What is happening in the Circle of Support:
KAP Circle of Support
The Kelly Autism Program at WKU has created the Circle of Support, a program that
offers six areas of assistance specifically designed to address the challenges faced
by students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and to increase their success on campus.
The major areas of assistance provided by KAP Circle of Support include: private residence hall rooms, study tables, mentoring, socials, mental health counseling and weekly advisor meetings.
The theoretical framework for the Circle of Support is Social Information Processing Theory and Executive Functioning Skill Development. The cost of the program is $5,000.00 per semester. All students within KAP Circle of Support are degree seeking students at Western Kentucky University. The Kelly Autism Program is the only provider of these types of services in the region and is poised to become a national model.
KAP Circle of Support recognizes the need for students to have time alone to recharge each day. Every attempt is made to assign Circle of Support participants to a private room in a residence hall with a quiet living environment. Participants are assigned to single rooms at the double occupancy room rate.
KAP Circle of Support students attend 3-hour study table sessions four days a week. During these sessions, KAP staff members provide support with executive functioning skills as well as tutoring. Study table staff consists of undergraduate and graduate students from WKU who have been trained in using “Evidence Based Practices” for individuals diagnosed with ASD. Students are able to accomplish many homework tasks during the required sessions, which helps to ensure a focus on coursework remains a priority.
The mentoring support program provides each student with a mentor to meet with on weekly basis in a small group setting. Mentors help students get acclimated and involved in various clubs and organizations on WKU’s campus as well as foster relationships among peers.
KAP Circle of Support participants are encouraged, though not required to participate in organized social activities, such as video game nights, restaurants outings, and volunteerism. These activities are provided at least twice monthly and students have the opportunity to assist with planning.
KAP Circle of Support participants have access to a full-time mental health counselor. The counselor offers both private and group counseling to students in the Circle of Support program. Students may see the counselor on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis.
Every student in the KAP Circle of Support is assigned an adviser that meets with them on a weekly basis. Advisers are full-time professional staff members. Students can discuss specific concerns such as academic challenges, social questions, and extracurricular organizational concerns.
Featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education (chronicle.com) on October 12, 2022: Making a Home for Students with Autism
Featured in WKU News on July 24, 2018: KAP Circle of Support students gain experience at CCK
Featured in the New York Times on Nov. 19, 2016: Along the Autism Spectrum, a Path Through Campus Life