SOCIAL Gators (Student Opportunities for Career, Independent, and Academic Life) is a program for UF degree-seeking students who identify as students on the autism spectrum and want to enhance their skills for a more enriching college experience. A collaborative effort between the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD), the Counseling and Wellness Center (CWC), and the Disability Resource Center (DRC), we focus on developing skills in social interaction, independent living, career seeking, and academics through the provision of four services:
About SOCIAL Gators
Degree-seeking students with autism spectrum disorder are paired with peer mentors in an effort to increase engagement in university life. The peer-mentors provide support in navigating social aspects of university life such as participating in campus life events, interacting with instructors, classmates, and roommates, and networking with research mentors and potential employers. Mentors and student participants meet monthly to set goals and reflect on progress.
Weekly Group Meetings
The weekly meetings are designed to address issues such as health and wellness, social communication, stress management, executive functioning, career seeking, and self advocacy, and more. These meetings will appear on the students class schedule upon enrollment in the SOCIAL Gators course.
Participants can receive educational learning and success strategies as well as support in the management of disability impact on academic performance. Weekly meetings with the Disability Resource Center learning specialists can keep students organized on the right track toward completion of goals.
SOCIAL Gators is offered through a section of an online course. The course is designed to help students develop skills that support a fulfilling college experience at UF.
Email SOCIAL Gators for more information at: SOCIALgators@ufsa.ufl.edu.
Applications to SOCIAL Gators will be considered complete and accepted only if the following are included:
DRC Assistant Dean/ Director
Chair and Professor, Department of Psychiatry
Student Affairs / Parent
Ernesto Escoto, Chair
CWC Director, Clinical Assistant Professor
Ritzy Luque Ettinger
CWC Case Manager
Associate Professor, Veterinary Medicine / Parent
CARD Associate Director, Research Assistant Professor
“AJ” Afzal Qureshi
CWC Associate Training Director
CWC Psych Intern
Chair and Professor, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences
Associate Professor, School of Human Development and Organizational Studies in Education
ASD Program Coordinator, College of Medicine
The DRC holds SOCIAL Gators walk-in hours on Thursdays from 3 pm – 5 pm at the Disability Resource Center in Reid Hall. Walk-in hours are open to all current SOCIAL Gators students and prospective student inquiries.