What Is the Role of the CSP at Rutgers University?
The program is designed to be a bridge for students on the autism spectrum as they learn to identify and access the community and support services of the university.
How Are Individual Student Needs Met through the CSP?
The CSP coordinator and the student have an initial meeting each semester to identify the student’s needs and interests. With support from the CSP coordinator, the student develops goals that will build his/her academic, social, executive functioning, and/or life skills. The CSP coordinator and the student meet once or more per week throughout the semester to review the student’s progress, build skills, and address new areas of concern. In addition to meetings, the CSP coordinator, students, and peer mentors use email, text messages, and/or phone calls to keep in touch and monitor students' progress.
How Do Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder Get Connected with the Resources of Such a Large University?
The CSP coordinator will assist the student in identifying the services s/he may need, ensure that the student makes contact with the correct office, and then provide follow-through support as needed.
Do You Foster Social Integration into the College Community?
Yes. This is done through matching each student with one or more peer mentors, making sure the student is interfacing with university faculty and staff, using course-specific chat rooms, and joining clubs and interest groups.
Who Are the Peer Mentors?
They are typically sophomores, juniors, and seniors at Rutgers University who are trained and supervised to assist CSP students in the program as they adjust to university life. Mentors have a wide variety of majors. CSP students may have more than one mentor.
Peer Mentors can be changed, but it is highly recommended that CSP students continue to work on their social skills with their original Peer Mentor in order to create a sense of comfortability.
Do Students in the CSP Interact with Each Other?
Yes. There are formal and informal opportunities for small- and large-group social activities. All of these events are held on a monthly basis and can take place both in-person and virtually.
Some fun past events include a Halloween Social and a Finals Relaxation Event in which CSP students were able to relieve some stress by petting and playing around with puppies from the Animal Companion Club before finals.
Do You Help Students Organize and Manage Their Days?
Yes. Students are taught strategies and tools to plan their time and to prioritize their work by consulting with faculty members, academic advisors and systematically referencing both Rutgers University course and degree management software. Many students receive additional academic coaching through the Learning Centers. The coaches and CSP coordinators collaborate in providing services.
How Do You Support a Student Who is Anxious/Resistant to Approaching a Professor, Dean, Administrator, or Staff Member at the University?
The CSP coordinator will support the student as s/he identifies the steps necessary to make the appointment. The CSP coordinator will then help the student prepare for the meeting and accompany the student if s/he requests.
Do You Help Students Identify Class Environments That Are Conducive to Their Needs?
Yes. The CSP prepares and assists students to ask questions and seek information about class environments relative to their sensory concerns.
Can You Clarify CSP Students' Living Arrangements and What Role Your Department Plays?
CSP students can choose to live on or off campus. If residing on campus in University housing, they do not live together with other CSP students. Those living in University housing may be placed on any of the five campuses in residence halls or apartments. Students may request a roommate(s) or a single room. The CSP coordinator, peer mentors, and University staff work with students to build tolerance, negotiation and advocacy skills with peers, residence assistants (RA’s) and people in related University offices. For more information about Residence Life, please visit: http://ruoncampus.rutgers.edu/.
Do You Interact With Parents/Guardians?
Yes. Intake sessions/interviews usually involve the families, as does the student's individual year-end review session held at the end of the spring semester. In addition, with student approval, the Coordinator will contact parents as needed.
Is Application to the CSP Part of the Process for Application to Rutgers University?
No. They are separate processes. Applications to the CSP are accepted at any time; however, the CSP admissions process does not begin until after a student has been notified that he/she meets Rutgers University’s admissions requirements,
How Many Students Do You Accept Each Year?
It varies; however, we are looking to expand the program and support an increased number of students, pending staff resources and student qualification. For the 2019-2020 acadmic year, we accepted 20 students across all majors and schools, broken down as follows:
4 students who commuted to campus
8 students from out-of-state
3 female students
1 international students
0 part-time students (although we do accept them)
Do You Help Students with Employment?
The CSP offers University-Based Employment Support that provides individualized support for CSP students who are seeking meaningful vocational experiences at Rutgers. Job placements are tailored to the needs of the student and are based on the student's individual strengths and interests. For more information on this service, please email CSP's Coordinator, Courtney Butler, at Courtney.Butler@rutgers.edu or call 732-421-8169 with any further questions.
Is There a Fee for the Program?
Yes. The services are funded by a fee of $7,000 for the full academic year. The CSP fee is separate from Rutgers University tuition and fees. It is recommended that students remain in the CSP program for a minimum of two consecutive semesters. New Jersey families are encouraged to contact the NJ Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) to determine eligibility for funding and services.