The Passages program is a series of classes and activities that occur every semester on campus at UVU. Classes are generally held on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and Saturday social activities usually are scheduled every other week. 


Fall 2020

Fall Passages Classes will be held online on Monday and Wednesday for one hour in the evening, between 5:30 to 7:30.  Times will be determined at time of admittance.  
Application deadline is: August 31, 2020.  
All applicants will be contacted via email or phone based on applicant contact information in early September for interviews. 
Classes will be held from September 28 to November 18. 
Contact Laurie Bowen at 801-863-8759 or with questions. 
Spring enrollment dates are To Be Determined. 


Additional Information:

Please fill out the application to be considered as a student. Due to the high number of applicants, you will be contacted for an appointment for an interview once open enrollment concludes.

Interviews for all qualified applicants will be scheduled.


Passages Application



  • We encourage and support those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) between the ages of 18 to 40 to more fully realize their potential and utilize their strengths through higher education, social experiences, independent living and career guidance.


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


  • Each individual with autism and his or her potential to become an independent, contributing member 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 he or she needs to succeed.
  • Each individual’s right to equal access under the law (ADA).
  • Each individual’s right to be treated with respect, regardless of disability, race, creed or ethnicity.


  • The National Autism Indicators Report (2015, p. 25) shows that every type of service for individuals on the autism spectrum decreased in frequency between adolescence and adulthood, including speech language therapy, personal assistance, social work, case management, transportation, occupational or life skills, psychological or mental health support, respite care, diagnostic and medical services, assistive technology and physical therapy.

    While not all individuals with ASD require the same degree of support from high school to adulthood, there is a significant drop in services offered after adulthood, which is recognized as “The Services Cliff.”


  • We seek to assist students with a series of supports designed to promote smooth transition and independence in adulthood by progressive layers of support.


  • Self-management
  • Self-monitoring
  • Video modeling
  • Task analysis
  • Visual supports



- Serve as an ally for others

- Access choice of services as needed


- Workshops/labs with practical application focus

- Social skills lab

- Saturday activity planning and participation

- Guide support as needed


- Introduction to transitional life skills

- Social skills class

- Parent classes

- Saturday activity participation

- Regular guidance meetings with an ally


All students are provided with a strong foundation of support upon entrance into Passages, including the following:

1. Lecture-based classes focused on the top areas of transition, including Autism in Adulthood, Autism and Systems for Success; Self-Determination; School Success; Independent Living Success; Social Success; and Relationships and Dating.

2. Experiential classes filled with role playing, interactive games and activities designed to increase confidence and understanding through practical application with other students.

3. Activities designed around student interests and motivations to assist in the initiation and establishment of social relationships.

4. Support for parents in a classroom setting on topics determined by the class.

5. Access to enhanced support from social work interns to work on individualized goals and unique needs.


Continuing students experience the following:

1. Workshops jointly taught and designed by students and faculty.  Students share their strengths and experiences with each other through presentations and activities of their choosing.  Topics are decided the first week of class.

2. A social lab that is similar to the workshop where students contribute to curriculum and weekly topics.  Problem solving together the unique experiences students face in daily life is often the focus of the discussion.

3. Opportunities to become a classroom ally for incoming students.  Leadership skills are developed through classroom opportunities to help one another become more comfortable and engaged while in attendance.

4. Activities outside the classroom which encourage students to further develop social connections initiated in the classroom.

We recognize each person has unique needs and strengths and that the transition into adulthood requires the development of skills in a wide array of areas.  Passages is designed to increase confidence, awareness and skills requisite for progressive independence. 

Classes run for 8 weeks around second block each semester.  Classes are usually Monday and Wednesday evenings from 5:30 to 7:30. There are also four  Saturday activities scheduled throughout the semester.

Cost is $300 per semester.  Email with any questions. 




“It has always been my goal to go to college at UVU and get the knowledge I need for a career, but there are extra challenges I face because of my autism.”

“This program can help me with study skills and ways of communicating with my instructors and peers. It can help me with independent living skills like budgeting, so I can live on my own. I want to have better social skills that will help me with friends and dating.”

“I want to go to college and have a great experience more than anything. I’m excited that this program can help me in all the areas of life where I struggle.”

“Thank you for this program. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to make new friends. I have learned a lot about myself and others who share my disability. I have also learned about those without disabilities. This program gives me a sense of belonging and it lets me know I am not the only one with autism. It has also taught me how others may perceive my actions. The activities we’ve done in class are fun and allow me to get to know others better, too. I have also learned social manners and how to respond to certain social situations. I hope the program continues.”


Laurie Bowen • M.Ed, BCBA

Passages Program Director

Laurie currently serves as director of community services for the Melisa Nellesen Center for Autism at UVU. One of her responsibilities is overseeing the Passages program on campus. Laurie has been working in the autism community for over 17 years and has learned the most significant lessons from the families and individuals she has been privileged to work with.

Jared Stewart • M.Ed

Passages Faculty

Jared is the director of education at ScenicView Academy and an adjunct professor at UVU. He’s shared his views on the techniques and mindsets that lead to improved outcomes for individuals with ASD 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.


Jessica Shepherd • CTRS

Passages Faculty

Jessica graduated from BYU with a bachelor’s degree in recreation management and youth leadership with an emphasis in therapeutic recreation and is a certified therapeutic recreation specialist. She currently works with adults on the autism spectrum using experiential learning activities to teach social skills.


Note: For assistance with academic advising, contact Allison Hurst between 9am and 6pm.  801 863-8425,

Accessibility Services

The Accessibility Services Department is committed to helping students with disabilities receive reasonable accommodations during their college experience at UVU. We provide a variety of services as well as software and equipment for students with a wide range of disabilities. Come in and see how we can help you achieve your best!


Accessibility Services Department