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. NUANCE’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 NUANCE@mtsac.edu for an intake appointment or call the ACCESS Department at 909-274-4290 for an appointment, or any questions about our program.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
By appointment only
Building 9B, 9E