Hussman Center for Adults with Autism

The Hussman Center for Adults with Autism focuses on supporting inclusive communities for adults with autism by providing adults with autism and Towson University students with opportunities to engage in activities together in a mutually rewarding learning environment. 

We offer two primary types of programs:  Group programs with Towson University that include interaction with Towson University students and an individualized program for Towson University students with autism. 

Our group-based programs are led by professional staff and include activities of interest and importance to adults on the autism spectrum.  These programs support enhancement of skills in social communication, self-advocacy, planning and executing tasks/activities, problem-solving, and collaboration with others while respecting neurodiversity. All programs include similar numbers of participants with autism and Towson University undergraduate and/or graduate students.  In each Hussman Center program session a variety of experiences are offered such as fitness, dance/creative movement, and wellness classes; arts-based workshops; various social communication and social activities groups; cooking and preparation for independent living classes; and work exploration activities. Many participants note an increase in social interaction skills, well-being, and community involvement associated with completing our programs.

Our College Orientation & Life Activities (COLA) Program is coordinated by a Hussman Center staff member. This program is designed for degree or non-degree seeking Towson University students who are on the autism spectrum and provides support in planning for success as a college student. Each student in this program has weekly meetings with a professional staff member and engages in weekly meetings and/or activities with a Towson University student peer mentor.

The Hussman Center also supports research about our innovative program model and sharing of this model with other universities, professional groups, and community organizations. The Hussman Center’s model demonstrates how inclusive programs with a focus on presuming competence, honoring neurodiversity, and mutual engagement with peers can provide substantial value to adults with autism. In addition, engagement in this model has a significant impact on student peers who learn about autism from individuals with autism. Students develop an awareness of the importance of diversity in society and frequently express an investment in supporting community integration of individuals with autism.

The Hussman Center for Adults with Autism  also offers a Social Group for adults with autism and Towson University students on pre-scheduled Friday evenings during the academic calendar year.

Towson University student involvement at the Hussman Center

More than 200 Towson University students a year are involved in learning experiences in programs and Social Groups at the Hussman Center for Adults with Autism. Students learn to interact with adults with autism as peers and members of the community.  Students in professional preparation programs learn best practices for working with adults with autism. Students who participate in these programs report this being a life-changing experience. They often decide to go on to careers working in the field with individuals with autism.   Many report key ways that they can support more inclusive communities and  help advocate for more accepting workplaces.