RIT Receives Grant to Support Students with Autism

Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation funds Spectrum Support project

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Rochester Institute of Technology’s Division of Student Affairs has been awarded a grant from the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation to help fund a program designed specifically to address the needs of students with autism spectrum disorders.

The Spectrum Support Project was created to help these students effectively transition into the academic and residential aspects of college life. RIT launched a pilot program last fall that allows interested students to be paired with a “peer coach,” who is a student in RIT’s graduate program for school psychologists. They meet regularly to share information, problem solve and discuss strategies for success. Each student is also assigned to a professional case manager, a member of the student affairs staff who coordinates the flow of information between the student and the various services the student uses.

“Typically, these students are very capable academically. They may require support in the areas of social interactions, understanding the nuances of personal interactions and how to navigate the system,” says Susan Ackerman, RIT’s disability services coordinator. “We plan to use the Flutie grant to fund this program and possibly offer more activities, programs and support.”