Program benefits, prepares students with Asperger's

I’m not usually the person to comment about campus happenings, but today I decided to give it a shot.

As you know, Mercyhurst College has many academic and support programs. Today’s topic is about one of the more beneficial programs: AIM.

AIM stands for Asperger’s Initiative at Mercyhurst. Basically, this is a program for college students who have Asperger’s Syndrome.

What is Asperger’s Syndrome? It is a neurobiological learning difference characterized by difficulties in social interaction, problems with emotional regulation, an intense repetitive interest in a certain area and an average to above-average intelligence.

Mercyhurst’s Learning Differences Program, led by Dianne Rogers, started the program a couple years ago to cater to the needs of students with Asperger’s Syndrome. Mercyhurst is one of a handful of schools in the country that has a program specifically for students with this condition.

From my dealings with both Dianne and Brent Martin, the program’s director, I can say that they are both dedicated to their jobs and students. Furthermore, Brent goes above and beyond the call of duty to help his students succeed.

The AIM program provides its students with access to assisting technologies, testing accommodations, special living arrangements, social supports (such as monthly trips) and priority registration to ensure that course loads cater to each student’s interest. This program is great because it offers support to students who would otherwise have difficulties in a regular college environment.

Mercyhurst also offers a summer transition program for students with Asperger’s Syndrome who are in high school. It provides them a chance to earn three college credits while also having a preview of college.

The college has really stayed true to its mission with a program like this. It opened college to a group of people with untapped talent and is helping students prepare themselves for employment and a successful transition to adult life.