Autism Initiative at Mercyhurst (AIM)
In 2008, Mercyhurst introduced the Autism Initiative to meet the needs of the growing population of university students diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. This program focuses on building a foundation for self-advocacy, social skills, and sound academic progress.
The AIM Program equally emphasizes social, independent, academic, emotional and vocational domains and provides trained professionals to support student’s success in each of these domains. The goal for students is to develop socially and academically while improving skills to live independently and obtain sustainable and meaningful employment after graduation.
The AIM Program offers specialized housing, peer mentor program, autism support networking, individualized social skills modules, social gatherings, Career Path program, AISE domain advising, and supports referrals to the Learning Difference Office for specialized accommodations.
Admission to Mercyhurst University, however, does not guarantee admission to the AIM program. The AIM Program also offers training, consultation and speaking engagements both nationally and internationally. Trainings include everything from speaking with families and groups to guiding other higher education institutions and service providers in the implementation of autism support programming. Students in AIM pay additional fees for the enhanced servicesthey receive. Space is limited. Early application is suggested.
The AIM program also offers the CREATE summer program -- one of the top college readiness programs in the country for adults on the autism spectrum. This is a nationally acclaimed summer experience to help potential students determine whether they are ready for the demands of college life. Students live in a Mercyhurst residence hall, eat in the dining hall, enroll in a three-credit college course and interact with fellow students in a variety of social activities and settings. The students also participate in the College 101 Series and the Mini Lecture Series that assist in orienting them to college offices and expose the participants to different faculty and lecture styles. Space is limited. Early application is suggested.