1. Do I need to be a University of Maryland student to participate in SIGNA?
Yes. All SIGNA members must be currently enrolled as University of Maryland students. Please note, some members begin SIGNA as a freshman while others start later in their college years. We recommend SIGNA members begin in the fall of freshman year so that adjustment to college life runs more smoothly.
2. What days and times does SIGNA meet?
First year SIGNA and SIGNA Launch groups meet weekly on Friday afternoons in LeFrak Hall on University of Maryland's campus throughout the fall and spring semesters through the Hearing and Speech Sciences Clinic. Individual times with Communication Coaches and Peer Mentors are scheduled around the members’ and coaches' schedule. Social outings with Peer Coaches are scheduled 1-2 times per month each semester at various times, but mostly weekday afternoons and evenings and, sometimes weekends. A poll is taken to see what days/times are most popular so that as many people can attend.
3. Do I have to pay to participate in SIGNA? If so, do you take insurance?
Yes, there is a cost to participate in SIGNA and SIGNA Launch. Please see the COST page for more information.
4. Do you take insurance?
No, we do not participate with any insurer, including Medicaid and Medicare. Payment is due at the beginning of the program. Payment plans are possible at the request of the SIGNA member. Some insurance plans may reimburse for our speech-language pathology services and we can provide a summary of the individual and group sessions attended and billing codes. We cannot guarantee that the member will be eligible for coverage or reimbursement from them. Please contact your insurance company to verify benefits and reimbursement rates. Some families use their Flexible Spending Account benefits to cover the out-of-pocket health care costs.
Additionally, some parents living in Maryland have reported that the Maryland State Department of Education Department of Rehabilitative Services (DORS) may help fund their student's participation in SIGNA. The Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences (in which SIGNA is a part of) has recently been added as a DORS vendor.
Here click to be directed to the DORS website:
5. What is included in the fees?
SIGNA members receive:
- Initial evaluation, therapy plan reports, and progress reports
- Individual sessions
- Group Sessions
- Peer Mentor Check ins (first years only)
- Extracurricular activities (social outings, professional development)
Initial evaluation and progress reports
- Each semester, participating SIGNA students will receive 2 formal written reports: An initial communication plan and progress report written and implemented by the member's 1-on-1 Communication Coach.
- Participating SIGNA members will be assigned a 1-on-1 Communication Coach who is a HESP M.A. graduate student. The member will work individually on a weekly basis for two 45-minute or 1 90-minute session with the Communication Coach on personal goals. These may be related to social interaction, executive functioning and/or other communication skills. This individual time will begin the end of September and continue through early December for the fall terms and begin early February and continue through early May for the spring terms.
- SIGNA groups begin at the end of September through early December for the fall terms and begin early February through early May for the spring term.
- First year SIGNA group sessions are led by UMD undergraduate students called Peer Coaches and meets weekly. First year SIGNA group follows the evidence-based PEERS® Young Adult curriculum developed at UCLA and several HESP faculty are certified providers. For more information, see: http://www2.semel.ucla.edu/peers
- Second year SIGNA Launch group sessions are led by HESP graduate students and meets weekly. SIGNA Launch follows the RealCareer™ Employability Skills Program. This program uses hands-on activities as well as real-world applications to teach soft skills, from communication and interpersonal skills to time management and responsibility.
- Each semester, 3-4 social and professional events will be planned with the SIGNA members and Peer Coaches. Peer Mentors and other UMD college students may join these social events as well. Participation in these events (as schedules permit) is strongly encouraged as this allows the member to develop friendships, practice newly-learned skills and to stay connected with other college students.
6. How do I register for SIGNA?
The prospective SIGNA member will need to fill out a SIGNA application/case history form with the Department of Hearing and Speech Clinic. To receive the form, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. Can I be a part of SIGNA if I do not have Autism?
Yes, we do accept students who would like to be a part of SIGNA who do not have ASD. Anyone who has indicated difficulties with social interaction and/or executive functioning skills is able to participate in the SIGNA programs.