Ramapo College of New Jersey has been identified as one of the best small colleges in the nation – and the only New Jersey institution – for students on the Autism Spectrum, according to AppliedBehaviorAnalysisPrograms.com. The website, whose mission is to provide expert guidance about the top universities helping students reach their career goals and become board certified, selected 30 schools with fewer than 10,000 students that exhibited “autism friendliness” and strive to make their campus safe and comfortable for all students.
“We are thrilled to be included in this list,” said Suzanne Calgi, LCSW, coordinator of Ramapo College’s ENHANCE Program, a therapeutic support program which takes a holistic approach and focuses on social, emotional and organizational growth to assist those students with Autism Spectrum Disorder in adapting and flourishing in college and beyond. “We saw a need and created a program that fosters social inclusion, emotional and therapeutic growth and skill building to assist our students both in transitioning to college and having a college experience.”
Since its inception in 2018, ENHANCE offers additional services and resources to support our students over and above what is required under current disability law. “It continues Ramapo’s mission of providing individualized attention for students. Students have a point of contact and a place to go when they need assistance.”
Ramapo College has long been at the forefront of supporting students with learning differences and the ENHANCE program is an exciting opportunity intended to help new students transition from high school to college and keep current students academically and socially engaged in order to maximize their college experience.
According to Applied Behavior Analysis, there are an estimated 1.8 million to 2.6 million current college students with autism, many of whom cannot attend large universities mostly because the school is “just too big and overwhelming.” In compiling its list, the organization considered the following factors:
- Size: Schools with a student population of 10,000 or fewer
- Specialized Programs: Colleges and universities which offer support and resources specific to students on the Autism Spectrum
- Overall Autism Friendliness: Additional examples of “autism friendliness,” such as buddy systems, special housing accommodations, and events designed to bring all students together
- Scholarships and Financial Support: Scholarships specifically for students on the Autism Spectrum
- The “It” Factor: Other offerings notable for students with autism including autism-related research programs, courses on autism, schools founded specifically as a place for those with learning differences, etc.
Ramapo’s ENHANCE Program consists of individualized weekly appointments with a counselor; weekly group meetings for peer support; students to be paired with trained peer mentors; social events; and parent consultations. Through these components, the ENHANCE Program strives to provide students with individually tailored support resources.
To learn more about Ramapo College’s ENHANCE program, visit www.ramapo.edu/enhance/