YPSILANTI – One in 59 people are on the Autism Spectrum, including more than 16,000 students in Michigan public schools. Among them are numerous future Eastern Michigan University Eagles, who can rest assured that individualized support doesn’t end when higher education begins.
Eastern Michigan University was recently voted a top school for students on the autism spectrum in an online ranking by the website, Best Value Schools, one of only two Michigan schools on the list.
Eastern is home to several programs that support people on the spectrum, including the Autism Collaborative Center, which works with young people, families and the greater community, and The College Supports Program, which provides one-on-one support for students on the spectrum.
The College Supports Program not only provides academic support, but developmental aid in building social-emotional and communication skills, daily living skills, executive functioning support and employment skills. Participants benefit from tutoring, mediation with instructors, mental health service coordination, social and leisure activities, and dorm living support.
The 2017-2018 cohort included 31 students representing every college on the Eastern campus, including five graduating seniors.
“Every individual deserves the opportunity of lifelong learning,” said Callie Merkel, the College Supports Program Director, who has been with the program since its inception. “Our mission in the College Supports Program is to help our students transition into the University, be successful here, and then transition out of the University to be successful in adult life.
“It has been such an amazing experience watching our students go through the life experiences of every college student, and being able to be supported along their journey. I am just happy to have the opportunity to be a part of it all.”
College Supports initiatives in the 2017-2018 school year have included creating a Fast Track orientation session tailored to the needs of incoming freshman on the spectrum.
College Support Program staff also proctored autism acceptance training on campus with Housing and Residence Life, Greek Life, the Department of History and Philosophy, the College of Technology, and Soup and Substance (in collaboration with the Disability Resource Center).
About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest university in Michigan. It currently serves 20,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Health and Human Services; Technology, and its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.