Program Gives Students with Autism the "Courage to Succeed" in C - 8NEWS - WRIC | News Where You Live

Program Gives Students with Autism the "Courage to Succeed" in College

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Woods tells 8News Anchor Amy Lacey that he hopes to graduate in December. Woods tells 8News Anchor Amy Lacey that he hopes to graduate in December.

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) - For students with Autism, their high school graduations are often the end of their educations, but it doesn't have to be that way. A program is helping some go to college and not just beat the odds, exceed them.

Cory Woods is a Civil Engineering student. "I look at the world differently, but that's not a bad thing. It's a good thing. I look at it outside the box."

Woods, who has Asperger's, is balancing two internships, classes and a social life like college students everywhere. When he first enrolled in college, though, he fell behind with his classes. Then he found Courage to Succeed, a partnership between UMFS and J. Sargeant Reynolds.

"We can go in and talk to their advisors there and figure out what classes they can take, and they get priority registration so it's not as stressful of a transition for them," says social coach Kelly Taylor.

Taylor and others work with participants on and off-campus because they can face challenges. Some write a paper but then don't turn it in. Missing deadlines is common. Socializing can also be a struggle.

Remembering his time at a public high school, Woods says, "I didn't make friends as easily. I was very quiet, kept to myself."

That's all a thing of the past, however. Courage to Succeed helped Woods focus on his studies and build some of the best friendships he's ever had. "I know in five years I'm still going to be hanging out with these guys. We're still going to be getting together."

Courage to Succeed is helping students with Autism so much that the program is expanding. It's now also enrolling students with all types of learning disabilities.

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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