The TEACCH® School Transition to Employment and Postsecondary Education Program (T-STEP) is a FREE intervention developed to support transition to college and employment for 16-21 year old adolescents and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder who will or have received the Future-Ready Core high school diploma. This program is a collaboration between North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, TEACCH, and local community colleges. The program includes a community college class, an internship, and counseling services focused on goal setting, organization skills, professional social skills, and coping skills. During the spring and summer semesters, T-STEP has transitioned to a virtual platform and students are continuing to attend their T-STEP classes and counseling sessions through zoom. Our staff and students have quickly adapted to virtual learning and have many positive things to say! Summer semester programs are being offered at Pitt Community College and Cape Fear Community College.  Fall semester programs are being offered at A-B Tech Community College, Central Piedmont Community College, and Wake Tech Community College. For further information or to enroll your student, please contact us at TSTEPinfo@med.unc.edu or at (919) 843-9505. 

Lauren Worthy is an Autism Specialist at the Chapel Hill TEACCH Autism Center and a Clinical Instructor in the UNC Department of Psychiatry. She is a licensed occupational therapist (OT) with more than 10 years of experience working with individuals with autism and their families. 

Lauren began her career as an OT working in a local, public school system supporting students within both regular and special education settings. As a school-system OT, she specialized in providing functional motor and sensory-based interventions and classroom consultation to support student learning. With that experience, Lauren was thrilled to transition into her “dream job” as an Autism Specialist at TEACCH.

Currently, her clinical work is primarily with school-aged children and their families, providing both individual and group-based treatment. She provides individual parent-coaching sessions to support caregivers in their understanding of autism and ways to support their child. Additionally, she co-leads the GoriLLA Group (Growing, Living, and Learning with Autism), a group-based intervention targeting social and emotional regulation skills for 1st-5th grade students. Outside of her clinical role, Lauren enjoys providing training and consultation to local schools and professionals in the US. She considers it a privilege to collaborate with parents and professionals about best practices in the field of autism. 

When not at TEACCH, Lauren enjoys spending time with her husband and 5-month old daughter. Before she was sleep-deprived, Lauren enjoyed traveling, cooking, and playing boardgames with friends. 

While spending more time at home, you can still explore options. In addition to the T-STEP Program, TEACCH is part of the North Carolina Postsecondary Education Alliance (PSEA) that provides opportunities for post-high school students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The PSEA is offering several virtual opportunities for students this summer:

  1. The Heels 2 Transition Program supports transition aged individual with ID toward a fulfilling and self-empowered life including a HEELS Prep summer intensive program
  2. NC Virtual College Tour Post-Secondary Education Opportunities for students with I/DD:
  • Beyond Academics  
  • Cleveland County Community College   
  • Guilford Tech Community College  
  • APP Program  
  • WCU program 

ThinkCollege is a national organization dedicated to developing, expanding, and improving inclusive higher education options for people with intellectual disability. With a commitment to equity and excellence, Think College supports evidence-based and student-centered research and practice by generating and sharing knowledge, guiding institutional change, informing public policy, and engaging with students, professionals and families.” 

Think College Fact Sheet (downloadable PDF) 


cooking visuals

A collection of tips to help provide support to our families and provide ideas on how to support individuals with autism during times of change. The latest TEACCH tip is called: Now We’re Cooking with Visuals. This tip works great for supporting individuals with autism of all ages.

Now that many of us are spending more time indoors, cooking can be a fun activity to do together (that results in something tasty!). However, traditional recipe formats may be difficult for some individuals with autism to follow. Recipes have many steps, require exact measurements, and can include unfamiliar vocabulary. Using visual supports can help clarify important information, eliminate distractions, and provide a way to organize materials.  

Click here for more information on this tip


Caregiver/Client Corner Blog is brought to you by TEACCH’s Resource and Referral Specialists