NeuroVersity is a community-based educational experience for individuals with autism conditions. This means we work directly with community representatives and organizations to implement our workshop and learning programs. We have replicated our program in four different states and have worked with youth and transition-aged adults (both males and females) with the age range from 10 to 23. The community contexts range from rural to urban areas with both public and private school systems.
Some examples of community partners:
- School districts
- School district transition teams
- Gaming companies
- Autism schools
- Public, private, and charter schools
- Advocacy groups
- College departments
- Autism foundations
- Business development partners
The Columbus Community Center awarded the work NeuroVersity has done with the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute with the Social Enterprise Award. The award-winning workshop was conducted in cooperation with Columbus Community Center, the Lassonde Center, and NeuroVersity, as well as Mentors who volunteered from Big-D Construction. This workshop was two weeks: the first week was a basic workshop, and the second week involved a real-life design provided by Big-D. These students were able to get a taste of exactly how graphic design is used in construction.
The NeuroVersity team works with local community representatives to assess needs and goals for the workshop, depending on geographic and demographic characteristics of the community. The partners then identify and select students on the autism spectrum to attend the workshops. Because our workshops focus on intensive mentoring and teaching experiences we generally limit the attendance per classroom to 10-12 students. Workshops can be conducted in multiple classrooms depending on available resources and staff.
In a Community Plan, each member of the partnership determines what they can contribute to the workshop. Here is an example (specifics may change in different communities).
- Program directors
- Facilitators for workshops
- Mobile lab
- Video cameras (for research)
Non-Profit Partner Provides:
- Two classrooms for workshops
- Space for orientation
- Room with projector for parent workshop
- Internet connection
- Computers (11) for one classroom
Business Partner Provides:
- Mentor (expert in SketchUp), 4 hours per day for 5 days
- “Real life” job for students to complete
School District Provides
- Potential participants
- Additional facilitators as needed
The partners can determine whether a reasonable tuition fee is necessary, or whether the partners can provide the services at no cost for the students.
- Google Community Grant ($40,000; March 2013). This funding was used to replicate our program in The Dalles, Oregon.
- In Progress
- The Utah Autism Foundation funded curriculum development ($50,000, July 2013)
- The McCarthey Foundation funded computer equipment for the program ($10,699, January 2013)
- Utah Inter-Institutional Consortium ($1700, January 2013) funded workshops and a community seminar.
- Utah Council on Autism ($2,000) funded the purchase of video equipment for the program (currently have a $2,500 equipment proposal submitted).
- Technology Commercialization & Innovation Program (TCIP)/GOED $40,000
- RocketHub “Talent Tech Development in Youth with ASD”
Over 50 donors with over $7,000 in contributions.
- Mike and Tina Moerer $5,000 (website development and video production)
- Scott Linegar (Trimble) $1,000 interested in documentary production.
- Gailynn Gluth (Wynsum Arts) $1,000
Pierre Lassonde Center
Utah Entrepreneurship Challenge