Connecting to College is a pilot program that UHCL’s Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities which launched last fall (2016) to provide additional support for students with autism spectrum disorder, developmental disabilities and other related needs. Connecting to College will work in tandem with the Writing Center, Math Center, Student Success Center, Disability Services and other academic assistance at UHCL.
“We intend to provide additional support to facilitate students with ASD accessing current resources and developing skills to help them meet their academic, social, daily living and career goals,” said Christie Stiehl, a UHCL graduate student and the program’s transition specialist.
More students with autism spectrum disorder are going to college, but they may struggle with the “soft skills” needed for university life added Stiehl. Such skills include self-advocacy, living away from home and meeting people with similar interests. The Connecting to College program will make attending college easier for students with autism by helping them work on their “soft skills.”
Skill acquisition will be based on principles of Applied Behavior Analysis, which means that the program will focus on observable and measurable goals and change the environment to help students gain the skills they need. Participating students’ goals and programs will be individualized to them.
Over the next few years, UHCL hopes to expand the Connecting to College program to give students additional, more comprehensive support. For the 2016-2017 school year, the program is free to current UHCL students.
For more information, contact transition specialist Christie Stiehl at firstname.lastname@example.org.