Access Plus Support Programs
Working with the Office of Student Disability Services, a plan of individual accommodations to meet the academic needs of each student will be developed. At the beginning of each semester, accommodations are reviewed and appropriate faculty are notified. In addition to the tutoring services in subject areas available for all NSU students, a 2-hour, daily (Monday-Friday) study hall will be provided for the program students with support provided by program staff and peer mentors. This will provide supervision and critical skills in organization to encourage the completion of assignments and a meeting place for program participants where they can work with other students and staff.
It is anticipated that the students who participate in this program will live on NSU’s campus with options in a variety of dormitories. Some of the students in the program will require single room accommodations due to their needs for a low sensory environment, difficulty with social interactions, and/or organizational challenges. Residential Advisors, where the Access Plus students are placed, receive training in autism spectrum disorder and the students’ social, behavioral, and organizational needs. Additionally there is a 24-hour telephone line in order to handle any serious challenges that arise. Access Plus students may receive support in keeping their dorm rooms organized and clean, developing and maintaining schedules to ensure attendance at classes and completion of assignments, and prompting to ensure personal hygiene if indicated on their individual plan.
Students in Access Plus will be encouraged to participate in the extracurricular activities on campus with support from the Access Plus staff, if necessary. Students will receive assistance in planning weekend activities on campus and in the community to ensure that they have a meaningful and enjoyable college experience. Activities will be focused and goal directed to help the students with ASD fit into the social fabric of the university and to develop friendships.
Psycho-Educational Support Groups
Weekly, hour-long psycho-educational groups will be provided for all students in Access Plus. These groups will focus on information exchange, skill building, reflection and reporting individual progress. Topics to be addressed will be driven by the needs of the students and may include: College and the Student with Autism Spectrum Disorder; Success in the Classroom; Cause and Effect; Relationships; Vocations and Careers; Midterm Exams; Building My Reputation on Campus; Overcoming Obstacles on Life’s Path; Academic Potpourri; Financial Literacy; Self-Advocacy; and Preparing for Finals.
Vocational Experiences and Career Placement
One of the issues faced by all college graduates is the ability to plan for the next steps post-graduation. For students with ASD, this can present as a daunting task. The Access Plus program provides focused support in this area. The goal is for each student to explore career opportunities during the last two years of the program. This will allow for experience and mentoring in job interview techniques, appropriate dress and demeanor, social skill building, and on the job training for the purpose of meeting the challenges of securing and maintaining a job after graduation. Coaching regarding building a resume and developing professional relationships will also be provided. The job experiences offered may be on campus or off, for payment or on a volunteer basis. Career planning is a part of the curriculum of the weekly group meetings that are offered to students in the Access Plus program.