Project CASE: Connecting Academic Success and Employment

Project Management Policies

  1. Introduction: With proper support and encouragement many young adults with autism and other developmental disabilities can graduate from higher education programs and pursue meaningful careers. Texas Tech University (TTU) and South Plains College (SPC) are committed to this proposition. Project CASE is a manifestation of that commitment and affords that support and encouragement students with disabilities may need in order to navigate and be successful in higher education.
  2. Overview: The Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research, based at TTU’s College of Education, provides services and support to individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities to improve their quality of life. The Burkhart Center has partnered with the Texas Council on Developmental Disabilities to support the Project CASE program. SPC is the third partner in the program, offering services to students seeking a two-year associate degree or a technical certificate. Additional partners in Project CASE include the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitation Services and local employers.

    Young adults, ages 18-25, who participate in Project CASE are expected to receive an academic degree from TTU or a technical certificate or associate’s degree from SPC. Students will be expected to take an academic course load that leads to graduation, but is also tailored to their abilities and needs (see form BC-CASE–01 for general information on the program).
  3. Application Requirements: Young adults, ages 18-25, wishing to apply to Project CASE must meet the following criteria:
    1. Possess a diploma from an state accredited High School, home school program, or a GED diploma;
    2. Be admitted into a participating college (currently limited to Texas Tech University and South Plains College);
    3. Have the ability to perform academically at the college level and have the ability to use basic computer programs to complete college level work;
    4. Provide documentation for a diagnosed Developmental Disability to the Student Disability Services Office at the college where they are accepted (currently limited to TTU or SPC) (see:
    5. Complete a Project CASE application, including two letters of reference and a personal interview with Project CASE staff members; (BC-CASE-02 form)
    6. Complete Project CASE’s assessment process once accepted into the program (see: the web site for information on the Birkman assessment);
    7. Agree to actively participate in Project CASE’s Wraparound Team Planning process (see Wraparound Summary paper: BC-CASE-03);
    8. Demonstrate a willingness to work with Project CASE faculty and staff as well as other university support staff (e.g. tutors, academic counselors);
    9. Agree to participate in data collection activities (surveys, questionnaires, focus groups) that will evaluate the effectiveness of Project CASE and individual student progress through their college experience;
    10. Participate in volunteer internship placements and/or business mentorships by the end of year one in Project CASE to gain job skills and work experience for resume building.
  4. Application Process: Applications may be obtained from TTU or SPC Disability Services Offices or the Project CASE Office at the Burkhart Center ONLY after:
    1. The student has received an acceptance letter from either Texas Tech University or South Plains College and,
    2. The student has been provided a letter of acceptance into the Student Disability Office from the campus of their choice.
    3. CASE applications (form BC-CASE-02) can be requested once these two steps are completed. Completed applications must be returned to the CASE office in the Burkhart Center.
    4. Once CASE application is received and reviewed by Project CASE personnel, an interview will be scheduled with the student. Often times, parents may also be interviewed to engage their support and understanding of what to expect from the Project CASE program.
    5. Upon completion of the interview, the student will be accepted into the Project CASE program or referred to another program or agency for services.
    6. Once accepted, the student will complete a Birkman assessment and an individual debriefing of the results will be scheduled with the student, the Project Director, and the Learning Specialist. Additional meetings and sharing of this information can also be shared with family members if the student requests this service.
    7. After the Birkman debriefing, the student will work with the Learning Specialist to identify members for his/her Wraparound Team. These members will be contacted and asked for strengths and challenges of the student based upon their relationship to the student.
    8. Monthly Wraparound Team meetings will be scheduled for the entire semester by the Learning Specialist with the student and Wraparound Team members.
  5. Program Calendar: Project CASE adheres to the academic calendar, including summer school at both Texas Tech and South Plains College. Interested students may apply to the program prior to the semester they wish to attend either Texas Tech or South Plains. If a student has already in attendance at either campus they must still meet the eligibility requirements to apply to the Project CASE program and coordinate their application with their campus Student Disabilities Services Office.
  6. Assessment: CASE participants are required to take a behavioral assessment that measures their strengths, interests and career possibilities. The assessment is taken online ( and results are confidential, except the information may be shared with Project CASE staff and academic support staff. The assessment costs $149 payable at the time it is taken. As soon as the participant completes the assessment he or she can immediately download their report. They will then meet with a certified consultant who will explain the results of their assessment
  7. Wraparound: All CASE students will participate in a Wraparound Team Planning process that is designed to identify and coordinate multiple resources (e.g. tutors, advisors, CASE staff) to assist the student in successfully navigating college and earning their technical certificate or academic degree. Form BC-CASE-03 explains the process in greater detail.
  8. Internship: Internships are required and will be tailored to students’ schedules and academic/career goals. Students enrolled in Project CASE will be assisted in seeking and securing internships that will enhance their academic experience, build their resumes, and prepare them for a career and competitive employment.
  9. Expulsion: Project CASE staff works in collaboration with faculty and staff from TTU and SPC to extend assistance to all students enrolled in Project CASE. To remain in the CASE Project students must:
    1. Maintain a passing grade point average;
    2. Comply with all policies and procedures of their respective academic institutions;
    3. Conduct themselves in a respectful manner in dealing with all faculty, staff, and other students involved in Project CASE; and
    4. Participate in all required Project CASE activities and meetings (e.g. internships, evaluation data collection, and Wraparound Team meetings).
  10. Inquiries: All inquiries concerning participation in Project CASE at either the TTU or SPC campuses should be submitted to the Project CASE Project Director:

    Dr. DeAnn Lechtenberger
    Director of Technical Assistance and Community Outreach
    Project CASE
    Burkhart Center
    TTU College of Education
    Box 41071
    Lubbock, TX 79409
    Phone: 806-834-0756