The Spectrum Education Center offers many opportunities for undergraduates to gain experience in autism intervention and advocacy. Whether it’s through the immersive, semester-long Spectrum Program or weekly peer mentoring, there is a variety of ways to get involved!
Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism
The Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism (CCCA) Internship is an opportunity for students of any major at the University of Mount Union who have an interest in autism and would like the gaining first-hand experience working with children, young adults and adults with autism spectrum disorder. The CCCA Internship is an 8 to 10-week internship during the summer and is open to freshmen, sophomores and juniors. Those who are in positions that involve children work directly with the children after training. While there is always direct supervision, the work is very hands-on with students implementing instruction and behavior plans for the children.
Students from all majors are eligible for participation in the CCCA Internship during the summer after their freshman through junior year. Graduating seniors are not eligible for participation. The internship lasts eight to 10 weeks, depending on the position.
Students are required to complete an application that asks about experience and interest, and then selected students are interviewed for the internship positions. Prior to beginning work as a student-intern, students receive one to two weeks of training. Those who are in positions that involve children work directly with the children after training. While there is always direct supervision, work is very hands-on, with students implementing instruction and behavior plans for the children.
There are four types of internship positions:
- SPIES Summer Camp: Interns work as behavioral coaches at an outdoor local summer camp (Hiram House or Nature Camp locations) with children with autism spectrum disorder. The coaches receive intensive training during orientation on social thinking curriculum at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism to implement with the students in the camp program.
- Classroom: Interns work directly with children ages 18 months through 22 years old in a classroom setting serving as a behavioral coach. They work on implementing the child’s treatment and behavioral plan through teaching academic skills, self-help skills, etc.
- Research: Interns work on current research projects at the CCCA include collecting yearly assessment data, compiling IEP (Individualized Education Program) data for former and current students and examining the genetics, brain structure and thinking skills of individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Responsibilities include data entry for a variety of autism and functional assessment tools, assistance with database creation and data analysis.
- Administrative/Business: Interns complete work that focuses on compliance with various regulatory agencies, assist in the planning of an annual training event and record maintenance.
About 75% of students who completed an internship at the CCCA now work in a field related to autism intervention. Currently, there are four former interns working full-time at the CCCA.
“Interning at The Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism was one of the most influential and rewarding experiences I've ever had when it comes to thinking about my future. During this experience, I learned so many things about myself and I found a new passion for something that I didn't have before. I learned that I have more patience than I realized and that I truly love helping and watching children with mental illnesses grow. Like with anything in life, there were of course bad days, but the good days always outweighed the bad. I came away from the experience with a lot of love for the children and people who I had the pleasure of meeting there.”
– Marianna White ‘16