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  • Writer's pictureKatie Vahey Gaebler

Partnership with Untapped Learning

AutismNERD is proud to announce partnership with Untapped Learning, a community resource focused on supporting middle schoolers through college aged students with their academic organization and life planning, encompassed in Executive Functioning (EF) skills. Katie first connected with Untapped Learning through their founder, Brandon Slade, on LinkedIn. The Untapped mission is “to help students tap into their potential”. They value prioritizing students, the process of learning, empathy, relationships, accountability, and continual learning. Untapped provides student mentoring for middle school and high school students, and this past year has grown in supporting college students across the United States. At any grade level, students are paired with a personalized mentor who assists with the development of executive functioning skills and creation of academic plans. Katie is grateful for this community resource for her 10 year old, Bryson, as he prepares to transition into middle school. As of this year, Untapped now also provides college coaching for their older students. College students from all around the US are able to access these resources remotely through online meetings and phone calls, where the middle and high school program is primarily local and in person. Untapped focuses on the process of learning rather than the products. Through this, they are able to provide their students with the skills they need to be successful in and outside of the classroom.

After an initial networking Zoom call, Katie was able to meet the team in person. Brandon then asked for her assistance in building their college programs, given Katie's specialties and background advising students at local colleges including CU-Boulder and CO School of Mines. Their approach focuses on improving EF through personalized mentorship, weekly meetings, and academic plans. Students are able to connect with mentors in person or virtually, as clients attend universities across the US. Untapped is a consistent source of accountability for wherever a student attends post-secondary education, and regardless of college major. Each student-mentor relationship is tailored to the student's specific needs and mentors are paired with students based upon personality and learning style. Mentors stay in contact with students throughout the week for check-ins via phone, text and email. 82% of students connected with Untapped have seen GPA improvements after one semester. In separate research studies with both Untapped and CU-Boulder's Academic Advising division, students who use an advisor or mentor to plan and execute academic progress can see up to a full letter grade of improvement in final term grades (advancement of a full GPA point compared to students who do not use an academic mentor/advisor).

As a college student myself, I can see first hand the importance of organization and accountability. Untapped Learning provides both. Many time management and EF skills are not taught in the classroom but students are expected to hone these skills on their own. Because of this, it can be a critical component of academic success to seek external support for building these skills. Although necessary, academic planning- and many EF skills- are challenging for most students, especially those identifying as neurodivergent. The ability to organize and manage time effectively is a skill students will utilize in and outside of the classroom, extending to the workplace, and throughout life. Untapped Learning is committed to guiding students on this path of academic planning and success, supporting students to stay on track with how to-do life management. Essential support so many of us could use.

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