Connecting to College
Connecting to College (CtC) is a program that offers support to college students who have autism or related needs.
We offer support by helping students learn how to access relevant services on campus and develop goals for skills that are important in the daily college experience and beyond.
- Are enrolled in a University of Houston – Clear Lake degree plan.
- Are enrolled with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).
- Have a TWC vocational counselor.
- Access our service of their own volition.
Students at CtC determine the skills that they would most like to work on. Support specialists guide students to set their own goals, targeting skills that can include: time/task management, making friends/social skills, independent living skills, and self-advocacy. CtC students also decide on how often they meet with us based on their needs and motivation. All our students understand that CtC is here to support them to meet their goals, but ultimately the most change happens outside of sessions.
In addition, we invite CtC students to an hour-long group meeting once a week where students can meet each other, share experiences, and help build a community on campus. We have talked about things such as: the meaning of friendships, how to start/end conversations, how to tell when someone is interested or disinterested in conversations, how to handle disagreements, college challenges, and more.
CtC does not target academic, writing, or math skills directly. It is important to note that while CtC staff work on time and task management/executive functioning skills which affect academics, CtC does not directly target academic skills such as note-taking, writing, math skills, or testing. Training for these skills is provided by academic coaches, the writing center, and tutors/math center staff at UHCL. Accommodations for the classroom (such as extended time on tests, accommodated seating, note-taking assistance, etc.) are covered by Accessibility Support Services on campus. If you or a student you know need help signing up for one of these services, CtC will gladly help with that.
Texas Workforce Commission
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has partnered with Connecting to College to be able to provide our services to students. Aside from providing funding, CtC works alongside TWC to help students succeed in college and while working toward employment. Support from TWC will help us expand our services in the future. Signing up with TWC also means that our students get benefits, too. The benefits they offer include:
- Scholarships/funding for college.
- Internship opportunities.
- Summer work activities.
- Learning the skills needed for employment.
It is important to note that TWC requires a diagnosis for the services provided. That being said, TWC also offers support in finding the relevant evaluations at low (or no) cost to those seeking services. To begin the first steps, visit the TWC Vocal Rehabilitation Services site and fill out the form for Youth & Students.
Staff, Faculty, & Campus Support
Connecting to College (CtC) offers one Autism Allies training per semester for staff and faculty.
The fall semester training is held at the beginning of each fall semester with a heavy emphasis on how to set up your classroom/office for success when working with individuals with autism or related needs.
The spring semester training is held in April in light of Autism Awareness Month.
These trainings are in place for those who may want to learn about:
- Experiences of those with autism.
- How to support those with autism in our community.
Professor, Department, & Staff Consultations
CtC offers consultations to professors, departments, and staff who would like help in areas such as classroom management, social/behavioral issues, or questions about autism, students with autism, etc. While we are open to discussing any scenario you may want to pose, we ask that faculty/staff refrain from sharing explicit information about specific students (or any identifiable information) to respect the privacy of others and uphold the law. Please feel free to contact us via the interest form or by email should this be of interest.
Class Meet & Greet
The support staff at CtC offer their time in the form of attending the first 5-15 minutes of one of your class lectures to discuss in person with your students more about Connecting to College. If this is something you would be interested in, please feel free to contact us via the interest form or by email.
To learn more about our program and what we offer, please take a moment to watch this informational video by Lorena Galvan. You can also watch an interview conducted with Lorena Galvan by Mary Ann Hughes about the program and what we offer.
Director: Dorothea Lerman, Ph.D
Program Coordinator & Support Specialist: Lorena Galvan
Support Specialists: Mary Beth Morgan, Megan Vazquez, and Claire Aragon