KLASS Center to Launch Postsecondary Autism Support Services Program

UT’s Korn Learning, Assessment, and Social Skills Center will soon accept applications for Postsecondary Autism Support Services, a new program developed to support the needs of UT students with autism spectrum disorders.

The program will officially launch in fall 2017. Current UT students and high school seniors applying to be UT freshmen next fall are eligible to apply.

PASS was piloted more than a year ago and comprises four components: a weekly two-hour course for credit to develop and practice important academic and life skills; weekly one-hour sessions of individualized hands-on support; peer mentoring; and on-going collaboration with faculty, staff, and parents throughout the duration of the program.

PASS program services will be provided by advanced doctoral students and interns in the Department of Psychology under close supervision by the KLASS Center’s licensed psychologists.

Brian Wilhoit, director of the KLASS Center.

Brian Wilhoit, director of the KLASS Center.

“Most college students with an ASD diagnosis are very intelligent, but they often struggle with social and communication skills,” said Brian Wilhoit, director of the KLASS Center, which is housed in UT’s College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. “One of our psychologists, Carolyn Blondin, put together a small pilot project over a year ago for three UT students with ASD to provide a structured curriculum to cultivate and practice social, communication, time management, and organizational skills. The PASS program developed from that pilot project.”

The program will be available for both new 2017 entering students as well as currently enrolled UT students. The application will be available November 1 on the KLASS Center website. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2017.

To be considered for participation, new students for 2017 must:

  • Complete an application for undergraduate admission and submit the required elements for freshman consideration.
  • Complete a KLASS application, which includes a current psychological/psychoeducational evaluation showing an autism spectrum diagnosis, a high school transcript, an unofficial transcript (for students who have previous college experience), and a personal essay.

UT students must:

  • Complete a KLASS application, which includes a current psychological/psychoeducational evaluation showing an autism spectrum diagnosis and a personal essay. Students who have college work from institutions other than UT and are not evaluated on their academic record will need to submit a transcript.

The program is available for a fee in addition to UT’s tuition and standard fees. Once admission decisions have been made, students will be notified by letter.

Wilhoit anticipates only five to six students will be accepted for the next academic year.

“Many students with ASD are missing services that can be helpful,” said Wilhoit. “We feel the PASS program will fill a need here at UT for those students diagnosed with an ASD who are struggling to get through or who may be falling through the cracks.”

CONTACT:

Brian Wilhoit (875-974-6395, bwilhoit@utk.edu)

Tyra Haag (865-974-5460, tyra.haag@utk.edu)