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Archive for the ‘college’ Category

More colleges welcome students with intellectual disabilities

Monday, October 18th, 2010

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.

Disability advocates say the programs will help students get better jobs, even if they do not earn degrees. Critics call the programs a waste of tax dollars, and charge that they devalue the college experience of students without disabilities.

For more information, see Think College at the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Vanderbilt enrolls students with intellectual disabilities

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

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.

Earlier post here.

Vanderbilt welcomes students with intellectual disabilities

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

From the Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required):

Vanderbilt University’s new Next Step certificate program is providing a college experience to six students with intellectual disabilities, allowing them to participate in classes and extracurricular activities with typical college students. The Next Step students also get job training and work on basic life skills.

The two-year Next Step program is among an estimated 250 postsecondary offerings for people with intellectual disabilities across the country, according to the National Down Syndrome Society.

Elise D. McMillan, co-director of the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at Vanderbilt, says the trend reflects the growing aspirations of disabled people.

“This is a whole generation of young individuals with disabilities that have grown up benefiting from the Americans with Disabilities Act,” she says. “They have been included in their public schools, and, in many ways, they have the same dreams and aspirations as their brothers and sisters and other students.”

More colleges serving students with intellectual disabilities

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

From the Charleston, SC, Post and Courier:

Four universities in South Carolina are now offering courses of study for students with intellectual disabilities. The programs allow students to enroll in some mainstream college classes, and will offer some separate independent living and vocational classes.

Proponents of on-campus programs for students with intellectual disabilities say they help disabled students learn to function better in the world and traditional students to learn more about people with disabilities.

… Les Sternberg, dean of USC’s College of Education who has a background in special education, said, “I’m a cheerleader for this kind of stuff.”

“Everything that’s offered to the non-disabled student should be offered to the disabled as well,” Sternberg said. “Not only is it the right thing to do, it helps students become more employable.”

See also:

College of Charleston launches ‘Realizing Educational and Career Hopes (REACH) Program’ — Charleston and the Lowcountry News

Students with Down syndrome get a taste of college life – Community College Week

Student with disabilities wins fight to live in college dorm

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Oakland University violated federal law by excluding him, judge rules

From the Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, Oakland [MI] Press:

A federal judge has ruled that Michigan’s Oakland University has violated the federal Rehabilitation Act by failing to allow a student with a cognitive impairment to live in a campus dorm. An Oakland spokesman said the university will appeal the ruling, but will allow the young man to live on campus during the process.

U.S. District Judge Patrick J. Duggan ordered Oakland to make a room available to 25-year-old Micah Fialka-Feldman, who has been taking classes in the school’s OPTIONS program. Fialka-Feldman pays a fee equal to full tuition but doesn’t earn grades in the program, which is designed for students with cognitive disabilities who would not otherwise be able to meet the university’s admissions requirements.

The university has maintained that Fialka-Feldman, who takes buses two hours a day to get to class from his parents’ home, is not eligible for a dorm room because he’s not enrolled in a degree-granting program.

Duggan said the university’s assumption that the young man would be unable to follow housing rules “appears to be grounded on prejudice, stereotypes and/or unfounded fear.”

Earlier posts here.

(Detroit News photo)

Georgia district hosts college fair for students with disabilities

Friday, December 4th, 2009

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Georgia’s largest school district is holding a college fair for students with disabilities, gathering representatives from 30 colleges and universities to meet with students who have physical, emotional and learning disabilities.The fair is free and open to families across metropolitan Atlanta.

“We want to make sure our students know all of the options ahead of them when they are looking at life beyond the K-12 experience,” said Jennifer Fornek, Gwinnett School’s director of Instructional Services. “We want the students to be successful when they leave us.”

Universities reject Kindle, cite inaccessibility

Friday, November 13th, 2009

From CNET and the Associated Press:

The National Federation of the Blind said Wednesday that Syracuse University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have declined to use Amazon.com’s Kindle DX for textbooks. The reason: the device is not accessible to students who are blind.

Pamela McLaughlin, director of communications and external relations at Syracuse University, said in a statement that her school bought two Kindle DX units to see if it could replace hardcover textbooks and course materials.

Although students are still evaluating the devices, she said, the university has “no plans to purchase any more of these units in light of the fact that they are inaccessible to blind students. If Syracuse University decides to use e-book technology on campus, we will require technology that can be used by all of our students, including those who are blind.”

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More than 50 million people in the United States have disabilities, a number that is growing rapidly as the population ages. Experts say disability will soon affect the lives of most Americans. This website attempts to aggregate news and commentary about disability, and to document the efforts of people who are seeking new ways to address familiar challenges.

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