Dr. Laurie Ackles currently serves as the Director for the Spectrum Support Program (SSP) at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY and manages RIT’s Neurodiverse Hiring Initiative.
The Spectrum Support Program is a leader in supporting college student with autism. The SSP was founded in 2008 to support the unique needs of a growing population of autistic students at RIT. Under Ackles leadership, SSP has been a trailblazer in supporting the academic success of autistic students while also leading the way in helping students prepare for successful employment after graduation. SSP’s Neurodiverse Hiring Initiative, begun in 2017, is focused on helping students meet RIT’s cooperative education requirements as well as working to create a pipeline that connects talented students with employers seeking diverse talent. Ackles serves on the advisory board of MITRE Corporation’s Neurodiverse Federal Workforce Project and serves as an advisor to Untapped Group, an Australian based organization that is focused on creating a sustainable neurodiverse employment ecosystem. Ackles serves as a professional consultant with College Autism Spectrum, an independent organization of professionals whose purpose is to assist students with autism and their families. Ackles’ research interests are in working to integrate evidence-based, trauma-informed practices and implementation science principles into supports and programming for autistic college students and job seekers. Dr. Ackles speaks nationally and has authored several publications.