Program helps high school students with autism prepare for college

Local News

More students diagnosed with autism are attending college, according to organizers of a new program through Edinboro University.

The initiative gives high school students with autism a college experience before attending.

Several students from high schools around the region are attending the Summer College Academy.

This program aims to give students skills necessary for college.

Seven students diagnosed with autism from five high schools in the region are attending Edinboro University’s first Summer College Academy at the Porreco College campus in Erie.

The program is part of the new ‘Boro Autism Support Initiative for Success.

Organizers of the program from the Office for Students with Disabilities at Edinboro said more students on the autism spectrum are going to college now but have problems with the social aspect.

The goal of this new academy is to give students a sneak peek into college life and give strategies to better their communication skills.

Sharon Conklin, of Edinboro’s Office for Students with Disabilities, said giving students a head start can help improve their social skills before they get to college.

“We felt like we have these students on the college campus already at Edinboro, and some of them are really struggling with the social connections, making friends, knowing how to talk to peers and professors,” said Conklin.

The academy wraps up Friday and organizers of the academy said they hope the program grows each year.

They also hope eventually they can move it to the main campus and incorporate an overnight stay in dorm rooms.

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