This Fall Semester the UF Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) has teamed up with the Disability Resource Center, and the Counseling and Wellness Center to form SOCIAL Gators (Student Opportunities for Career, Independent, and Academic Life).
SOCIAL Gators is a program for students who want to enhance their skills for a more enriching college experience. The focus is on social interaction, independent living, career seeking, and academics. Degree-seeking students with autism spectrum disorder are paired with peer mentors in an effort to increase engagement in university life. These peer-mentors provide support in navigating social aspects of campus life. SOCIAL Gators meet weekly to reflect on their experiences both in and outside of the classroom. They also receive academic coaching where they can meet with learning specialists that help keep students organized and on the right track.
“College is time when, in addition to getting an education that will prepare us for a career, we develop lasting relationships and become more independent. For some students, learning course curriculum is a breeze, but they might struggle to socialize with peers, do their laundry, or network with potential employers. Social Gators was created to to help students navigate the social aspects of college.” Ann-Marie Orlando, Ph.D., CCC-SLP; Associate Director at the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities.
For more information about the SOCIAL Gators program please visit: https://drc.dso.ufl.edu/services/social-gators/