Brenda Smith Myles, University of Kansas
“The College Internship Program has developed a formula for success for individuals with ASD and related disabilities who wish to attend and complete college.
At CIP, young adults learn academic, social, and daily living skills — all designed to help them meet their potential. The many CIP attendees and graduates I know have found the program to be challenging, rewarding, and supportive.”
Dr. Stephen Shore, Autism Asperger Consulting, Author of Understanding Autism for Dummies
“Ten years ago, when was invited to CIP to give a short talk on being on the autism spectrum, I was impressed by the dedication of all those involved as they set the stage for those with Autism and other Learning Differences to achieve success in higher education, independent living, and employment.
However, what was then, and continues to be, the most striking part of CIP is the positive, active, and participatory focus on helping students understand what it means to have autism, and to employ those very characteristics to lead fulfilling and productive lives. In brief, this is the first program to successfully transition young adults from a deficit-based to an abilities-based model of autism and other conditions.”
Kevin Reinhardt, Seneca College
Peter F. Gerhardt, Ed.D, Organization for Autism Research
“With unemployment and underemployment among adults on the autism spectrum hovering around 90% the critical importance of individually tailored employment development services cannot be overstated. Given the fact that having a job helps in the development of an adult identity, promotes self esteem, supports a growing social circle, and provides financial opportunities programs such as the Career and Employment Services of the College Internship Program are both necessary and welcome.”
– Eileen Casson, CIP Berkshire Parent
– Kathy P, CIP Berkshire Parent
– Anita & Stephen Herzig, CIP Berkshire Parents
One year ago today, I started at a place called CIP. To tell the truth, I wasn’t exactly excited to be there. I had decided to leave the college I was going to, and I wasn’t really happy with the thought of starting all over again. If you had told me last year that I would have the experiences I did and make the friends I have, I would have smiled and told you very politely “I’m sorry …but I think you have the wrong girl.” I would have been the wrong one. Over the past year, I’ve connected with so many people and made so many friendships that I hope will last a long time. I’ve also had experiences that I would in a million years never dreamed of having. Thank you to all of my friends…for the last year and all the experiences we’ve made!… And for my friends not returning to CIP next year, I wish you good luck in whatever you do, and very much hope our paths cross again.
– Adele, CIP Berkshire Student
“Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for organizing and executing an absolutely EXTRAORDINARY experience for Benjamin. He gained a lot of confidence in his ability to take on new challenges, adapt to new situations, and try new things. He loved dorm living and made some VERY strong friendships.”
– CIP Berkshire Summer Program Parent
“My son, Daniel, has attended CIP Bloomington since 2013. As the mother of a 21 year-old son with ASD, I can honestly say that enrolling Daniel in CIP has been a game changer for him. CIP provides classes, internships, and service options that are customized to meet the diverse abilities and needs of each student. I can honestly say that their caring and devoted staff has helped Daniel improve the quality of his life. He has a new found confidence that has enabled him to live independently, achieve academic success, and pursue his life goals. My husband and I are very grateful to the CIP Program and consider it a great investment in Daniel’s future. ”
– CIP Bloomington Parent
“I believe CIP understands the passion and commitment we have for our son…that’s what I felt from the first day we walked into the CIP offices…it felt like home for Cody…and us. The growth and joy we see in him at CIP is remarkable.”
– CIP Bloomington Parent
“It has been 8 months since my son came home to the Northwest to resume life, post CIP. He had felt that he needed to experience “life in the real world” and use the skills he had acquired. He felt really ready. I felt apprehension…only because I wanted him to continue his positive growth and have “the CIP Safety net”.
“He asked that I have trust in him and give him the chance to prove himself. So we did. B. has a drivers license, a car and a job! He lives a block away and is close enough to help me out with chores when I need a hand. We respect each others private space and his sister did the”clean house inspections”. She has told me that he totally passed each with flying colors and she only wants to be an invited guest to his apartment from now on. He has a great job as a tutor for school age students that need homework help. All of this, plus the fact he has lost over 60 pounds has definitely lead to a positive, pleasant young man who is gaining in self confidence every time I see him. B works out regularly each day with a practice routine that Al, the CIP Long Beach fitness instructor encouraged him to adopt. The insight and guidance of a team that truly cares about lifelong learning, such as CIP Long Beach, has my respect and grateful regard.”
– Carol I., CIP Long Beach Parent
“Recently we’ve experienced somewhat of a turnaround with Spencer. He recently invited us to attend a dinner where he had to get dressed up with nice shirt and tie (instead of his usual black t-shirt and chains). He got a lot of compliments from the gals who were there, and this seemed to spark an epiphany in his mind. Spencer was so impacted by people telling him he looked nice, that he has really set about to improve himself.
He has cleaned his apartment top to bottom, so much so that his ILS worker is very impressed, as is the director of the house. He is trying to eat healthier and make changes in the way he cooks, and he cleans up as he is cooking, not just piling up the pots and pans for days. He even told me today he has started studying for his driver’s license.
This kind of recognition that other people are thinking about him, and his starting to consider that they have needs and feelings, too, is part of the Theory of Mind that our kids are so impaired by. I’d normally expect that at about age 15 or 16. But here’s Spencer at age 27, now finally experiencing those kinds of thoughts.”
– Sherry White, CIP Berkeley Parent
“Thank you, and the CIP staff so much. Caitlin is in excellent hands, and I love how you are all communicating and coordinating your work with her.Your follow up is outstanding. It’s wonderful that you are encouraging Caitlin to think about social activities outside of CIP. It will be good practice reaching out, and when she lands on things she likes, she’ll have that post-CIP”
– Patricia O’Conner, CIP Berkeley Parent
“My nephew is doing exceptionally well and I have never seen or heard him so happy. This will change the rest of his life.”
– Chuck C., CIP Long Beach
“The independent living skills that he learned were invaluable! His place is always picked up, he cooks for himself, he pays his bills, he takes care of his dog, and he loves his independence. You would be very proud! He has far surpassed my expectations for independent living!
I can never thank you enough for all you did for Jarrett. He knew that you believed in him and he trusted you completely. Know that you are changing lives – even if you don’t always get to see the reward down the road!”
– KimMarie Suhr, CIP Brevard Parent
“I wanted to, once again, thank you for all that you did for Drew last year. He learned some very valuable lessons that will be very useful to him in this next chapter of his life. Drew is now attending Nova Southeastern University with a major in music which has been his passion since he was a little boy. He is living on campus because we wanted him continue to enjoy the independence that he learned to enjoy at CIP and yet still be within a school environment to offer a certain degree of support.
I hope that this year is going well for you and the young adults that you are helping along the difficult path of life with Asperger’s. I am so grateful that he got to spend this year with the amazing staff at CIP. I hope that you will pass along our thanks and our best wishes for all!”
– Andrea Hodgen, CIP Brevard Parent
“Words cannot express my appreciation for all that you do, not only for my daughter, but for all the students enrolled in your program whom she deals with; and for the many ways you support and guide her day-to-day interactions with staff, roommates and peers. You have helped my daughter to gain self-confidence and gain independent living skills.”
– Eileen Hersch, CIP Berkshire Parent
“We are very pleased with the progress our son is making. He is doing so much more and so much better than he was the past several years. The difference is like night and day to our way of thinking.
Perhaps the feedback that surprises us most and gives us great hope is around his leadership. That’s a side to our son we have not seen before, perhaps because he was not in an environment where he could demonstrate leadership.
At his core, our son is a very warm and compassionate person. Over the years I think he has become much more guarded and has tried to harden himself – perhaps as a coping mechanism to deal with peers who can be so tough on young people who are “different”.
We are very grateful he has found a place where he does feel comfortable and where he again is experiencing success and is rebuilding his confidence. We are happy that he is growing more comfortable in social situations and we hope this spills over into building some true friendships. Thanks to CIP for helping create that environment for him.”
– Dave & Kim Kennedy, CIP Brevard Parents
“Our son has attended CIP since summer 2005 after several miserable and unsuccessful attempts in other programs across the USA since his high school graduation.
We all so desperately wanted him to grow academically and independently, but didn’t know how or where to find this assistance. With the help and guidance of the CIP staff, he has found a new confidence. Not false confidence, but confidence that springs from achievement.
He has learned to examine his strengths, his emotions, and his responsibilities to better foster relationships in life as well as in life skills.
At CIP, there has been accountability and responsibility which have enabled him to grow and mature. The staff is willing to dialogue with us to allow us to be active participant’s in his program and we feel that our perspectives are welcomed though we allow the staffs’ expertise to dictate his program goals.
As parents we are all looking for a quick fix for our children. CIP is not magic but a well developed program designed for young adults with Aspergers and LD. CIP has been a blessing to our family and more importantly our son.”
– Nancy & David Farrell, CIP Berkshire Parents
“Barbara and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the past 2 years of attentiveness and inspiration that you provided for Rich at the Berkshire Center. Rich has matured significantly during this time and has grown into a fine young man that is eager to live independently, work and enjoy life.
Berkshire Center is a great program for young adults with learning disabilities. We have appreciated the opportunities to visit and get to know many of the students in the program and are pleased to see the difference that such an environment created in their lives, including that of our own son, Rich.
We are very appreciative of the staff that work at the Center that make the program what it is. From our interaction with all of the staff, they are exceptional in their caring and dedication to improving the lives of the students that surround them.
To Geraldine, Mary Ann, Jeff, Caroline, Doug, Frances, Charles, Nathan, Marc and Margaret and all of the rest… thank you so much for all that you did for Rich! Berkshire Center will always be a memorable place in Rich’s heart, as well as ours. He has developed friendships that I hope will continue for many years and I know that he will miss being there when the program starts back up in January.
We also want to take this opportunity to let you know that we will be happy to provide a reference to any parent looking at Berkshire Center or Brevard Center for their son or daughter. Keep it up. You’re great!”
– Roger and Barbara Lurie, CIP Berkshire Parents
“The College Internship Program was a life changing experience for our son. He learned to deal with major challenges by breaking them down into manageable segments and work on mastery of sequential milestones to achieve major goals.
He matured a great deal, developed greater social skills, gained academic success at Berkshire Community College and obtained progressively responsible employment positions.
He learned to overcome set backs, achieved much higher levels of self-confidence and acquired a relatively high level of independent living skills. Upon his return to Southern California, it took some time and a few set backs, but he finally secured, on his own, a job as an ice attendant at our local public skating rink/professional hockey training facility, a position which he has held for over 5 years.”
– Dave Peterson, CIP Berkshire Parent
“Our son, Andrew, is just now completing his Bachelor of Arts degree at UMASS in Amherst, and we expect he will graduate Cum Laude. This could not have happened without all the support he received at CIP. Thank you and God Bless you all!”
– Joel Lasher, CIP Berkshire Parent
“Stephanie has made tremendous progress and we are happy to report that CIP has exceeded our expectations. We feel it has been the best investment we ever made to help her. Most important is how happy and proud Stephanie is with her growth, and how inspired with new confidence as she looks towards her bright future.”
– Catherine Smith, CIP Brevard Parent
“[My daughter] has grown in so many ways. She is learning to be more responsible on a number of fronts. She is loving her cosmetology program and is very committed and driven to complete it. CIP creates a safe, positive environment for its students. [My daughter] has had an opportunity to feel part of a community and has developed good friendships for the first time. She has also had wonderful opportunities to use her talents in the community. We are also impressed with all of the leadership roles she has taken on at CIP.”
CIP Berkshire Parent
“I think it’s an excellent program, run by competent people who seem to have a good understanding of what my child needs. I have seen good improvement since she has arrived and am sure I will continue to see her reach more goals. There are very few programs in the country such as this, and the Berkshire Center was planned well. The town is lovely and perfect for the kids that attend. I like the fact that the people in the town are friendly and accepting. It’s easy to navigate from their apartments. I do like the “small town Norman Rockwell feel”.”
CIP Berkshire Parent
“I’m very grateful for my daughter’s experience at CIP. She is still in Lee, living independently in an apartment and working full time. This is a huge relief for me. The program fulfilled all my wishes and more.”
CIP Berkshire Parent
“CIP has saved my son’s life. After graduation, life stopped for Alex. The programs available in Maryland either did not exist or were inappropriate for Alex’s profile. He worked with a job coach who during 1 and 1/2 years only obtained one interview.
CIP is a well-rounded program that integrates all aspects of life in a meaningful manner.”
CIP Berkshire Parent
“Nice blend of adult/professional oversight and coaching, while still allowing students to be the young adults that they are with corresponding freedoms to learn.”
CIP Bloomington Parent
“CIP does well in the level of education and dedication of it’s staff. Working in a team approach allows for greater progress in all aspects of life. Each student is treated with great respect and dignity. CIP connects so well with the Melbourne community at large. This is a life lesson for each student in order to be prepared for real life. The internships are wonderful because the staff respects the talents and interests of a student before making a placement. The encouragement and the process of teaching each student about social and communication skills will enhance each individual’s life. CIP staff model and exemplify the type people we want our students to become.”
CIP Brevard Parent