A release from SUNY Empire State
(SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY– November 7, 2022)
SUNY Empire State has been designated a first-of-its-kind Autism Supportive College by Anderson Center for Autism. The designation signals that SUNY Empire embeds supports into its culture, infrastructure, and planning to create an inclusive environment and improved academic experience for students with autism and other neurodiversities.
Anderson Center Consulting & Training awarded the designation to SUNY Empire after careful consultation and training with the college’s faculty and staff, as well as review of SUNY Empire’s current practices and organizational structure and development. SUNY Empire has invested approximately $30,000 over the past two years to make the institution more inclusive. Criteria required for the Autism Supportive College designation include:
In 2020, SUNY Empire established its Center for Autism Advocacy: Research, Education, and Supports (CAARES) to better serve autistic and neurodiverse individuals in the classroom, workplace, and beyond. CAARES Director Noor Syed and Assistant Director Lauren Allen have led the charge to deliver community and professional outreach, provide career support for autistic and neurodiverse college students, and conduct research with and in support of neurodiverse individuals through partnerships with people and organizations around the world.
- Identifying a plan with measurable objectives, opportunities to educate faculty and staff about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and supports that can be instituted to encourage inclusion and academic success for individuals with ASD.
- Ensuring key faculty and staff are educated about ASD and the common challenges individuals with ASD experience when pursuing higher education.
- Including systems, practices, and procedures that support the inclusion of Autistic and Neurodivergent students in their pursuit of academic, social and career achievement.
- Creating a sustainability plan that includes measured objectives, accountability measures demonstrating success, feedback from students, faculty and staff, and subsequent steps toward a sustained inclusive program.
Research suggests that nearly 2% of college students identify as neurodiverse, a term that encompasses the idea that variation in human brain function is normal and that brain function not considered “typical” should not be stigmatized.
For more information about the designation, visit www.andersoncenterforautism.org/autism-supportive-programs