Drexel’s Anonymous Donation

Drexels Anonymous Donation

Angel Patel, Staff Reporter

On Wednesday, February 17,  Drexel’s Autism Institute received a grant of 3.5 million dollars. This institute creates pilot programs that help young Philadelphians with autism. Autism is a mental condition that is present from early childhood, characterized by difficulty in communicating, forming relationships with other people, and using language and abstract concepts. These pilot progams are also called feasibility studies or experimental trials, which are small-scale, short term experiments that help an organization learn how a large-scale project might work in practice. The two transition pathways in Drexle’s program aim to ensure that no autistic student falls through the cracks when they transition from high school to independent adulthood. The program is focusing on efforts that are affordable and effective. According to Drexel University’s website, the two transition pathways are the work pathway and the college pathway. The work pathway provides internship opportunities which lead to competitive employment. The college pathways adds opportunities to audit or attend Drexel courses. In September the first program will begin. The donor was inspired to give the 3.5 million dollar grant because of a report done by Dr. Paul Shattuck. The report said that only 58% of autistic people in the U.S. have had a paying job in their lifetime. According to Phillyvoice, Dr. Stattuck’s report states that only a little more than one third of autistic people have attended college. Peter Doehring PhD, associate research professor, says “We need programs that can deliver benefits to an entire population of adults, and this gift will help us demonstrate how to do that here at Drexel.”