ECU STEPP Boot Camp

Gabrielle Robinson is a driven student. The Charlotte native has had to work harder than most to get to college. While Gabrielle is intelligent and capable of academic excellence, her auditory processing disorder causes her to learn differently from the typical student. 

"Usually I have to record things, just to have it repeated so that I can fully understand it," she said. 

Robinson's determination has her succeeding in college at East Carolina University thanks in part to the Supporting Transition and Education through Planning and Partnerships or STEPP Program, which gives students with an identified learning disability a chance to go to college. 

About 10 students are accepted each year, and ECU starts working with them during their senior year in high school. First-year ECU STEPP students arrive a week before their first classes begin to take part in a special boot camp that gets them ready for college. While at ECU the students work closely with STEPP faculty and staff. 

"It's an answer to our prayers; it truly is," said Lisa Ward, whose son, Andersen, is dyslexic. Ward said Andersen tried private school, public school and she even tried home schooling him. During his junior year of high school Ward said Andersen wanted to give up, that he just couldn't take the struggle of school anymore. Then, she said, they found out about the STEPP Program at ECU. 

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