Supporting Autistic Students Success Initiative (SASSI)

Welcome to SASSI

Autistic students may want and benefit from specialized supports to be successful in their college career and beyond. In a collaborative and interprofessional way, SASSI provides information to faculty and staff, and offers a support- and strengths-based program for autistic students at St. Cloud State University. SASSI is funded by a Minnesota State Innovation Grant. 

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The SASSI mission is to provide educational opportunities that lead to successful academic and social outcomes for neurodivergent students, and that promote a campus and community environment of inclusion and understanding of students, faculty, and staff with neurological differences. 

SASSI Offers

  1. Weekly meetings and/or individualized meetings for autistic and other neurodivergent students to support belonging and navigation of university life, addressing social-communication competence, executive functions, self-advocacy, independence and more. 
  2. Educating faculty, staff and students about the strengths and unique learning and sensory needs of autistic students through workshops, consultations, and special events. 
  3. Evaluation and research to assess the success and sustainability of the 2021-2022 SASSI programs. 
  4. An advisory board focused on community engagement and ongoing partnerships with other St. Cloud State programs and departments.
  5. Current and future collaborations with other campus departments.

Latest News in Neurodiversity!

Employability Skills for Autistic Students and Graduates

SASSI wants to make you aware of a free online employment course for autistic university/college students that is hosted on Udemy! Users will be asked to make a Udemy account when visiting Employability Skills for Autistic Students and Graduates to access it.

It consists of a range of short narrated videos with downloadable resources to support learning and will take between 2-4 hours to complete. Topics include:

  • Knowing yourself and your autism
  • Planning your career path
  • Sharing your diagnosis
  • Reasonable adjustments
  • The interview process

It has been developed using a participatory model in collaboration with autistic experts Carl Cameron (Matthew’s Hub) and Helen Attwood (Living Autism); careers consultants Keren Coney (Liverpool John Moore University) and Edmund Lewis (LSE) from UK universities; and researchers including myself and Dr Brett Heasman.

While it is has a UK flavor to it, much of the advice and many of the resources transcend national boundaries and would be relevant to any autistic person seeking to develop their employment skills. Please do share it with students / graduates, networks via email, Twitter, Insta or LinkedIn.   

If you would like to know more, visit the website!

Neurodiversity Is Diversity

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AAC&U — I teach at Landmark College, a private liberal arts institution located in Putney, Vermont, which is designed exclusively for students who learn differently, including those with learning disabilities (such as dyslexia), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autism. My neurodivergent students often share stories of stigma that made them feel like they did not belong in school.

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Current and Future Collaborations

Person - or Identity-First Language

At SASSI, we intentionally use both person-first (e.g., a student with autism) and identity-first (e.g., an autistic student) language to acknowledge the diverse perspectives and preferences related to one's relationship with autism. 

We recognize that there are diverse perspectives and preferences about the language used to address or refer to individuals with autism—person-first versus identity-first. If you would like to explore these personal choices further, here are links you may be interested in: Autistic Self Advocacy Network Identity-First Language and National Aging and Disability Transportation Center Person-first and Identity-first Language Choices


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