STRONG is a new program at DSU that focuses on the range of differences that can make it difficult for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) students to meet the multi-faceted demands of college and independent adult life. This program provides a comprehensive set of targeted supports and accommodations to assist ASD students in completing their degrees. These students then graduate with the skills needed to thrive in their careers and live a contributing, full life. This program has the potential to become a model for all South Dakota regental universities.
Students with ASD add to the diversity of DSU’s student body, giving neurotypical students opportunities to learn how to work and interact with others of different perspectives and perceptions. These are important skills in the new global working world. Also, many supports and accommodations needed by students with ASD can be leveraged and expanded to serve other DSU students who have similar needs.
Dakota State has an advisor dedicated to working with ASD students to provide services such as counseling, academic advising, life coaching, structured mentorship, and seminar courses centered around social and career skills. The advisor is the central liaison for students with ASD, faculty, and staff, and also participates with the rest of the Student Success team to assess and make recommendations for University-wide adaptations or accommodations to support student and career success for all DSU students.
Position: Student Support Counselor / Autism Specialist
Department: Student Success Center
Hometown: Bowdle SD
College: Dakota State University - Undergrad, SDSU - Masters
Major: Computer and Network Security & Counseling and Human Resource Development
Why did you choose DSU? I chose to go to DSU because I wanted to do something with computers. I knew that if I wanted to do something in the computer field, DSU was the only way to go.
Favorite DSU experience? My favorite part about DSU would have to be connecting with faculty and staff. I got to work with many of them throughout my time at DSU while being involved in many clubs and organizations, but specifically Student Senate.
Five Interesting Things About Me:
- I'm an avid golfer.
- I'm a huge Duke Basketball fan.
- I play electric, acoustic, and bass guitar.
- I enjoy playing video games.
- I've been to Guatemala several times on mission trips.