CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Rising sophomores, juniors and seniors at Illinois high schools who were diagnosed with autism and are considering attending the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign can explore and prepare for college life through a new virtual summer camp.
The free online camp, called I Ready, will be held June 22-25. Campers will attend 90-minute sessions from 1-2:30 p.m. each day using the web app Zoom.
Campers will learn about the opportunities and resources available to U. of I. students with autism; receive tips on succeeding at college; and talk with current undergraduate students about meeting new friends, getting involved in student organizations and navigating other aspects of college life.
The June 25 session will include information of interest to campers’ parents, such as considerations for helping their student successfully transition from high school to college.
Jeanne Kramer, the program coordinator for The Autism Program of Illinois, said the camp also will provide tips on study skills and offer opportunities for participants to meet peers who have similar interests.
“It’s difficult for undergraduate students to disclose that they have autism,” Kramer said. “The goal of the camp is to help potential incoming students with autism feel safe before they arrive on campus and make them aware of the resources that are available to them.”
For many undergraduates with autism, the academic requirements are not their greatest barriers to success, said Amy Cohen, the director of the Psychological Services Center.
“Often, it is the transition away from home, the new social demands of college and problem-solving their daily hassles when our students require more support,” Cohen said. “The purpose of I Ready is to connect with prospective students to acknowledge these barriers, give proactive tips to navigate them and demonstrate that our campus community celebrates neurodiversity.”
The deadline for registration is May 24.
I Ready is a joint collaboration of Illinois Extension, TAP and the U. of I. Autism Clinic, a unit within the department of psychology.
For more information and to confirm eligibility, campers should contact the U. of I. Autism Clinic at 217-300-6773 or email UIautismclinic@illinois.edu.