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Unique Programs Providing Support to Students

on February 12, 2011 in New This Month, Special Needs

The transition to college can be difficult for students dealing with autism spectrum disorders, Asperger’s, nonverbal learning disorder, ADD/ADHD and other learning disabilities. One program that provides support in a student’s transition to life after high school while pursuing academic or vocational interests is College Living Experience (CLP). With five locations around the country (Denver, Austin, Monterey, Rockville, and Ft. Lauderdale), students from 18-26 years old choose a location based on their academic and social interest. Students then attend the university of their choice in the area and are taught how to 1) access campus support, 2) improve student skills, and 3) prioritize and organize assignments. Independent living support includes living in an apartment near campus with others in the program, organizing daily activities, learning roommate dynamics, community safety/integration, medication adherence, hygiene routines, managing money, shopping/preparing food. Social support is critical and ranges from individual mentoring and focus groups to discuss interpersonal relationships, stress and anxiety and safe and healthy living. Summer programs prior to attending college are available near campus to help students learn skills before the start of freshmen classes, as well as international trips with the support team.

The Emerge Program counselors help students become independent while providing structure and acting as liaisons with families. Students learn how to access resources on campus, including therapists, recovery groups, learning and emotional support. The goal is to empower students to become independent while transitioning to a college environment with a range of support services. The program at Boise State University (a WUE choice for Washington residents) is the most structured, with students living in private dorms next to campus. Peer mentors are assigned as needed on campus, and counselors from Emerge can provide recovery coaches and therapists in addition to weekly visits and online monitoring of assignments and grades.

Emerge also offers a coaching model, for any college in the country. Counselors can attend college visits with the student, keep in touch via Skype as needed, provide on-campus visits, set-up and monitor peer mentoring, and generally monitor student progress with schedules, class selection, and assignments. Andrew Bryan of Emerge also can help plan a customized gap year for students and takes students and families on overseas trips with the intent to help families grow and explore together in a supportive atmosphere.

College Excel in Bend, Oregon is a residential, peer-based program helping bright, underperforming students unleash their potential with a team of coaches, professors, learning specialists and professionals. Over ninety percent of their graduates continue on to be successful in college. College Excel addresses a variety of roadblocks with their students including anxiety, depression, procrastination, motivation, learning differences, transcript rebuilding, social skills and organizational skills among a few. Students build personal and academic confidence while they earn a college degree. In addition to the College Excel program, students enroll in the local community college or Oregon State’s Cascade Campus for additional courses. And every step of the way, they receive guidance from professors, coaches and learning specialists.

The College Internship Program (CIP) provides young adults with Asperger’s, Nonverbal, ADHD and other learning lifferences with the social, academic, career and life skills necessary for success. CIP has several locations around the country, each promoting healthy living, culture and a wide variety of social, educational and career opportunities. Students attend college or take part in career development classes along with comprehensive social, academic, career and life skills curriculum. CIP offers residential apartment living with support including organization, planning and time management, food shopping, menu planning, cooking and cleaning instruction. Advisors work individually with students on banking and budgeting, weekly goal setting, self-assessments, personal advising and communication with parents. CIP offers a summer program for students, and is hosting a number of open houses in February and March.

Augsburg College is a small, liberal arts college in Minneapolis. Augsburg offers a unique program for students in recovery called the StepUP Program. The StepUP Program strives to help students champion lives of recovery, achieve academic success, and thrive in a community of accountability and support. Students must apply and be accepted into both Augsburg College and the StepUp program. Students sign a contract which supplies the values of program.

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