New program for students with developmental disabilities a go at LSUA

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This article was published on KALB by Kailey McCarthy on July 22, 2021.

ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) – A new program for young people with developmental disabilities is officially a go at LSUA.

The program is being funded by a grant award of $126,000 from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation and private donations worth $50,000.

SPERO, Special Program for Enhancement of Resources and Opportunities, will launch in the fall of 2022 on LSUA’s campus. The university will begin taking applications this upcoming spring. The program will be for students 18 to 28 who have completed high school but are ineligible for regular college admission and have an identified developmental disability.

Faculty say SPERO, which means “I hope” in Latin, will teach students life skills so they can live more independently and find employment.

“These students are ineligible for regular college admission, but they still have a lot of potential. They can still learn and develop new skills. So during the program, we’ll be focusing on developing their daily living skills, we want them to be able to live more independently. We’ll focus on developing interpersonal and social skills and also employment skills so that at the end of the program, they will be eligible for paid employment to their communities,” said Eamon Halpin, LSUA Vice Provost and Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

Although these students won’t be residents on campus, they will be invited to participate in campus activities.

For more information about the program, you can visit here or here. The university is also still raising funds for the program. If you’d like to donate, you can visit here.

You can also email Halpin at, or contact him at 318-767-2603.