3/1 Application Opens
4/15 Application Deadline
4/22 Notification Acceptance
5/1 Commitment Deadline
About the Program:
After 4 years of investigation and trial interventions, need for support in five main areas were identified:
· Academic (Executive Function)
· Mental health
· Employment readiness
· Parent support
Incoming freshmen are required to take HDFS 199: Academic Strategies during their first semester. This 2-hour class uses curriculum from other courses to learn and practice executive function strategies as they apply to academic success. Future courses may include:
· Academic Strategies
· Pre-employment Seminar
· Advocacy and Neurodiversity
· Leadership in Neurodiversity
· Current Topics in Autism
INI students meet on a weekly basis along with other neurodivergent students across campus. These meetings generally involve food and some fun. Some semesters they will be paired with a social coach/peer mentor. Activities include lessons from the PEERS Young Adult Curriculum on making and keeping friends, game nights, movie nights, “debunking social mysteries” nights, and outings. Students are encouraged to foster relationships that can be maintained outside of the group as well as join organizations that can become a source of friends with other students with similar interests.
Mental Health Support
All INI students have access to weekly mental health check-ins through the University of Illinois Autism Clinic (UIAC) housed within the Department of Psychology. Monthly assessment for anxiety and depression is recommended with mental health check-ins scheduled as prescribed by the clinician. Clinicians are masters level PhD students.
Employers want to hire you! As time passes, more and more major organizations are appreciating the talents of the neurodivergent brain. During the Spring semester the course Pre-Employment Seminar will expose students to at least eight corporations who are discussing their neurodiversity hiring initiatives, building your brand, resume writing, self-advocacy and accommodations in the workplace, and more. The ultimate goal of INI is to see our students successfully employed within 6 months of graduation.
According to the literature, college students in general and neurodivergent students, do better with strong supports at home. With the students’ permission, parents are invited to join monthly meetings to discuss strategies to best support your student.