LSUA’s SPERO program aims to bring hope to the lives of young people with developmental disabilities—by providing them with the resources and opportunities that will help them lead more independent lives and take up meaningful and rewarding employment in their communities.
What will students in the program do?
Students enrolled in the program will
- audit some college-level classes;
- take special program classes designed to improve their daily living skills, interpersonal skills, and employment skills;
- participate in on-campus events and activities; and
- receive vocational (work) training either on campus or at approved off-campus venues.
Who can enroll in the program?
The program will be open to young people between the ages of 18 and 28 who
- have an identified developmental disability;
- have completed high school with a high-school diploma, career diploma, certificate of achievement or equivalent;
- and are ineligible for regular college admission.
An application form, with a complete list of eligibility requirements, is currently under developement and will be posted on this website prior to the launch of the program.
When will the SPERO program be launched?
LSUA hopes to launch the program in Fall 2021. To do so and to sustain the program during its first 18 months, however, will require substantial funding, a good part of which will be used to hire qualified personnel to run the program. Several grant applications have already been submitted, and the program’s Steering Committee is seeking other opportunities for program funding from foundations and community organizations.
Can individuals contribute financially to support the development of the SPERO program?
Yes. LSUA welcomes donations to the SPERO program from individuals in the community. To make a donation, click on the Donate to SPERO button provided below:
Clicking on the button will take you to the LSUA Foundation website, where you will have the option of making either a $250 donation or any amount greater or less than $250. Please be as generous as you can as the planned implementation of the SPERO program will depend on the availability of substantial private funding.
Why is LSUA developing the Spero program?
LSUA was approached by parents from the CENLA community about the possibility of offering a program of this kind on the campus. We learned from them that currently no program exists north of I-10 although three programs are offered on four-year college campuses in the southern part of the state.
Is there community support for the program?
An open meeting of parents and community members interested in learning about and contributing to the SPERO program was held on the LSUA campus on August 4, 2020. Almost 50 people attended and expressed strong support for the development of the program. A SPERO Facebook page, which now has about 133 followers, was launched to coincide with the open meeting.
Who are the members of the Spero Steering Committee?
- Dr. Eamon Halpin, Committee Chair, Vice Provost and Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, LSUA
- Dr. John Rowan, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, LSUA
- Dr. Robert Wright, Professor of Psychology; Board Member of Louisiana Autism Center
- Dr. Jon Haag, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Director of Louisiana Autism Center
- Ms. Lakeshia Williams, Director of LSUA Continuing Education and Community Outreach
- Mr. Daniel Manuel, Coordinator of Disability Services, LSUA
- Mrs. Penny Smith, Parent and Community Member
- Mrs. Melva Villard, Parent and Community Member
Whom can I contact to obtain more information about SPERO program?
Dr. Eamon Halpin, Chair of SPERO Steering Committee; Tel: (318) 767-2603; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spero means “I hope” in Latin.