Drexel Autism Support Program
The Drexel Autism Support Program (DASP) is a student-centered program for current Drexel students with the goal of promoting academic and social competency, self-advocacy, interpersonal skills, independent living, and social integration. Our goal is to ensure that DASP participants take advantage of University life, develop the academic and social skills needed to pursue career opportunities, and lead a full and enriched life. DASP values neurodiversity and all the benefits that diversity contributes to the greater societal good. We value the individual along with individual differences and support personal growth through understanding their strengths and how those strengths can build and support areas of need and personal development.
- A person-centered approach
- One-on-one peer mentoring and coaching
- Supplemental case management with professional staff, as needed
- Workshops on employment skills, social development, and planning for academic and career success
- Planned social events that are structured and unstructured
- A campus advisory board focused on community engagement and ongoing partnerships with other Drexel units, local employers and educational institutions
- Collaborations with other campus departments such as:
How to Apply to DASP
Students may apply to DASP after they are accepted and have confirmed their attendance to Drexel University. It is strongly encouraged that students apply to DASP no later than May 15 to begin attending courses in the fall term.
To apply to the Drexel Autism Support Program (DASP):
- Complete the DASP Application [PDF].
- Email your completed application, the letter that states that you have confirmed your attendance to Drexel University, and any additional supporting documentation (optional, but encouraged) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All students that would like to be a part of DASP are asked to sign a consent form that allows DASP staff to talk to their academic advisor, co-op advisor, counseling, residential living staff, faculty, etc. While this consent is meant to keep the lines of communication open, DASP staff will not speak to others on campus on behalf of a student. Self-advocacy by the student is a core outcome of DASP.
DASP students are matched with upperclassmen who are trained peer mentors and meet with them for 1–2 hours per week. Peer mentors can work with DASP students on social skills, study skills, time management, job hunting, etc.; it all depends on what the DASP student prefers and determines as a goal. If you'd like to become a peer mentor or would like more information about peer mentoring, please complete the Mentor Application [PDF] and send it to email@example.com.
New students meet weekly with DASP staff. During the first week of the term, the student and a staff member work together to create a schedule, navigate assignments, and determine the best (and worst) times to study. They continue to meet weekly to monitor progress and make adjustments accordingly.
Social Skills Group
DASP offers an improvisational social skills group that is held weekly. Not all DASP students are enrolled in the group each term.
DASP works with the Steinbright Career Development Center to offer a complementary workshop to their COOP 101 course for DASP students. This workshop will be held three times during the term that a DASP student takes the COOP 101 course to help them better navigate finding and keeping a co-op position.
Dragon Scholars Program
All incoming freshman students have the opportunity to be a part of the Dragon Scholars Program (DSP). DSP is a summer experience program to assist with the transition from high school to college. It is a five-week program during the summer prior to freshman year. DASP students will benefit from this program because it allows them the opportunity to have a longer introduction to college life and lets them get acclimated to Drexel. For more information, visit Dragon Scholars.
Many companies inquire about DASP and ask how they can better prepare their work environments for neurodiverse employees. We work closely with the Steinbright Career Development Center and several employers to improve the transition from college to work and also to increase the opportunities available for DASP students.
In collaboration with the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, the DASP staff offers various trainings and workshops to Drexel faculty and staff to increase awareness of neurodiverse students and teach them ways to assist students who may need more support.