate for the LGBT Center and community, but an advocate for finding your true self.

“That’s what we all want in the end, right?” he stated.

To learn more about the LGBT Center on campus, visit https://www.mnsu.edu/lgbtc.