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09 April 2012

HACC, AERI form partnership to support students with autism

Innovative support programs will be offered at HACC’s Harrisburg Campus

HARRISBURG – AERI Behavioral Health Services and HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, are partners in innovative programming to give a pre-college experience to students with autism or a related diagnosis.
Through the partnership, two support programs – a Summer Bridge Program and a College Support Program – will be offered at HACC’s Harrisburg Campus for qualified transition-age youth and college students.
“AERI is committed to supporting transition-age students impacted by diagnoses, or unique challenges, at such a critical time in their lives. We believe in maximizing a person's potential, and feel confident that by providing individualized services in collaboration with an educational institution such as HACC, together we can create a successful post-secondary experience where goals can be realized and ultimately obtained,” said Rick J. Murray, CEO of AERI.
“HACC is excited to provide an opportunity for students to participate in a College Support program specifically designed to meet the individual needs of students who have a diagnosis in the autism spectrum. It is their hope that through this new partnership, the confidence and persistence of these students will increase,” said Carole Kerper, director of disability services at the Harrisburg Campus.
The Summer Bridge Program, a four-week, non-residential program, is an opportunity for rising junior and senior high school students or recent high school graduates to benefit from a safe and supportive pre-college experience. The program, which can be included in a transition plan, will help students gain an understanding of common expectations and to experience the differences between high school and a college environment. Families will also participate in instructional activities to support a successful transition to college.
AERI will collaborate with HACC’s Office of Counseling and Disability Services to provide the College Support Program, which is a continuum of services for HACC students with an autism spectrum disorders. This program will be integrated with the existing academic, social, extracurricular activities and support services. It also has a family component, which includes executive function and classroom interventions, to teach parents and/or caregivers how to support students during this transition and to promote autonomy.
Both programs will include the addition of therapy options to complement AERI’s coaching model to provide a well-rounded approach and promote optional outcomes.
AERI staff has extensive experience working with students with diverse needs who are beginning to think about transition planning, as well as students who are enrolled in post-secondary education. AERI currently provides individual and remote supports through AERI’s college support program, Achieving in Higher Education (AHEADD).
For an application for the Summer Bridge program or more information, please contact Nicole Jarock, AERI’s Director of Innovation, at or 1-866-727-2374.
About AERI:
AERI Behavioral Health Services/The Autism Education and Research Institute (AERI) an organization based in Pennsylvania, is committed to providing behavioral consultation and intervention services that incorporate innovative research in the field of autism. AERI was founded in 2009 by Rick J. Murray, LSW, BCBA and Jerry Joseph, PhD. Serving multiple states, AERI is rapidly expanding into other areas where needs have been identified. AERI provides consultations, trainings, and other related services in homes, community settings and school districts. AERI supports consumers and families through the lifespan. AERI is also accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) for its Intensive Family Based Services.
About HACC:
HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, was established in 1964 as the commonwealth’s first community college. HACC offers nearly 200 associate and transfer degrees, certificate and diploma programs to more than 23,000 credit students in a 10-county area with regional campuses in Harrisburg, Gettysburg, Lancaster, Lebanon and York, and an online Virtual Campus that reaches students on a global scale. In addition, HACC is the Central Pennsylvania’s premier workforce development provider with more than 50,000 students enrolled in areas such as job training, customized company contracts, public safety, technology trades and computer training. For more information, go to or call 1-800-ABC-HACC (1-800-222-4222).

Nicole Jarock, AERI Director of Innovation, at or 1-866-727-2374.

Pamilla Saylor
Office of College Advancement, HACC

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