By Jennifer Kolarik, Career Coordinator
On Feb. 22nd, College Internship Program staff and students, along with Dr. Debra Sloane, presented a workshop at Florida Tech entitled “Preparing Teens and Young Adults with AS and/or Learning Differences for Independence: Perspectives from Students and Professionals.” Dr. Sloane, PsyD, BCBA is a staff psychologist at Florida Tech Counseling and Psychological Services.
The audience primarily included parents or family members of young adults with Asperger’s Syndrome. Dr. Sloane opened the presentation by speaking about the traits and challenges of Asperger’s Syndrome (AS). Ryan Therriault, CIP Academic Coordinator, then gave recommendations for college success such as enlisting tutoring supports, assistive technology, and supports from the college disabilities’ office (including accommodations).
Jennifer Kolarik, Career Coordinator, addressed the importance of career assessment and exploration, experience (through work, internships, or community service), and ongoing performance feedback. To stress the importance of preparing for independence, Sharona Sommer, Head Advisor, spoke about developing skills such as self-advocacy, budgeting, cooking, laundry, and following a schedule. The highlight of the workshop for audience members was hearing from two CIP students, Zachary Smuckler and Dodge Meadows, about their own stories of personal challenges related to AS and strides they are making toward success in life.
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