MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Learning where you fit in as a college student with Autism Spectrum Disorder has become a little less difficult because of one driven mother with an all in mentality.
"As a recent graduate of CBU, I was on campus a lot noticing groups of students that would hang out together and knowing that my son was going to be entering CBU...I thought where is he going to fit in?" Kim Jameson said.
That question,combined with the desire to create a place of inclusion at CBU for her son, Joseph, grew into a mission to help other college bound students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) transition from high school to college and from college to the workforce.
"So STARS is a combination of students on the spectrum and students that are their peers that serve as he leaders, and serve as friends and help them along," Jameson said.
Jameson, who is the parent advocate and founder of Students Tackling Autism Related Syndromes (STARS), quit her job as a florist to dedicate 100 percent of her time to assist a growing number of college students with ASD. The rates for children with Autism has increased over the past two decades to 1 in 36 but some experts believe that number will be 1 in 20 by 2020.
"And that's when I had to dedicate a lot of time to doing research and visiting other universities and find out how they're doing things. There aren't a lot of universities out there that do this, but there are some. So, a part of our mission is to see what other universities are doing right? And how we can be a part of that," Jameson said.
This is in addition to stimulating students creative sides with gardening, singing, playing musical instruments or doing impressions.
"We will be having workshops now. We are going to have career services help us once a month with the workshop. We are also pulling in a meditation workshop as well," she said. "Joseph, honestly, would not have made it past two weeks at CBU without STARS."
Kim Jameson, thank you for your outstanding leadership and making a future brighter for our community.You are our Mid-South Hero!
If you know someone deserving of the title Mid-South Hero, nominate them here.