The Melisa Nellesen Center for Autism at Utah Valley University

In addition to helping Utah County residents find and connect with social support organizations in general, we also want to feature new and different social programs that stand to benefit the community and its members. One Orem organization that recently came across our radar is The Melisa Nellesen Center for Autism at Utah Valley University, also known locally as The UVU Autism Center.



UVU Autism Center Resources

The Center provides an integrated services program with case management and care coordination. In collaboration with the Alpine School District, the Center also offers two demonstration classrooms using best practices from evidence-based curriculum and classroom management techniques. They work diligently toward better community education and involvement.


Summer Programs

The Melisa Nellesen Center for Autism also partners with various community organizations to host summer programs at Utah Valley University. Specifically, communities that provide program staffing, materials, supervision, and collect program fees can solicit help from the UVU Autism Center for arranging a location on campus, marketing the program to relevant audiences, promoting the program to potential student volunteers, and a one-time “What is autism?” education session.


The Passages Program

This is the one that really caught our attention and the attention of many parents with autistic children. The Passages Program creates opportunities for individuals with high-functioning autism to take higher education classes, career guidance, independent living, and social experiences—a typical college experience at Utah Valley University in other words. It’s also an invaluable resource for qualifying individuals who might other be facing “The Services Cliff”—or the drop off in social services offered to people with autism as they enter adulthood.

Many parents in Utah are looking around at strained social resources and a growing number of people with autism. They’re growing increasingly worried about what support services will be available to their family. The UVU Autism Center is trying to buck this trend and offer new programs and expanded community education and outreach.




Author: Ellen Richards