Young adults with disabilities, who have transitioned into college or other post-secondary educational programs, face the same challenges that the typical college freshman faces when the reality of being responsible for him or herself hits home. The challenges that students face today as they pursue their educational dreams are not only academic-related, but also associated to daily living, money management, time management, social interactions, relationships, networking, community integration, and many more. In this special population of young adults, there is an overwhelming amount of talent, academic success and intelligence. Many of these individuals who pursue an academic degree, are highly successful when it comes to the course work, and possess a great ability to succeed and contribute in their fields. The students are engaged in various degree programs including Engineering, S.T.E.M. Education, Leadership, Health, Business and many more fields of study. However, at times, the road-map of “university life” is challenging due to the plethora of new information, fluctuating prospects, social requirements, peer communication, and learning differences to name a few.
The HDS Mentors Program seeks to identify the peripheral needs of students with ASD-related disabilities, who are seeking a college degree, and living on campus. Although the HDS Mentors Program does not focus specifically on academic course requirements mandated by the university or college, it does focus on the guidance and supports needed by these individuals to achieve great success in each of their academic fields. This is done in a variety of ways, including by recognizing the social and emotional challenges that can interfere with academic learning, and creating viable daily activities that mitigate those circumstances and help these students build strong interpersonal skills. It further explores the contributions these students can make to perhaps become the catalyst of change needed in our society to adapt to differences in learning styles, career structures, and social relationships.
Peer collaboration is one of the most effective tools available to facilitate the learning process, and navigation of social demands. The opportunities for growth through collaboration with individuals who are in your own age-group, who share similar experiences and challenges, and who have different skill sets and ideas is greatly beneficial to this population. All involved benefit greatly from the experience, and grow exponentially in their problem solving abilities. As Albert Einstein said “Today’s problems cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that created them” and “in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”.
Today, I went to visit the Cypress Bay BRIDGES Program to talk about what my experience is like in college at UNF and FIU. I first initiated the speech by telling everyone my name, how old I was, and that I was an alumnus of Cypress Bay High School. I announced to the...read more
From May 2nd through May 4th, the HDS Foundation (HDSF) will partake in Visions XXV, the annual transition conference held by the Florida Division on Career Development & Transition (FDCDT). The purpose of the FDCDT is to assist individuals with exceptionalities in...read more
19th International Conference on Autism, Intellectual Disabilities and Developmental Disabilities, for Research Informed Practice
This past week, the HDS Foundation attended the 19th International Conference on Autism, Intellectual Disabilities and Developmental Disabilities, for Research Informed Practice, organized by the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division on Autism...read more
Project THRIVE provides degree-seeking students who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and related disorders with equal access to the University of North Florida. Throughout the year, THRIVE hosts social events that encourage students to practice social skills in a...read more
Recently, Project THRIVE held their Community Learning Opportunity (CLO) event. CLO is a career fair held for the THRIVE students, in which the students educate businesses and employers on what Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is and different ways to support employees...read more