According to Janos Botschner, co-principal investigator and chair of Community Safety at Conestoga, students with ASD often experience a feeling of isolation that impacts their social and academic success. The new project will include the development of screening tools to promote the early identification of affected students as well as the creation of mindfulness-based supports that will assist those students in their efforts to address negative behaviours and become more positively self-aware.
By increasing awareness of ASD and providing effective support systems for students, the program will help individuals feel valued within the school community and contribute to their academic and social success.
Conestoga's Accessibility Services and Counselling Services departments, along with Conestoga Students Inc., will contribute to the project which will be fully launched by Fall 2014.
"We're working together to leverage all the great work we're doing to make all our campuses mental health friendly for students - that's really the focus." Botschner said.
When the project is completed, findings will be shared across the province's post-secondary system in order to expand mental health support systems for all Ontario students.
For more information, visit www.supportcampusmentalhealth.ca.
Story by Laurie Snell, second-year student in Conestoga’s Print Journalism program.