The Misericordia University Autism Center has launched the Autism Lifelong Learning (ALL) Program to address the region's shortage of available resources and services for adults on the autism spectrum of disorders.
Under the direction of Joan Roth Kleinman, M.Ed., ALL provides pre-vocational, vocational, and community living skills to adults who have been diagnosed with a disorder on the autism spectrum or dually diagnosed with autism and intellectual disabilities. ALL's primary objective is to enable the adults participating in the program to obtain supported or competitive employment in a fully integrated setting with at least a minimum wage.
The Autism Center added the new program because of the region's shortage of available resources and services for people on the autism spectrum. In addition to specially trained personnel, the ALL Program includes an advisory board that features people with expertise in autism, including parents of children with autism, health care professionals, and regional educators from higher education.
"The Autism Lifelong Learning Program's mission is to educate and train adults with autism to integrate and function independently in the community by acquiring life and employment skills,'' said Leamor Kahanov, Ed.D., L.A.T., A.T.C., dean of the College of Health Sciences and Education at Misericordia University. "It is our hope that this specialized programming will lead to supported or competitive employment so people with autism can live their lives to the fullest extent possible.''
ALL fills the gap that occurs when people with autism complete high school. The new program ensures this population receives the ongoing support and services they need across their lifespan.
"The ALL Program believes people who are on the autism spectrum of disorders and dually diagnosed with autism and intellectual disabilities can be successful in the workplace with proper assessments and supports,'' added Kleinman, the director of the program.
The ALL Program at Misericordia University received licensure from the Pennsylvania Office of Developmental Programs. The Pennsylvania Bureau of Autism Services, the Pennsylvania Office of Developmental Programs, and the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation also have approved of and qualified the services of ALL.
The College of Health Sciences and Education at Misericordia University established the Autism Center in 2015. The center utilizes interprofessional collaboration in academic departments to provide supportive individual and family-based services, and functions as a resource for clinicians, physicians and caregivers while educating future health care professionals and educators in specialty areas, such as medical imaging, nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, sonography, speech-language pathology and pre-professional programs.For more information about the Misericordia University Autism Center's Autism Lifelong Learning Program or to enroll in the program, please call Kleinman at (570) 674-8200 or visit www.misericordia.edu/autism.