PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A local university is working to make sure incoming students who are on the autism spectrum have all the experiences a college student should have. The new Aspire Residence Hall at Saint Joseph’s University will assist students with everything from personal care to problem-solving and communal living.
“Being with other people who fit not the same but similar struggles going into college,” Ryan Moran, a St. Joe’s senior, said.
That would be ideal, but it’s not always the case for seniors like Moran.
“Currently, I’m a dual biology and music major,” Moran said.
Moran is one of the many college students on the spectrum at Saint Joseph’s University. He’s also part of the Aspire program.
“It helps students on the spectrum accommodate to the college experience, both college and life after,” Moran said.
The Aspire program is housed in the Kinney Center for Autism Education, a place Moran and executive director Angus Murray are working on a housing plan for incoming Aspire students set to launch in fall 2022.
“Folks on the spectrum have the same wants, needs, desires as everybody else,” Murray said. “They just need a little extra support and help on how to get there.”
The plan includes turning the former St. Albert’s Hall into 15 dorm rooms and living space to cater to students on the spectrum.
“There were progressively more private areas depending on the level of socialization while you are working,” Moran said.
“If we could be successful with these folks now, they are going to go on to live happy and successful lives where they can be contributing members of society,” Murray said.
Like Moran and his future.
“Ideal plan? Writing music, but if that doesn’t work out, I find bio interesting,” Moran said.
Especially if you have to take care of Bubba the turtle.
The university is now accepting applications for 2022-23 housing.