by ADN

December 8, 2014

universitySalt Lake City — NeuroVersity, a program that helps develop the skills of students on the autism spectrum and prepare them into getting employment, was given the Social Enterprise Award by the Columbus Community Center.

The program was a brainchild of University of Utah professors Scott and Cheryl Wright, who initially designed to program to assist students with autism in developing their natural skills after they discovered that children on the spectrum can be highly effective when it comes to work that requires attention and detail.

A 3D program called SketchUp Make is used in the project to help the students design structures, which they are later on tasked to present to their classmates. According to Cheryl, the presentations help the students improve on social engagement. It is in this way that the project develops the students’ social skills– a skill that is ultimately required for them to find permanent employment.

According to the Columbus Community Center, out of all disabilities, autism has the highest unemployment rate.

Cheryl, who is an associate professor in family and consumer studies, said,

“There’s a real need in the community to connect kids on the autism spectrum with this technology.”

Scott, who is an associate professor in the University of Utah’s College of Gerontology and the College of Nursing, said that they hope to expand NeuroVersity to the community, and eventually, nationally and internationally.

Contributed by Althea Estrella Violeta


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