Callier Asperger Program Gives Students Confidence
From the moment they step on campus, UT Dallas students have a multitude of opportunities to socialize and build relationships. For some, however, adjusting to college life and making new friends isn’t easy.
To help students succeed socially, the UT Dallas Callier Center for Communication Disorders created the Adult Social Communication Group. The group is designed for young adults ages 17-30 with Asperger Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder.
“We created the group in 2004, when Kerry Tate, assistant director of disability services, noticed an increase in UT Dallas students with Asperger Syndrome and inquired about a support group,” said Lucinda Dean, speech-language pathologist and clinical faculty member. “Although people with Asperger Syndrome usually have average to above-average intelligence, they experience difficulties socializing in various settings.”
Participants meet once a week to discuss a range of topics focusing on making friends, dealing with rejection, dating and interviewing for jobs. They also participate in social outings to a local miniature-golf course.
“One of the main goals of the program is to help group members learn how to communicate effectively in many situations, but we also strive to provide a fun environment in which they can socialize with other young adults with Asperger Syndrome,” said Dean.
Graduate students enrolled in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences’ master’s program in communication disorders also benefit from the program. The students gain hands-on training by leading the group discussions.
The group is currently free of charge and meets at the Callier Center’s Richardson location. Sessions take place Monday afternoons from 4–5 p.m. during each semester. To register or learn more about the program, contact Lucinda Dean at 972-883-3654.