JONESBORO — Arkansas State University has launched EduCare, a comprehensive online program that provides support and opportunities for students with autism spectrum disorder who are interested in an online undergraduate degree.

This program is designed to eliminate the challenges associated with traditional four-year degrees while preparing students for post-graduation employment. EduCare students remain at home with existing support systems while they engage in 100 percent online undergraduate courses through A-State.

“Part of our core values at A-State is to maintain a student-centered focus committed to educating and serving students,” said Kerry Tew, director of EduCare. “This program is a reflection of that focus, along with providing an additional support mechanism for those with autism spectrum disorder who want to further their education.”

Beginning in fall 2021, EduCare students enrolled in one of 12 online undergraduate degree programs will partner with traditional A-State student mentors with specialized training in autism, and they will work on building additional lifelong skills in education, social competency, community living and career preparation. Additionally, EduCare students can participate in a summer week-long event that will provide inclusive opportunities to practice learned skills and promote social participation on the A-State campus.

To be eligible to participate in the program, an individual must meet the following requirements:

Be accepted and enrolled in Arkansas State University online courses

Be 18 years of age or older upon submission of application

Have a documented diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder

Have access to reliable technology such as a computer, webcam, internet access and cellphone

Be comfortable using a cell phone and computer independently or with assistive technology.

Because Friday, April 2, is the 14th annual World Autism Awareness Day, the clock tower of the Dean B. Ellis Library will be lighted blue that evening. Blue is the color selected by the autism advocacy association Autism Speaks to promote awareness.

For additional information about the EduCare program, call (870) 680-4379.

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