The IUP Labyrinth
Center, located in the College of Education and Educational Technology,
welcomed colleagues from Clemson University on March 15, 2017, to share their
The IUP Labyrinth Center was created during the spring
semester of 2016 to support the growing number of students at IUP admitted with
Autism Spectrum Disorder. Co-directors Joann Migyanka and Becky
Knickelbein created the program that includes four separate components designed
to meet the needs of our students with ASD.
Colleges and universities across
the country are recognizing that the services available to all students with
disabilities are not sufficient to meet the needs of students with ASD, even
though they possess strong academic abilities. There are currently 41 programs
nation-wide, and IUP is one of four universities in the Pennsylvania State
System of Higher Education system to offer these support services.
Labyrinth Center currently offers students a credit-bearing seminar course each
semester, supervised study hours, weekly academic and life coaching, and
peer and faculty mentoring. IUP’s peer mentors are trained specifically to be
able to assist the students in the Labyrinth Center.
This spring, Clemson University reached out to IUP’s
Labyrinth Center to learn more about their success. Representatives from
Clemson included Stephen Lance, executive director of the Clemson Youth
Learning Institute Headquarters and Educational Center; William Edwards,
director of the Center for Behavior Analysis; and Margaret Camp, director of
the Office for Student Accessibility Services. The purpose of their visit to IUP was to meet with
Labyrinth co-directors to learn about the program components and the process of
starting a new support center on their campus.
The group discussed the logistics
of getting a center operational and the philosophy behind IUP’s center. Knickelbein
and Migyanka shared the Labyrinth design and their experiences over the past one and a half years working to address the needs of our students with the ultimate goal of providing
them independence and success at IUP.
The group from Clemson is planning to continue communication with the Labyrinth Center as they go through their own developmental
stages, and Clemson has invited Migyanka and Knickelbein to visit the Clemson
campus as their planning proceeds.