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Devereux CARES Campus Transition
Partnership with Eastern University

Program Overview

This program expands Devereux CARES’ specialized transition programming to a university setting. It offers social inclusion with same-age peer mentors, campus and community-based employment training, and “hands on” instruction in meaningful skills needed to successfully transition to adulthood.

Program Description

While there has been a substantial increase in programs designed to support individuals with Asperger Syndrome or “High-Functioning Autism” to successfully matriculate into universities, very few campus-based programs have been designed for individuals with autism that experience more challenging learning obstacles. It is our belief that these individuals can also greatly benefit from receiving specialized transition programming in a university setting (including social inclusion with same-age peer mentors, campus and community-based employment training, and “hands on” instruction in meaningful skills needed to successfully transition to adulthood). Therefore, Devereux CARES and Eastern University have established a partnership in order to provide adults with autism an opportunity to optimize their preparation for adult life.

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Student must have an autism diagnosis
  • Student must be interested in others and be able to learn through imitation
  • Student should have relative independence in basic self-care and toileting
  • Student should not have earned a diploma
  • Student should not engage in behaviors that would be dangerous to themselves or others (aggressive responses, serious self-injury, elopement, and so on); and/or behaviors that are highly disruptive. This specific criterion would be reviewed case-by-case.

Note- if students require more than consultative related services (i.e., speech, occupational therapy) and/or frequent nursing care, those services must be provided by the sending school district.

Program Goal and Objectives:

Goal- To provide educational activities and supports that will enable students living with an ASD to maximize their independence across home and community settings, as well as to be prepared for community-based employment.

Program Objectives-

  • To assist individuals in their preparation for employment
  • To increase self-determination abilities
  • To increase communication and social skills
  • To increase skills related to independent living (money management, weekly schedule planning, domestic abilities, recreation, self care, problem solving, etc.)
  • To increase skills related to community integration
  • To develop routines that increase health and safety (eating habits, exercise routines, hygiene routines, managing medical appointments, and so on)

ASD Population Served and Location:

Students will be between the ages of 17 and 22 years with a confirmed diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder. IEP teams will ultimately make the decision regarding duration in the program, but students may stay as little as one year or as long as four years. This program is designed for individuals with autism who have not earned a high school diploma and would benefit from a curriculum that focuses on skills for independent living and community-based employment (as opposed to a focus on academic abilities).

The program will be located on or near Eastern University’s campus. The students will begin and end their day in that program space, but much of their instructional time will be on campus and/or in the local community. When at the instructional home/apartment, students will work on skills that will ultimately facilitate independent community living.

Assessment Practices

Ongoing assessment practices will be utilized for program planning purposes and will involve information collected from multiple sources including the student and his or her family. These practices will include:

  • Preference assessments
  • Employment interest inventories
  • Skill checklists
  • Situational assessments
  • Person-centered futures planning
  • FBAs (if needed)

General Instructional Practices:

Evidence-based practices will be employed to provide effective instruction across skills and settings. These strategies will be based upon the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and will emphasize:

  • Positive and pro-active instruction
  • Teaching skills in the context that they are most needed
  • The use of individualized visual supports and technological aides
  • Response-related reinforcement strategies
  • The use of prompting procedures and natural supports to systematically fade instructional supports

Objective data collection systems will be used to assess instructional efficacy as well as to assist in making modifications to instructional methods.

Family Involvement and Support

As a way to enhance generalization and maintenance of positive outcomes, families will be involved in the planning and implementation of each consumer’s specific learning program. Additionally, families will have opportunities for input into general program planning, to participate in structured training from staff and home visits, and to receive information related to transition and autism via seminars, written information, and web resources. A family network with other families will be established as a support system and resource for enrolled families.

Contact Information:

Maggie Haag, MSW
Program Director
Telephone: 610-710-4026
Email: Mhaag@devereux.org

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