University of Delaware launches program for students with autism

The University of Delaware is now offering scholarship funding and support for students with autism who want to study computer and information science or electrical and computer engineering.

The program, called Spectrum Scholars, is supported by a 10-year grant from JPMorgan Chase.

“The Spectrum Scholars program is an exciting opportunity for students with autism and the entire University of Delaware, where we are committed to the core values of diversity and inclusion,” said UD President
Dennis Assanis. “Our whole community will be enriched by these talented students with autism, and we want to build a program that will empower them to develop their skills and enjoy rewarding careers.”

UD’s Center for Disabilities Studies — the state’s federally-designated university center for excellence in developmental disabilities — will administer the program.

“The supports and opportunities we will provide should help level the playing field,” said Brian Freedman, Spectrum Scholars’ director and the Center’s associate director. “For all their impressive abilities, students on the autism spectrum often struggle in college and in making the transition to work. The university’s Spectrum Scholars will learn how to enhance their communication skills, manage daily stressors and become effective self-advocates.”

The program will also train and educate university staff, faculty and area companies on how they can better
support people with autism.

“The more people on campus and in business embrace students with autism, the more the community will gain from their contributions,” said Freedman.

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