Loras College is proud to launch Connections Academy, a four-year program designed to help students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) thrive emotionally and academically in a residential college setting. Students admitted into the new program will work directly with Loras College Lynch Learning Center staff members designated as Certified Autism Specialists. Concurrent with earning their bachelor’s degree, students will hone skills ranging from self-advocacy and organization to stress management and socialization.
Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates one in 68 children is currently diagnosed with some form of autism – a number that has risen17% per year since the mid-1990s – Loras is one of few institutions that offers a structured, four-year degree ASD program.
Students enrolled in the Connections Academy will meet weekly with their Lynch Learning Center coach and attend weekly study table sessions and bi-monthly mentoring meetings. In addition to skill building, Academy students will receive specialized career preparation that will best support their professional success after graduation including job shadowing, career fairs, internships, and one-on-one résumé and cover letter counseling.
Students participating in Connections Academy incur an additional fee. An optional five-day summer transition program to help students acclimate to campus is available as well. Students interested in the Connections Academy apply simultaneously to the College and the Academy.