ASAP: A Whole New Meaning

Autism Spectrum, a term that is unnoticeable to the naked eye. A topic that most are afraid of conversing about, for the fact it could offend many.

The Autism Spectrum Assistance Program, a new program being made at Central Baptist College, is a project meant to help students with learning disabilities start off their learning career.

ASAP is the best program that I have been a part of during my first year at CBC. There is so much that was never known to me before I joined it. Most of the time there was an overbearing fear that college would be too much to handle. Since I joined the program, I no longer have that thought.

ASAP is meant to help students socialize in today’s culture, and help incoming freshmen with autism to adjust to our society today. There are many different types of autism that this program is meant to help such as Asperger’s syndrome, autistic syndrome and childhood disintegrative disorder.  

“The program is to allow the peers with autism to prove that they’re successful, and prove how intelligent and capable they are,” says Paula Bender, director of disability services.

Created for the sole purpose of helping students with Asperger’s and other autism spectrum disabilities, ASAP helps students to get past their barriers and to grow in the subjects that are a struggle to them because of their disabilities.

Larry Henderson, campus chaplain, says “the ASAP staff is the best for the program.” Henderson is the therapist that meets with student participants weekly from the day they begin the program.

Eli McAlister says “One of the perks of being in this program is that the staff helps you in any way they can. Whether it is finding scholarships, aid in class, or finding social places in town to help with scholarships,” The staff is here to help and so are the professors. ASAP is not just one cubicle on campus, but a campus-wide project.

ASAP doesn’t focus only on education, but also social skills. ASAP always strives to achieve face to face interactions. Being social with Asperger’s is hard, because, most of the time, when I am in a conversation I’m normally looking everywhere except the other person. I also tend to say what comes to mind without thinking whether it will offend someone else, and can never read if I am angering another peer.

ASAP assigns tasks that help participants learn how to cope with their disabilities and move past them to become better known around campus, which allows students to feel more comfortable living on their own, giving them the experience they need to be successful in the world today.

The staff has been wonderful, always helping in the best way they know how, and there to answer the questions that the participants have. They are also there to talk about problems so students can improve.

If it wasn’t for the ASAP program, I don’t know where I would be. This program has helped me make so many improvements in myself. I no longer feel scared to face college on my own. I feel like I am ready to face every challenge that is put in my way and be successful throughout my college career.

Photo by laufer

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