College program helps people with autism transition into adulthood

CIPBerkeley, CA- A Berkeley college program called College Internship Program (CIP) helps people with autism become adults. The program was founded by Michael McManmon (who was diagnosed with Asperger’s at age 52) and aims to ease the transition into adulthood by teaching independent living skills such as cooking, social, job, and education skills such as time management in preparation for entering the workforce or college. The program has campuses in Massachusetts, Indiana, Florida, and Long Beach,California.

The Berkeley CIP was built in 2007 and 17 residents live in apartments with roommates near the Berkeley campus. One resident Memo Hernandez met with San Jose Mercury News and mentioned how this program will help him realize his dream of getting a job in physics or chemistry and, learning to make art that will inspire others. Most of all, he wants to be a productive member of society-something the program believes everyone it helps can be.

This belief is enshrined in a sign on the Berkeley Campus:

“You are made for a good purpose and are inherently valuable.”

Campus Director Kaeb Menker told San Jose Mercury News that this program can do wonders for the influx of recent high school grads. According to him, many graduates on the spectrum tend to isolate themselves which leads to depression, anxiety, and lack of self esteem. With the CIP, he adds, people can learn from their mistakes in a safe environment.

Midhun Tripuraneni, agrees. The 19-year-old has been in the program for a year and said that it has really helped him mature and get the confidence he needs. He’s taking college classes and volunteers at the San Fran Airport info booth, something he notes he would have never done without CIP. He plans to transfer to UC Davis for a degree in computer science.

The original article by Sarah Rohrs on the San Jose Mercury News website can be found here

Contributed by Audrey L. Hollingheads