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Eastern Launches College Success Program for Students Living with Autism Spectrum Disorder

St. Davids, PA, June 19, 2012: Eastern University announces the College Success Program (CSP) for Students Living with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The program is offered through the Cushing Center for Counseling and Academic Support on the campus at 1300 Eagle Road in St. Davids, PA. The CSP provides targeted social, life-skills, cultural, and academic supports to College of Arts and Sciences students living with a documented diagnosis of Asperger’s Disorder, High-functioning Autistic Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified.

Many young adults living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have average to superior intelligence when compared to their peer group. However, in Pennsylvania only 2.1% of individuals living on the autism spectrum earn a college degree. Why is this so? It is rarely because of the demands of rigorous academic study. Instead, it has to do with the overwhelming challenges of navigating the social culture of a college campus, coupled with the responsibility of independently managing their day-to-day activities.

The CSP is available to help by providing mentoring, individual counseling, skills groups, support groups, and structured study sessions. Students will meet frequently with CSP staff, discussing strategies and then practicing those strategies with the guidance of trained mentors. Undergraduate peer mentors will accompany students to campus activities, helping them to understand and navigate various social situations. Residence hall support will be offered by live-in graduate student mentors, who help students integrate into campus life and make certain that students are successfully managing aspects of daily living. Students will also be supported through the CSP's role as a liaison to the larger university community, which provides ASD-specific information, training, and consultation to faculty, staff, and administration.

The CSP will welcome its first group of students living on the autism spectrum at the start of the 2012 fall semester.

For more information about the program, including eligibility, services, fee, and application, please visit www.eastern.edu/csp or call Douglas Cornman, College Success Program Coordinator, at 484.654.2378.

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