DSPS - Puzzle Program student group

College Autism Program (CAP)

College Autism Program (CAP) is an autism spectrum student group that was developed by DSPS counselors/staff and students in 2014. Since its inception, the group has evolved into a multifaceted support system for Golden West College (GWC) students and employees. CAP’s commitment to autistic students and the employees who assist them has been recognized by College Autism Spectrum, College Autism Network, and Great Value Colleges which all recommend GWC for autistic students.

Students in CAP have access to invaluable personalized services that enhance their scholastic and personal success. They receive individual academic, social-emotional, career, and transfer counseling, and create impactful personal connections with support staff and faculty. Students have the option to work with the same counselor from intake to graduation, receive academic coaching and case management oversight, attend workshops, and experience an array of peer mentoring and campus activities.

Peer connections are a highlight of The LOOP, a student organization within CAP. The LOOP members meet weekly with their advisor, virtually or in person, to discuss topics related to being a college student. Through The LOOP, students develop meaningful relationships with peers and support staff, which enhances their sense of belonging at GWC and in the community. 

Group photo of our students

Through CAP and related activities, GWC demonstrates campus-wide support for autistic students. The College guarantees that enrolled students do not incur costs beyond tuition for participating in CAP. Additionally, each April, GWC hosts an annual celebration of neurodiversity during Autism Spectrum Week. This week includes activities and learning opportunities for all students, faculty, staff, and administrators at GWC.

For more information about CAP, please contact Denise Gonzalez Bon at

We look forward to welcoming you into the loop!

Requirements to participate in The Loop

  1. Be a current GWC student
  2. Be enrolled at DSPS
  3. Have a current student education plan
  4. Be enrolled in at least 1 academic course at GWC


PROGRAM PERKS (in detail)

All students registered with DSPS with an Autism Spectrum diagnosis can participate in the following CAP perks. 

Academic Counseling - Students can participate in individualized academic counseling and transfer/career counseling. Also, students will have the option to meet with the same counselor throughout their academic career at GWC. All CAP students will have a comprehensive academic plan for their first semester at GWC.

Disability Management - Students have priority to meet with a counselor for any success or difficulties they are having with navigating their classes and/or the GWC campus. If needed a counselor will help facilitate conversations between students and professors/instructors and/or staff.

Learning Disability Specialist - Students who have been previously diagnosed and/or believe they have a learning disability have the opportunity to meet with our LD specialist for academic accommodations and LD testing. (Not currently available during the Pandemic)

Academic Coaching - Students have the opportunity to participate in individual academic coaching. Academic coaches help students with organization, executive functioning skills, and successful study habits.

The LOOP - Within the weekly meetings students discuss effective academic, college readiness, and life strategies. Various topics are explored through workshops, interactive games, team-building exercises, and presentations. In addition, students benefit from social interactions, peer mentoring, and shared college experiences with other GWC autistic students.

LOOP meetings are held weekly on Fridays from 10-11:30 am.  Meetings are currently held virtually.  Students can attend as many meetings/activities as they choose and can join The LOOP at any time during the semester.

In addition to regularly scheduled meetings, there are on-campus and off-campus events.

Meeting topics include: smooth transitioning from high school to college, time-management, team building, self-advocacy, autism spectrum disorder unwrapped, relationships, dating, managing stress and anxiety, social media, GWC code of conduct, LGBTQIA+, jobs, sensory sensitivities, coping through a pandemic, writing resources and many more. 

Students also have a student-run Discord group, Facebook group, and movie morning once a month.

Screenshot of The Loop during a zoom meeting

Parent Meetings - Parents are invited to attend a meeting at the beginning of the fall semester. The meeting is designed to promote student success. Moreover, parents will gain information about our program, services, and upcoming events.

Autism Ally Week - Spring semester students can participate in week-long activities that promote autism acceptance and education for all GWC students, faculty, and staff.

Content created by Delaney Buckelew

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