With an increase of students with autism attending 4 year colleges , these colleges have started rethinking how best to support these students. Western Kentucky University has the Kelly Autism Program. This is a comprehensive program that includes peer mentors, social events, access to tutors, counselors and a psychologist. Many other large universities such as Rutgers, University of Connecticut, and Cal State Long Beach are also following suit.
Even in the Pacific Northwest, colleges are starting to change the way they support students. University of Portland groups students in dorms based on similar interests. Bellevue College has the OLS program while Seattle Central College has the SAILS program. The additional costs of these programs can also be supplemented through DVR assistance. Other local universities are researching how to implement more of a support program, even a dorm that offers these services. They also are developing more communication between professors and students.
With 1 in 68 children having Autism Spectrum Disorder, it is great to see that colleges are starting to make changes so students can experience success in the transition to college. It sends a strong message that students on the autism spectrum can continue success in college and have the supports. It is a positive shift in higher education that will continue to improve.