When young adults with autism and LD move away from home their lives can become complicated and stressful. The challenges they meet in new environments may be difficult to navigate. However, with determination and support, many transition-age students are able to achieve success.
This month’s student spotlight features Lauren, a current student at CIP’s Berkeley Center in California. Lauren is a vibrant young woman with learning differences who has worked to overcome several challenges. She recently graduated from Berkeley City College with a certificate in Social Work and Human Services, moved into a new apartment, and landed an internship.
“I am so proud of my accomplishments and my passion to help others,” Lauren commented. “I have worked hard, had fun, and made great connections.”
Lauren recently moved into her new apartment located a few blocks from CIP’s Berkeley Center. “I learned a lot from CIP and my roommates, and I’m ready to live independently,” Lauren shared. “I love my new apartment. It’s in a great location and is close to my boyfriend’s apartment. I’m so happy to finally get a place to myself.”
Additionally, Lauren just landed a paid internship working at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in the Talent Outreach department. Her duties include connecting with college students across the US and discussing opportunities offered by the Lab. She works part-time, receives support from a job coach, and works remotely from her new apartment.
“I’m thrilled with my new job and the chance to spread the word about opportunities at the Lab,” Lauren commented. I’m excited to be working to expand and connect with historically black colleges, and also help with increasing disability awareness.”
Lauren, age 26 will be entering her fifth year as a CIP Berkeley student in the Fall. When asked about the most important thing she has learned there, Lauren commented, “I have learned to be more flexible with my time, my schedule, and my journey. I also learned to maintain an apartment and keep up my social life.”
Lauren has gained many skills over the last few years. “When I started at CIP, it was hard for me to multitask, balance time with friends, and manage my apartment with my roommate,” she commented. “To be successful with maintaining our apartment, my advisor gave my roommate and me a whiteboard to keep track of splitting up chores, taking turns buying supplies and other necessary reminders. This really helped both of us become more accountable.”
She has also overcome other challenges as she transitioned to living independently. “When I enrolled as a CIP student, I had a hard time managing my anxiety and ADHD,” Lauren commented.” I have built a support system and now know what to do when I need to reach out. I have learned it is important for me to make sure I have time for myself and understand my limits and boundaries.”
When asked what advice she has for students with autism and learning differences who are considering transition programs such as CIP, Lauren shared “Keep an open mind. You might have an expectation of what your life might be like, but never be afraid to try something new, you may like it.”
Lauren’s most memorable experience as a CIP student was traveling to the UK as part of CIP’s Global Engagement trip and commented “Visiting England has been on my bucket list forever. I loved being able to travel with a group and have stayed in touch with several students from other CIP Centers.”
Lauren’s future goals include earning a Bachelor’s degree, working full time at a non-profit, and spending more time with her family. When she’s not working for the Lab or attending CIP modules, Lauren enjoys reading historical fiction, watching TV and seeing family and friends.
“I love the fact that I now know how to be self-aware,” Lauren concluded.” I have overcome challenges and I understand my limits and boundaries. I am proud of my independence and what I have accomplished.”
The College Internship Program is a comprehensive transition program for young adults on the Autism Spectrum and with Learning Differences. Our Mission is to inspire independence and expand the foundation on which young adults with Autism, ADHD, and other Learning Differences can build happy and productive lives.