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Summer Transitional Enrichment Program (STEP)

GWC, George Williams College, logoBegin your journey—take a STEP toward success! In partnership with Wisconsin-based Aurora University, we offered a new summer program on the campus of George Williams College in June 2018. Our first iteration of this innovative program was a great success. This immersive and experiencial summer program for college-bound, rising high school juniors and seniors with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) will be offered again in 2019. Watch this page for details about next summer’s Summer Transitional Enrichment Program!

STEP at GWC: June 27, 2018 from George Williams College of AU on Vimeo.

We had a wonderful time at George Williams College!

2019 Dates: TBD
Expected enrollment: 20 students
2019 Cost: TBD

This program is designed for students who have strong academic potential and whose challenges with social pragmatics affects their performance in high school. Parents will also benefit from the opportunity to better understand their student’s needs regarding college readiness; how best to support their student as they prepare for the transition to college; and how to implement techniques for helping their student manage various social environments.

Program Includes:

  • Introduction to effective communication skills and writing techniques
  • Interactive classroom instruction
  • Individual small group work
  • Immersive, hands-on exploration of several fields of study

Learn More About:

Student Experience: The Successful Transition to College. You will engage in classroom experiences and exercises that provide opportunities to better understand your personal learning style while increasing opportunities for successful social connections. You will gain a greater understanding of skills and strategies to assist with a successful transition to college. The residential staff will be ready to support you through challenges like sensory integration, changes in routine and environment, and group participation. You will be encouraged to understand the specific challenges you may face in a college setting and begin to monitor your behavior to help you achieve greater success. Upon completion of the program, a personalized assessment of your strengths and challenges, with regard to college readiness, will be provided to you and your family.

Afternoon Adventures: In addition to academics, students will have an opportunity to explore specially-designed activities offering a choice of hands-on learning experiences in Robotics, Environment Exploration, Equine Studies, Outdoor Adventure, Code-Breaking, or Culinary Arts. Through “real-world” projects, you will learn concepts and processes that are common in these fields, while developing the interpersonal and communication skills required in a college environment. These adventures will expose you to college-level writing and group work while you gain greater self-confidence.

Equine/Human Animal Studies—Students will visit a riding arena and have the opportunity to groom a horse. Those who wish to get on the horse and be led, may do so during this session. We will also visit a dog training facility and observe an agility class.

Outdoor Adventure—Students will have the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful lakeside campus by participating in several fun and exciting outdoor adventure activities including kayaking, hiking along the lake shore, swimming in the lake, and rock climbing. Students of all experience levels are welcome.

Robotics—From nanobots to rovers, robots are changing our world. Participants will explore robotics and the coding that controls them.

Environmental Exploration—Explore the wonders of lake and water boundaries. Students will collect water samples and field data using a variety of techniques and discover what nature is showing them.

Code-Breaking—Throughout history people have created codes to transmit secret messages. In this activity you will need to break several codes to investigate a murder. The codes will reveal the identity of the murderer, the weapon and the location. Please join us in the investigation.

Parent Support Module: Supporting your Student as they Prepare for College. The transition to college is an exciting time but can also bring up anxiety for you and your student. As you know, students with ASD may face greater challenges as they prepare for living and learning at college; you may be wondering how you can help your student now. As soon as drop-off day, you will begin to explore ways to encourage your student to continue practicing techniques to better manage a variety of social environments. At the close of the program, you and your student will also be offered an overview of the student’s progress during a wrap-up meeting, as well as a personalized assessment. Both the wrap-up meeting and the assessment will be your guide to continue to assist your student as they complete high school.

Learning Outcomes—During the program students will:

  • Gain a greater awareness of individual daily classroom preparation needs (i.e., timeliness, classroom etiquette, study habits, and organization)
  • Gain a better understand of their necessary development of individual social skills (i.e., appropriate interaction with peers, giving and receiving feedback, peer pressure)
  • Develop an understanding of their necessary advancement of individual independent living skills (i.e., use of leisure time, medical needs, creating a routine)
  • Actively engage in class discussion and collaborative learning
  • Develop an understanding of themselves as members of an academic community
  • Develop and practice processes to improve writing skills

Financial Aid is available for the Summer Transitional Enrichment Program. Students must be accepted to the program before receiving an award. Financial aid applications for the Program will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. We encourage parents to submit an application for financial aid as soon as possible after their son or daughter has been accepted, or along with the application.


Susan Grabowski
Director of Short-Term Programs
Landmark College

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