PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A local university is working to ensure that incoming students on the autism spectrum have all the experiences a college student should have. The new Aspire Residence Hall at St. Joseph’s University will assist students with everything from personal care to problem-solving and communal living.
St. Joe’s senior Ryan Moran said, “Living with other people who go through the same struggles is not the same as going to college.”
This would be the norm, but it isn’t always the case for seniors like Moran.
“Currently, I’m a dual biology and music major,” Moran said.
Moran is one of many college students on the spectrum at St. Joseph’s University. He is also a part of the Aspire program.
“It helps students adjust to the college experience, both in college and in life,” Moran said.
The Aspire program is housed at the Kinney Center for Autism Education, a place Moran and executive director Angus Murray are working on a housing plan for incoming Aspire students, which will be launched in the fall of 2022.
“People on the spectrum have the same wants, needs, desires that everyone else has,” Murray said. “They just need a little extra support and help getting there.”
The plan includes converting the former St. Albert Hall into 15 dorm rooms and living space to cater to students on the spectrum.
“There were progressively more private sectors depending on your level of socialization when you’re working,” Moran said.
“If we can be successful with these people now, they are going to lead happy and successful lives where they can contribute members of society,” Murray said.
Like Moran and his future.
“The ideal plan? Writing music, but if that doesn’t work, I find the bio interesting,” Moran said.
Especially if you have to take care of Turtle Bubba.
The university is now accepting applications for housing 2022-23.