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
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
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.