Southeastern Pennsylvania Autism Resource Center

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High School Youth Preparation for Higher Education (HYPE) Program

 

Contact

Dr. Jennifer Dawson
Director SPARC
Phone: (610) 430-5678
Email: jdawson@sparwc.org

Dena Kelly
HYPE School Year Director SPARC
Phone: (610) 430-5678
Email: dkelly@sparwc.org

Cherie Fishbaugh
Director D-CAP WCU
Phone: (610) 436-3168
Email: cfishbaugh@wcupa.edu
  

How to Apply

Applications are open
for fall 2021
Space is limited so apply soon!

Apply Online

Resources

The High School Youth Preparation for Higher Education (HYPE) Program is a two-year, after-school program - fully funded by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation - at Devereux SPARC in West Chester, Pa., and includes a two-week summer program at West Chester University.

The Devereux SPARC and Devereux Pennsylvania Community Adult Autism Partnership Program (CAAPP) programs, in partnership with West Chester University, will provide transition-age students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) an opportunity to prepare for university life, community integration and future careers/employment. This program will benefit students by: building skills that will assist them in identifying possible majors and areas of interest; exposing them to a college living environment; and helping them increase community integration skills. HYPE will provide meaningful learning experiences for students with autism – and university students – in the following ways:

  • Participating students will have opportunities to develop social skills and form relationships with similar-age peers, while learning the skills needed to achieve maximum independence as a university student and/or as an adult.
  • Students will learn these vital skills, beginning their junior year of high school through after-school learning activities, community-based experiences, summer employment and living in a dormitory for several weeks during the two summers prior to entering college and/or the workforce. There will be a two-year curriculum that will begin in June, before their junior year, and end in August, following their senior year.
  • Through peer mentoring, university students will have opportunities to deepen their understanding and acceptance of individuals with autism, while learning critical professional skills and potentially earning college credits and/or compensation.
  • Students enrolled in WCU’s Dub-C Autism Program (D-CAP) also will be asked to act as peer mentors.

Look below to view a video about the HYPE Program.

To be eligible for HYPE, students must:

  • Have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder
  • Attend classes independently (do not require 1:1 assistance)
  • Be on track to attend a two- or four-year higher education institution to pursue a degree

HYPE School Year Program (Pilot Fall 2021)

Participants: Junior and senior high school students. Note: Year 1 of HYPE is only open to high school juniors. You must enter HYPE at the onset of your junior year.

Location: SPARC, located at 1160 McDermott Drive, West Chester, PA 19383

Duration:

  • Students: Two hours, one night a week throughout the school year program. Note: The program will run on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
  • Parents: Two hours, one time a month throughout the school year program

Goal: To provide students with ASD meaningful educational activities and supports, enabling them to maximize their independence and help them become prepared for university life.

Student Objectives of Two-Year Program

  • Increase self-determination abilities
  • Enhance communication, social and problem-solving skills
  • Improve management and organization of time, as well as materials related to school or work
  • Augment skills related to independent living (e.g., money management, weekly schedule planning, meal planning/preparation, cleaning and organizing living areas, laundry, self-care)
  • Increase skills related to community integration and the ability to live with roommates in a dormitory/apartment setting
  • Help individuals prepare for post-secondary education and employment
  • Develop routines that increase health and safety (e.g., healthy eating habits, exercise, hygiene, managing medical appointments)

Parent Objectives of Two-Year Program

  • Increase knowledge of post-secondary education laws
  • Prepare and promote strategies for parental change of role as student turns 18 and increases independence
  • Improve communication skills between parent and student
  • Provide support for various emotions associated with these transitions

HYPE Summer 1 (Pilot Summer 2022)

Participants: HYPE students who have completed School Year 1 program at SPARC

Location: West Chester University

Duration: 10 days (five days, Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-3 p.m., with immediate debrief; five days, four nights, Monday-Friday overnight).

Goal: To prepare students with ASD for college life by providing them with an on-campus experience, generalizing the acquired skills from the HYPE school program.

Objectives

  • Experience campus life, commuter style and residential style
  • Access dining hall options
  • Generalize skills acquired in the HYPE school program (e.g., self-determination, social, time management, independence, community integration, safety, problem-solving, communication)
  • Acquire information and experiences with campus services, including: health and wellness, psychological and counseling, OSSD, trans and queer advocacy, D-CAP and LARC
  • Tour and experience various on-campus facilities, including the recreational center, library, student union, bookstore, dining halls, residential buildings and academic buildings
  • Participate in a variety of classroom/activity formats (e.g., lecture, lab, studio, structured, unstructured)
  • Acquire, practice and/or generalize college classroom etiquette and communication skills
  • Create and deliver a presentation on experience, as well as skills acquired and needed to transition to college
  • Learn the difference between entitlement and eligibility (IDEA versus ADA) for high school to higher education

HYPE Summer 1 (Pilot Summer 2023)

Participants: HYPE students who have completed School Year 2 program at SPARC and graduated high school (age 18+)

Location: West Chester University

Duration: 11 days (overnight), Monday- the following Thursday, Friday is a debriefing day

Goal: To prepare students with ASD for college life by providing them with an on-campus experience, generalizing the acquired skills from the HYPE school program.

Objectives

  • Experience campus life, residential style
  • Generalize skills acquired in the HYPE school program (e.g., self-determination, social, time management, independence, community integration, safety, problem-solving, communication)
  • Access meal plan options (e.g., dining hall, Rambucks, meal swipes, cash)
  • Attend workshops via campus resources to acquire/review skills in the areas of resiliency, stress management, studying, budgeting, self-advocacy and classroom etiquette
  • Participate in activities and workshops to learn more about majors-to-careers, employment opportunities, volunteer experiences and early start programs
  • Identify, locate and receive information on various campus resources, including the career development center, writing center, tutoring, public safety, counseling and LGBTQ
  • Develop a schedule that includes time set aside each day for activities, such as meals, self-care/ downtime and transitions from one activity to the next
  • Create a schedule that incorporates time for group projects or meetups with individuals with various schedules
  • Create and deliver a presentation on experience and skills acquired and needed for the transition to college
  • Practice skills for problem-solving and self- advocacy via scenarios associated with entitlement versus eligibility (IDEA versus ADA) for high school to higher education