The goal of the University of Arkansas Autism Support Program is to provide the intensive assistance students with high functioning autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, PDD-NOS, and non-verbal learning disability need in order to be successful in college. Our students are matriculated University of Arkansas undergraduates who have the cognitive abilities to be in college but require more help than their typical peers to complete a college degree.
Students enrolled in the program receive support in three areas: academics, transitioning to independent adult roles, and social skills.
Academics: Students receive assistance in designing their academic programs, registering for classes, and making schedule changes. Staff facilitates communication with course professors regarding class requirements and any classroom behavior issues that might need to be addressed. Academic coaches help students with course material and assist students in meeting due dates of classroom assignments.
Accommodations: Program staff works closely with the Center for Educational Access within the University of Arkansas to ensure that appropriate accommodations and modifications are provided. Accommodations may include employing a scribe or note taker, taking quizzes and exams in a non-distractive setting, and extended time for tests. The program staff also works in conjunction with tutoring services available at the university, including the Enhanced Learning Center and the Quality Writing Center. In addition, program staff will partner with faculty advisors assigned by the departments of the students’ majors.
Independent Living: Program staff assists students to develop the skills a person needs to live independently including maintaining an orderly dorm room or apartment, doing laundry, maintaining a healthy diet and exercise regimen, organizational skills, and managing their time in a productive way. Staff help develop students’ self-advocacy skills in a variety of ways including accompanying students to their professors’ office hours to ask for assistance. As students become ready, help will be available in applying for graduate school or jobs. Staff will offer aid with interview skills and resume writing as needed, in conjunction with the Career Development Center.
Integration: An important goal of the program is to integrate every student fully into life at the University of Arkansas. Program staff assists students in joining clubs, playing intramural sports, and participating in any social, sporting, theater, or special event on campus that might be interesting to our students. In addition, the program offers social skills classes and our own social events for students whose social skill development needs further enhancement.
The goal for each student who will be part of the program is to graduate from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville having had a full, typical, college experience. The scope of the support offered and skills taught not only help our students graduate, but also ensure that they will be successful, productive, and happy citizens while at the University of Arkansas and for the rest of their lives.