Eastern Michigan University's College Supports Program is aimed at increasing admissions, retention, and full matriculation for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) through an individualized 24-hour supportive program.
In addition to academic achievement, efforts of this program include development of social-emotional and communication skills, as well as daily living skills needed for adult independence with the primary focus of supporting executive functioning for participants, which is their greatest challenge in the university environment.
CSP provides mandatory study tables for participants that are held 7 days a week throughout nine different sessions. These study tables are structured to provide individualized executive functioning support, as well as tutoring. Each student in the program has a required amount of study table time they have to obtain each each. Study table sessions are staffed by CSP employees and a study table supervisor.
In Class Academic Support
CSP provides one to one in class support. This support is provided my a CSP staffed mentor, who has had significant training in Autism Spectrum Disorders. These mentors are either graduate students or upperclassmen in fields ranging from social work to accounting. The mentors attend class with the student and act to facilitate both social and academic content with peers and the faculty. Mentors also assist and support note taking, in class accommodations and provide on the spot social coaching.
As part of the College Supports Program, each student is assigned an Academic Support Coach. The Academic Support Coach meets with each student once a week to cover all course work, upcoming projects/assignments, class participation, study table attendance, overall well-being, and identifying any on/off campus social events or student organizations on campus. The Academic Support Coach works with directly with each student's faculty to ensure that accommodations are being met, and an open line of communication is created.
The College Supports Program is not a residential program or a clinical program. Students enrolled in the College Supports Program collaborate with EMU's Disability Resource Center and Residence Life Office to consider single room accommodations and problem solve roommate issues; help set schedules for, and monitoring of, cleaning room, doing laundry, grocery shopping, etc.; yearly training of Housing staff including RAs; serve as 24/7 support to housing staff.
Daily Living Skills
Setting and maintaining schedules for personal hygiene, eating, sleeping, fitness program, and other self care tasks; campus navigation and understanding campus environments, developing visual supports as needed for all tasks; developing plans for independence; general problem solving, especially around staying up all night and medication management; coordination with on campus counseling, and other campus supports; coordination with mental health professionals the student may see off campus; specially designed Autism Health Education group.
CSP staff reach out and request a meeting with each student's faculty instructors for every course, every semester to discuss strengths and challenges related to ASD that may present in class including a plan of action if needed; faculty resource as noted under academic supports; assisting student to effectively utilize faculty office hours; assist students to meet faculty within their major.