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OARacle Newsletter

OAR welcomed six autistic students, including five rising seniors, from the Autism Initiative at Mercyhurst (AIM) to learn about OAR’s programs and resources in March. The AIM program, founded in 2008, supports autistic students and helps them thrive in five domains: academic, social, emotional, vocational, and independent living. AIM’s support includes:

  • A yearly summer college readiness and transition program.
  • Weekly one-on-one individual meetings for each AIM student with a staff member to discuss weekly objectives and organize the student’s weekly schedule.
  • Vocational trips to Washington, D.C. and New York City to meet with neuro-affirming organizations, autism-specific organizations, and local and federal policymakers and legislators. In addition to advocacy, the trips help students gain experience in doing things like navigating a busy city, using a map, using public transportation, dressing appropriately for a meeting, networking, and managing time efficiently.

The visit to OAR was a part of one of those vocational trips. The students learned about OAR’s volunteer opportunities, scholarships, research grants, Hire Autism, and other resources. The students were most interested in Hire Autism and the Synchrony Tech scholarship.

The AIM group members were excited and enthusiastic about potentially using some of OAR’s resources in their continuing education and career search.