A recent news article featured the Build on Special Strengths (BOSS) program at PACE University in New York. This program is designed to provide a college education to individuals with autism and other related disabilities alongside their peers while also providing them with the academic, social, behavioral and vocational support they need to be maximally successful.
The goal of the BOSS Program is to provide a postsecondary program for young adults on the autism spectrum with high functioning autism, Aspergers syndrome, nonverbal learning disabilities, PDD-NOS and related learning differences that will afford them the opportunity to be educated among their peers, and will contribute to improved adult living and employment outcomes. The program functions through a collaborative transdisciplinary system, in which ongoing intensive supports in academic, social and career development are provided in a fully inclusive college setting.
The BOSS Program is founded on the need to continue inclusive programming typically found in secondary schools into the college arena, so that transition-age youth with ASD may benefit from a successful college experience and be adequately prepared for adult life. The program is grounded in research that recognizes (a) knowledge and skills are best developed directly through real-life experiences, (b) attention to strengths and talents helps to enable students with ASD to succeed, and (c) wrap-around whole-student services are needed to prepare students with ASD for community integration, employment, and adult living. The program has been designed to support students, families and faculty. Information from PACE website