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California State University, Long Beach
Disabled Student Services. Autism Services
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Autism Services

LIFE Project

LIFE Project Logo

The LIFE Project (Learning Independence for Empowerment), developed in 2009, is for students with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Asperger Syndrome, or other social-cognitive deficit. Within this program, students participate in workshops, presentations, and projects as well as participate in interactive games, eat lunch, and socialize. This program is run by the Autism Specialist at Disabled Student Services at CSULB and other experienced professionals. During the LIFE Project meetings, students work on social interactions, time management, and fine tune self-governing abilities to navigate the campus more efficiently as well as learn skills needed for careers. The program promotes independence and autonomy through social interactions, coaching and role-play. There is no fee for students to participate in this program through Disabled Student Services.

LIFE Project Brochure

Program Components

Peer coaching- Students from various majors apply as interns to work with students that have autism on social and communication goals one or twice a week.

Friday workshops- Students attend workshops every Friday that consist of the topics below presented by the interns. RSVP is required every week as free lunch is offered to the members of the program.

Parent seminars- Parents are invited to attend a seminar once a semester in the evenings that will provide more information on the program as well as tools that they can use in supporting their son or daughter's success in college. At this time, they also have the opportunity to meet the peer coach and discuss any goals they have for their son or daughter.

LIFE Project Workshop Topics

  • Navigating the campus - socializing with peers and talking to professors (self-advocacy)
  • Having conversations and listening to others
  • Understanding the importance of how other's think (Theory of Mind)
  • Learning to change your behavior based upon other's reactions
  • Friendship - Deciding who to choose as a friend, how to maintain friendships, and how to handle disagreements
  • Dating - How to recognize if someone is interested in you, how to make or accept an initial approach, dealing with sexuality and sexual issues
  • Grooming and Hygiene
  • Job Skills - Searching for jobs, going on interviews, dressing for work, skills needed to keep a job
  • Money management skills
  • Independent living skills
  • Compromising and flexibility
  • Handling frustration, anger and anxiety

Social Integration Seminars

New to our program, we have a social integration group that meets on Friday evenings. If you would like to read more about it, please click on the flyer below. Also note, you must RSVP to attend the event. See the flyer for details.

Social Integration Seminar Flyer

Faculty and Staff

Autism Ally Logo

Autism Ally

During the summer, we will hold another Autism Ally on a Friday TBA from 8am-noon for faculty and staff on the CSULB campus to train the campus community on working with students on the Autism Spectrum (ASD). Topics covered will include current DSM-5 definitions of ASD, typical student profiles, student panel, concepts of Universal Design for Learning, handling classroom distractions and referring students for services. Space is limited, RSVP to

Student Information

Internship Opportunities

Nicole Smith, M.Ed
Autism Specialist

Location: Brotman Hall, Room 270A
Phone: (562) 985-1675
Fax: (562) 985-7183

Mike Phu
Autism Services Assistant


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