Updated 10/14/2011 05:00 AM
State of Education: Degree geared toward students with autism, special needs
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The Sage Colleges and Excelsior Colleges are joining forces to create what is known as the Sage Achieve Degree.
"It's an online bachelor's degree in liberal studies with an emphasis in computer science," says Susan Scrimshaw, Sage Colleges' President.
But that's not all. It's specifically geared toward students with autism and other special needs.
"Some college systems have buddy systems set up for students with special needs, but this is the first program that addresses it in a fully online format at the level of individual attention that we're able to give," said Dana Reinecke, Sage Colleges Department Chair.
The program, which requires 120 credits, is designed for students with needs who also may not be comfortable within the traditional college setting. New York State Senator Roy McDonald, who has two grandsons with autism, applauds this program, which could become a trend in college education and student life.
"It's our mission to make them productive, responsible, give them self-esteem to help their family members and find their niche in America, which is for everybody," said Senator McDonald.
The Sage Achieve Degree is also different than our typical online program. Since the student has special needs, the focus is more on the individual, than just the general class and with a mentor-ship program. Students will not only be preparing for graduation, but for the real world as well.
"Personal finance, job interview skills, or how to get an apartment, social communications kinds of skills, all issues that could be very challenging for someone with autism," said Reinecke.
Since one out of every 100 children in New York State is diagnosed on the autism spectrum, there could be could be a trend coming to other campuses, just like the Sage Achieve Degree.