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Hannah Baur ’20 (left) is one of 10 students in the ASD Support Program. Baur meets with her peer mentor, Madelyn Martin ’20, twice a week to both receive guidance and carry on casual conversation. Photo courtesy WBAY-TV

SNC Among Best Small Colleges for Students on Autism Spectrum

St. Norbert is one of the best small colleges in the country for students on the autism spectrum, according to the Applied Behavior Analysis Programs Guide.

The guide named St. Norbert in its 30 Best Small Colleges for Students on the Autism Spectrum 2020 list. The listing reflects ongoing support for students on the autism spectrum through a robust program endowed by Camille (Coppens) Nicklaus ’87 and her husband, Todd Nicklaus.

The program combines one-on-one counseling, social skills training and peer mentoring.

“For many of these students,” says Bruce Robertson (Counseling & Psychological Services), “this is the first time they are away from their parents and they need help with self-advocacy, emotional regulation, social functioning and getting involved on campus.”

Hannah Baur ’20 is one of 10 students in the ASD Support Program. Baur meets with her peer mentor, Madelyn Martin ’20, twice a week to both receive guidance and carry on casual conversation.

“Talking with her in person is very special. Making that connection is very nice,” Baur says in an interview with WBAY-TV News.

The Nicklauses followed up initial funding for a pilot program with a $125,000 pledge in 2017 to permanently endow the program. The Nicklauses’ involvement with the ASD Support Program began when their son was diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of 4. He now attends college in North Dakota.

“St. Norbert’s is a welcoming campus, and this program will help these students feel more at ease during their college experience, especially for those students who suffer from social issues,” explained Todd Nicklaus. “It’s a comfortable place to be and the students – I think because it’s a Catholic college – are more understanding of differences.”

In its listing of the 30 best small colleges for students on the autism spectrum, the Applied Behavior Analysis Programs Guide considered factors including size of the institution; specialized programs; overall autism friendliness; scholarships and financial support; and the “it” factor, defined as any other offerings notable for students with autism such as autism-related research programs or courses on autism.


May 8, 2020