Nuance Team
Nuance Group Photo 2023
Nuance Event
ACCESS Group Photo
Puzzle Project Signs
Puzzle Project Sign Displays
ACCESS Student Writes on an Eraseboard

What is NUANCE (Puzzle Project)?

NUANCE (Neurodiversity Unique Autistic (students) iN College Education) is a series of workshops for Mt. SAC credit students who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). During these workshops, you will learn a variety of skills that can be applied to daily life.

The Mission of NUANCE is to improve your social language, social interaction and its appropriate use; executive function (initiation, planning, organization, execution, and self-regulation), and control of appropriate and inappropriate behaviors in order to facilitate positive educational outcomes to help you accomplish your academic and career goals.

Peer Mentors will meet with you twice weekly to focus on applying social skills, time management and organizational strategies, utilize campus resources, and stay on track to meet your academic goals.

Research based model

NUANCE, formerly Puzzle Project, was created based on the UCLA Program Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS) model by Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson. NUANCEā€™s professional staff are PEERS certified and teach from the book PEERS for Young Adults


NUANCE was established in 2014 by Dr. Christopher Walker, Speech Pathologist at Disabled Student Programs & Services (DSP&S) at Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. Sac). After his retirement, the program continued to grow and flourish, and has served 55 students since then. 

Winter 2024: We are currently in our Winter semester for the program. If you would like to be added to our Spring 2024 referral list please contact us via email at for an intake appointment or call the ACCESS Department at 909-274-4290 for an appointment, or any questions about our program.

Information Sessions:

We will host info sessions between semesters in the winter (January/February) and summer (June/July). Typically we host on campus and on Zoom. Parents and students are encouraged to attend.


Featured Events
NUANCE class and staff
Access Workshop
NUANCE is a series of 14 weekly workshops Friday from 11-12:30 PM in the major semesters. NUANCE is ungraded, but ability to continue within the program is contingent on: enrolled in one or more academic credit classes, performance, growth, participation with mentors, and class participation.
End of Year Celebration
Peer Mentors
NUANCE students meet twice weekly on a consistent, agreed schedule with their peer mentors outside of the class schedule. Sessions will consist of academic and social skills practice on specific goals set with the instructors. Peer mentors are not tutors.
Case Management
Case Management
Once a week each peer mentor will meet in training sessions to discuss the weekly peer mentor sessions. The instructors will provide guidance to reach goals and suggestions for rehearsal of learned skills. Any referrals will occur during this time.

Our Professors

  • Heather Ponce MS, CCC-SLP
    Instructor of NUANCE, ACCESS Professor, Speech-Language Pathologist

  • Elizabeth Hernandez M ED
    Instructor of NUANCE    ACCESS Professor and Academic Counselor
  • Diana Chou Psy. D.
    Behavioral Consultant  for NUANCE, Clinical Psychologist

Puzzle Project Team

  • Ana Sanchez, OTD, OTR/L
    Occupational Therapist, Student Health Services, NUANCE Guest Lecturer & Consultant

  • Piper Szeliga  NUANCE Assistant

ACCESS Department

By appointment only
Building 9B, 9E
(909) 274-4290

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