Universal Design of Case Management Support Services for College Students on the Autism Spectrum
Les Gallo-Silver, Regina Varin-Mignano
This presentation describes a case management support program comprised of mental health professionals and peer mentors for students on the Autism Spectrum attending a commuter based public community college in an urban setting. The lived experience of students involved in this case management program demonstrates how using universal design preserves the accessibility of higher education for this at risk student population. The universal design of case management services enables counselors to appreciate neuro-diverse students in a college setting as differently abled than neuro-typical students. This increases the students’ sense of mastery and confidence in the their ability to manage the college environment’s numerous social interactions. In turn, students on the Autism Spectrum develop persistence and resilience skills that preserve their access to higher education.