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Here at Passages, we encourage and support those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) between the ages of 18–40, to more fully realize their potential and utilize their strengths for enriched lives through higher education, social experiences, independent living, and career guidance.


Our Vision:

Led by enthusiastic, expert teachers and peer-mentors utilizing current best-practices, the UVU Passages program empowers current and prospective students with autism-spectrum conditions to develop the awareness, skills, and supports they will need to succeed in all aspects of adult life, including: personal, academic, and social.

We Value:

  • Each individual with autism, and their potential to become independent, contributing members of society
  • Each individual's need to develop social relationships and recreational/leisure outlets
  • Each family's desire for their child with autism to have the supports and services they need to succeed
  • Each individual's rights to equal access under the law (ADA)
  • Each individual's right to be treated with respect; regardless of disability, race, creed, or ethnicity



Our classes will be held each week on Mondays and Wednesdays, with each class focusing on the skills needed to succeed in college as well as in everyday life. These classes strive to guide students in a way that encourages self-advocacy, proactivity, and aims to help them be more aware of their surroundings, themselves, and others. They focus on social opportunities, professional placement, higher education, independent living, Tuesday's activities and coursework are specifically aimed at helping students improve their social skills. Classes will improve student's social effectiveness, increase motivation to use these skill in the future, and help students make social interaction a more manageable and pleasant experience.

Monday Night Curriculum: Life Skills and Workshops

Get to Know You: Intro Activities, “What is Autism” (DSM V symptomology in adulthood)

ASD Symptoms and College: Academic Survival Tips

ASD Symptoms and College: Academic Survival Tips

ASD Symptoms and College: Wrap-up and Intro to Systems

ASD Success Systems

ASD Success Systems, Continued

Independent Living: Personal Safety Tips

Independent Living: Relationship Safety Tips and Intro to Sexuality

ASD and Sexuality

ASD Dating and Relationship Tips

Disclosure and Self Advocacy


Final Autism Class: Wrap-up, Guess-the-Success Game, and Celebration!

Wednesday Night Curriculum: Social Skills

R.E.A.C.H Assessment, Overview of Social Skills Class, Why Cross the Social Divide? - Students are introduced to overcoming their "social divides" by becoming aware of:

- Things that cause such divides

- Negative thoughts about social interactions

- Finding reasons to interact

- Taking opportunities to interact

- Seeing the need for skills that are vital to social success


Bridges We Call Relationships - Here we focus on defining what a relationship is and how they are built, strengthened, and maintained. We will begin to explore how their own needs, wants, challenges, and experiences impact relationships. Students will also consider various types of relationships and differentiate the expectations, time, work, trust, and emotional connection needed for each.


Constructing What We Feel, Say, and Do - Here we look closely at how feelings, communication, and behavior impact our relationships. Important concepts such as non-verbal communication, listening, empathy, and problem solving are introduced.


Constructing What We Feel, Say, and Do – Constructing What We Feel, Say, and Do continued. (See above.)


Non-Verbals - Non-verbals are emphasized as a critical part of communication and as a key part of relationships. We heavily focus on the importance of appropriate personal appearance as well as utilizing and understanding body language. We will also cover how to maintain proper appearance and hygiene, facial expressions, eye contact, touch, gestures, and proxemics.


Non-Verbals – Non-verbals continued. (See above)


Conversations - Students will learn how to initiate and carry on two way conversations, including how to change topics, listen actively, and take turns talking. Additionally, they will learn how to enter other's conversations, how to fix conversations when there has been a misunderstanding, and how to navigate sensitive subjects


Conversations – Conversations continued. (See above.)


Conversations – Conversations continued. (See above.)


Maintaining and Strengthening Relationships - Students will learn the importance and key skills necessary to maintain and strengthen relationships. We will emphasize skills regarding conflict resolution, giving compliments, expressing gratitude, respecting others points of view, giving and receiving feedback, and progressing relationship. Guidance regarding the use of technology in relationships is also given.


Maintaining and Strengthening Relationships – Maintaining and Strengthening Relationships continued. (See above.)


Final Social Skills Class/Party, Peer Pressure, Evaluations, Review


Toni harris

Toni Harris, MBA • Assistant Dean, College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Toni comes out of a solid business and testing/assessment background. She earned an MBA and spent eight years working as a Certification Program Manager and Test/Certification Executive Director for Thomson Prometric and Development Services Inc. This experience offered her the opportunity to develop a broad experience base in the tools and processes necessary to build, track and enhance varied cross-audience certification and training programs for companies such as HP, Adobe, Microsoft, Brocade, Google, and Citrix. Prior to working in certification, Toni spent 13 years with Covey Leadership Center working as a project manager on new books and publications. She has been at UVU since 2008 and serves as the Assistant Dean for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.





Laurie Bowen

Laurie Bowen • Coordinator

Laurie completed her Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction for Autism, with an emphasis in Board Certified Behavior Analysis from Arizona State University. She has two Bachelor's of Science degrees: one in Behavioral Science with an emphasis in Psychology from Utah Valley University, and a second in Communication Disorders from Utah State University. She also has Autism Specialized Studies Certificate through the University of California-Davis, and has been trained in Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), Floortime (DIR), Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), and Best Practices Interventions with Autism. Laurie began working with children with Autism in 2000, and is currently co-chair of the Autism Resources of Utah County Council, coordinator with the Passages program, and teaches Introduction to Autism at UVU as adjunct faculty.




Teresea Cardon

Teresa A. Cardon, PhD., CCC-SLP • Autism Consultant

Teresa has worked with individuals on the autism spectrum for over 20 years. Dr. Cardon completed her doctoral training in Speech & Hearing Science with an autism emphasis and is currently the Director of Autism Studies at Utah Valley University. Dr. Cardon has published her research on autism in peer-reviewed journals and presents at conferences both nationally and internationally.





Tracy Golden

Tracy Golden, PhD. • Primary Faculty Member

Tracy received her PhD and MSW from the University of Utah. She is a licensed, clinical mental health counselor, with expertise in adults with autism spectrum disorders as well as a general practice in other mental health issues including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and substance abuse. Tracy is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Utah Valley University. Her research interests are around the unique patterns of relating that parents develop with their children with autism. Dr. Golden has been involved in the disability field since 2004. She helped co-found Utah Families for Effective Autism Treatment and served as vice president. She is also a collaborating member of the Utah Autism Council, the State of Utah "Learn the Signs. Act Early" Team, the Maturation Work Group for Children with Developmental Disabilities, and the Utah Autism Project (a volunteer organization serving Latino families). Her interest in the Utah Act Early Program arose from her belief that parents should have opportunities for early detection in order to access early intervention. She is particularly interested in increasing identification of developmental disabilities in underserved populations.



Jared Stewart

Jared Stewart, M.Ed. • Primary Faculty Member

Jared was named the 2011 Educator of the Year by the National Association of Private Special Education Centers (NAPSEC). He is the director of education at Provo's ScenicView Academy, and an adjunct professor at UVU. After graduating Magna Cum Laude from BYU, he has spent the past decade working with adolescents and adults with autism, and has shared his views on the techniques and mindsets that lead to improved outcomes for individuals on the autism spectrum with many local and national audiences. His passion for the subject arises from personal experience: he has family members on the spectrum and has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome.



Ryan Miller, LCSW • Primary Faculty Member

Ryan Miller has worked as a social skills instructor for the UVU Passages program since it's inception. He also has worked as a psychotherapist at ScenicView Academy for over eight years. He received his bachelors in Psychology and a masters in Social Work from Brigham Young University. He provides clinical supervision to bachelor and masters level social work interns. He has presented on a local, state, and national level on topics such as: transition planning, tools for working with adults with Autism, changing entrenched behaviors, social skills, and sensory processing disorders. He coauthored, along with other ScenicView staff, a quick reference guide for social skills entitled, "Why Is It So Hard to Make Friends?" He enjoys sports, games, recreational activities, reading, and spending time with his family.

Brandon Condie, CMHC, BCBA: Primary Faculty Member

Brandon has been working in the field of Autism, behavior analysis and clinical psychology for over 10 years.  He acquired his undergraduate degree at the University of Utah, and his graduate degree from Pacific University in Portland, Oregon. Within the field of behavior analysis, he has worked closely with those dealing with intellectual disabilities ranging from a mild to severe diagnoses, and those individuals and families with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Experience in clinical psychology has ranged from depression, and anxieties (e.g., social anxiety, OCD, phobias, fears), to vocational performance, and collegiate athletics. Brandon co-chairs a committee aimed at centralizing resources for families dealing with Autism. He has presented at the Utah Valley University (UVU) Conference on Autism and sits on the UVU Autism Conference Committee. Brandon currently runs his own practice with ABA and clinical mental health services and acts as adjunct faculty for the Passages Program at UVU.  

Jessica Shephard, Recreational Therapist • Primary Faculty

Jessica Shepherd graduated from BYU with a degree in Recreation Management and Youth Leadership with an emphasis in Therapeutic Recreation and is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS). She currently works with adults on the autism spectrum using experiential learning activities to teach social skills. Jessica facilitates meaningful experiential activities that allows individuals to learn life.


Meera Andersen

Meera Andersen • Student Assistant

Meera Andersen is currently a student at UVU and is working toward becoming an Occupational Therapist. She loves helping people in anyway she can, and strives to make the lives of those around her better. Meera has a strong love for the outdoors, and enjoys rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, and being with friends and family.





Kari Bushman

Kari Bushman • Passages Ally

Kari Bushman is a non-traditional UVU student majoring in Speech Communication with a minor in Autism Studies. Kari has worked for almost 20 years as a Radio and event DJ and loves social media, music, singing, people and parties! She has a passion for working with teenagers and adults on the Autism Spectrum. She has also worked as a Life Skills aide at the Junior High level for 5 years, and has served as a volunteer for both the Alpine School District and Scenic View Academy working with ASD students. As a Senior at UVU, Kari looks forward to graduation (next spring) and to working as an advocate and mentor for teenagers and adults with Autism.












Toni Harris • Assistant Dean, UVU College of Humanities & Social Sciences Phone: 801-863-6816

Laurie Bowen • Coordinator Phone: 801-885-8265

Tracy Golden • Primary Faculty Member Phone: 801-863-7535

Jared Steward • Primary Faculty Member Phone: 801-342-3436

Ryan Miller • Primary Faculty Member Phone 801-342-3422

Brandon Condie • Primary Faculty Member

Jessica Shepherd • Primary Faculty Member

Teresa Cardon • Autism Consultant Phone: 801-863-5517

Meera Andersen • Student Assistant

Kari Bushman • Student Assistant Phone: 801-641-3711