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- Newsletter, Spring 2012 (pdf)
Video Transcript: Maddie's College Experience
Date of video: March 12, 2007
This is WKU's sophomore Maddie Sutphen. Like many other college students, Maddie gets a little homesick, has trouble staying motivated and hangs out with her friends.
"55 minute class is almost too long for me because its hard for me to stay focused on one thing for a long time."
But there's one thing that sets Maddie apart from her peers. She has autism.
"Sometimes I say or do the wrong thing, without realizing that its the wrong thing and sometimes I just don't recognize social cues."
After struggling in high school and attempting community college in Lexington to no avail, Maddie had the opportunity to come to college, live away from home and succeed thanks to the KAP residential program.
"We support her socially, emotionally, academically, just about anything she can ask us for."
Dr. Marty Boman runs the Kelly Autism Program at WKU. She explains some of the challenges Maddie may face living with autism.
"Academically where she isn't real comfortable in a class, that she struggles with going to the classes so we see her missing some classes. We also see her struggling with some relationships."
But she also says that Maddie's time in KAP has helped her tremendously.
"I've seen her grow socially, a lot. That interaction before she would never approach someone where now she is going up and talking to people and people are coming to her."
With continued help from KAP, Maddie can graduate from college and use the tools she's learned here at WKU to lead a better lifestyle.
"No, we're not going to totally have her come out of her world but that's ok, she's making progress and she's feeling good about that progress."
"And so it's always been really hard and I've been learning and I mean I've had to learn what comes to other people naturally and I'm still learning but I am making progress."