Wright State University offers a program that coaches students with Autism through their first year of college.

Wright State program for students with Autism gains national attention

Wright State University has offered a coaching program for students with Autism for five years now and officials say it has become the precedent for programs geared toward students with disabilities.

Raiders on the Autism Spectrum Excelling, called RASE, provides students with individual coaching sessions during their first year of college.

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Students are taught how to better socialize, organize and study, among other things, according to WSU.

The RASE program has garnered interest from other colleges around the country and state. Last fall, Ohio University piloted a program based on RASE and two universities in Massachusetts are also considering implementing a form of the program, according to Wright State.

The program typically serves 20 to 50 students per years at WSU.

Prior to the program’s inception, students could get assistance through the Office of Disability Services but there was no specialized program geared toward autistic students, according to the university.

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Wright State was having trouble retaining students with Autism before the school started offering the coaching program, said Heather Rando, associate director of the office of disability services.

“Navigating the more complex environment of college (compared to high school) can be stressful for all students, and is often more so for students who have challenges in the areas of communication and social interaction,” Rando said.

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