The Picket reporter, Siobhan Sungenius, shared a story about a new and exciting program for students at Shepherd University in West Virginia. A study done in 1999-2000 by The West Virginia Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Program stated that 21 of “every 10,000 children between the ages of 3-21 have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).” The Picket reports As the children that have been identified in this study enter their college years, the need for academic assistance in the university setting arises.

Shepherd University already has an established Disability Support Services Program, however, the program is very excited about the new and upcoming launch on campus. The Picket talked to the head of the new program on campus, Rebecca Hansen, Ed.D, sharing that “current students of Shepherd University apply to the program and once accepted are able to benefit from assistance in social and academic categories.” The Picket reports that according to the CPSASD website, the program creates an individualized plan for each student, meeting with them and their family in order to best serve each individual student.

Luckily for students on the spectrum, there are many other colleges with similar opportunities. See a comprehensive list of schools that have autism-specialized programs.

Jane Brown, Dean of the Autism Spectrum Program at Yale University and a professor at the Yale Child Study Center states that “to find the right school, families should consider the type of support that is helpful for their high schooler and look for colleges that can provide these services.” Brown continues, “About 60 college autism support programs are available in the U.S. and offer support well beyond federal mandates, and they may provide students help with socializing, tutoring and adjusting to campus life.”

We applaud the different colleges and universities taking action to support their students with a spectrum of learning styles and needs.

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