Lynch Learning Center launches program to help students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Loras College is proud to launch a four-year program designed to help students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) thrive emotionally, academically and socially. Students admitted into the new program will work directly with Loras College Lynch Learning Center staff members designated as Certified Autism Specialists and will hone skills ranging from self-advocacy and organization to stress management and socialization, in addition to earning their bachelor’s degree.

“The Lynch Learning Center has provided a focused program for students with Learning Disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder for nearly 30 years.  We have dedicated and experienced staff ready to offer new programming specific to students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” said Lynn Gallagher, Ed.D., Director of Disability Services at the Lynch Learning Center at Loras College.

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates one in 68 children is currently diagnosed with some form of autism—a number that has risen17 percent per year since the mid-1990s—Loras is one of few institutions that offers a dedicated, four-degree, ASD program.

Students enrolled in the program will meet weekly with their Lynch Learning Center coach and attend weekly study table sessions and bi-monthly mentoring meetings. In addition to skill building, students will receive specialized career prep including job shadowing, career fairs, internships and one-on-one résumé and cover letter counseling.

“A recent summit dedicated to determining employment data found that 90 percent of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder are either unemployed or underemployed. And with the rate of autism up more than 300 percent since 2002, the crisis is just beginning,” said Gallagher.

A fee is charged for the new program and an additional five-day summer transition program is available  to help students acclimate to campus and allow them to move in two days prior to first-year orientation. Students interested in the new program should apply simultaneously to the College and through the Lynch Learning Center.

For more information or to apply, please contact Lynn Gallagher, Ed.D., Director of Disability Services at the Lynch Learning Center at Loras College at Lynn.Gallagher@loras.edu or 563.588.7921.

About the Loras College Lynch Learning Center:
Loras recognizes the dignity of persons with disabilities and challenges them to grow in our supportive environment while developing the skills associated with active learners, reflective thinkers, ethical decision makers and responsible contributors. The Lynch Learning Center, formerly known as the Loras Learning Disabilities Program, was created in 1986 to provide additional services to students with a primary diagnosis of learning disabilities or attention deficit disorder. The Center offers three levels of service for students with diagnosed disabilities: the Enhanced Program, Accommodation Services and the new offering for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

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