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Tara Rowe, UNF THRIVE coordinator, and UNF THRIVE student Ben Rittenhouse

  • Broadcast in Education
Total Tutor

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The Total Tutor Neil Haley will interview Tara Rowe, UNF THRIVE coordinator, and UNF THRIVE student Ben Rittenhouse.

Did you know that 1 in 68 people have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and that it’s roughly 4.5 times more common among males than females? Several universities and colleges across the country offer programs to ASD students; however, the THRIVE (Transition to Health, Resources, Independence, Viable Careers and Education) program at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville is the only one in the country that is FREE and also touches on not just independent living and social skills, like most programs, but also career training. The UNF THRIVE program started with only six students in 2012 and has grown to nearly 130 students!

A majority of the students in the UNF THRIVE program are high functioning and have very high GPAs; they typically need help with things we take for granted, like making small talk with someone. Our students in the program practice stress management, time management, assertiveness, scheduling/planning as well as develop skills in household tasks, like washing clothes/folding laundry, grocery shopping, cooking and meal planning. THRIVE students also learn appropriate social and sexual behaviors, diversity and appropriate professional interactions with professors, peers and campus staff. Plus, our students get assistance from the program’s coordinator (she’s a staff of one!) to find a good career fit and participate in career experiences, such as volunteering, job shadowing, internships and employment.