November 16, 2010

More colleges welcome students with intellectual disabilities

From AP/Boston Herald:
While college programs for students with intellectual disabilities were almost nonexistent as recently as a decade ago, there are now more than 250 of them spread across campuses in more than three dozen states and two Canadian provinces.

Experts say the change has come about in response to demand from the first generation of students with disabilities who got full access to education in their local school districts, a right guaranteed under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

New federal funding rules, which will allow students with intellectual disabilities to receive grants and work-study money, are expected to prompt the creation of even more programs.

Vanderbilt enrolls students with intellectual disabilities
 From the [Nashville] Tenneseean:
 A post-secondary program at Vanderbilt University has opened the door to college for eleven students with intellectual disabilities. Officials hope the Next Step program, described as “an education, not a day camp,” will help students learn career and life skills that will allow them to build more independent lives in the community.

The two-year program, which relies on the work of student volunteers, has a competitive admissions process and a hefty tuition cost of $10,000.  In addition to participating in classes and extracurricular activities with typical college students, the Next Step students get job training and work on basic life skills. Eleven students are currently enrolled.
“We want them to become lifelong learners. We want them to have a sense that, ‘I belong to this community,’ ” said Next Step program director Tammy Day.
And for the hard-driving, ambitious young Vanderbilt students sitting next to them in class, there’s a lesson to be learned, as well. You can get more out of a class than just a grade.
“They might realize it’s OK for there to be different reasons to be in class,” Day said.

1 comment:

  1. It's good to know that more and more schools are opening to provide assistance to people with intellectual disabilities. It is time to stop pitying on them but instead help them lead a life that they can enjoy like the normal people do.