Abby Leaver can fit her whole life into a dorm room. Within the confines of small, apartment-style student housing, the Bellevue College resident assistant (RA) attends online classes and violin lessons, participates in Zoom happy hours and online games with friends, and cares for her cat. She’s doing the things many college students are doing this semester as they cope with the coronavirus pandemic — but she happens to be doing it with autism.
Leaver, a third-year student, is a participant in Bellevue’s Neurodiversity Navigators program, which supports students with a variety of cognitive differences. A classically trained violinist, Leaver was hoping to transfer to a four-year university with a strong music program after completing her associate’s degree. But when COVID-19 struck in Washington, Leaver’s home state, and then the country, her plans were derailed.
“If I didn’t have the training and self-advocacy that I’ve accumulated over the past two years… I would be floundering,” she says. “I would have fallen behind and never caught back up.”
Last Updated November 13, 2020