PLYMOUTH - Ancilla College in Plymouth has announced plans to launch a residential college-level autism education program. Led by Kristen Robson, currently an adjunct professor at Mercyhurst University in Pennsylvania, the program is designed for high school graduates with autism.

Robson, who is also a behavior specialist consultant at the Achievement Center in Pennsylvania, will serve as director of the program. She says developing a program for students with autism is "incredibly important."

"We have an ideal setting for a program designed to build academic and social skills for these students," said Robson. "Ancilla’s program will be aimed at providing this valuable and important student population the opportunity to become engaged students and more importantly successful members of their career and community. All students should be afforded the same opportunity to receive a college education, and Ancilla is helping to make that possible."

Ancilla says students in the program will have a guaranteed pathway to transfer to the Autism Initiative at Mercyhurst Program. The college also plans to establish similar transfer agreements at other universities.

The program was developed with the help of a grant from the Ball Brothers Venture Fund, which allowed Ancilla to begin training staff for the program. The college says the grant is the first step in its plan to create an on-campus center for autism education.