Category Archives: college

Students “INSPIRE”d by College Program

An  Indiana University program for students with intellectual disabilities is providing opportunities to experience college life and develop employment skills.

Central Indiana’s Franklin College is welcoming five high school students with intellectual disabilities to its campus this semester, thanks in part to a grant from Indiana University’s Institute on Disability and Community and its Center on Community Living and Careers.

The institute, a partner in the Indiana Postsecondary Education Coalition, creates programs on Indiana campuses that give students with intellectual disabilities a chance to participate in college life and obtain hands-on work experience before they begin applying for jobs in their communities.

This month, students participating in Franklin’s new INSPIRE program took part in a meet-and-greet activity on campus that served to formally introduce INSPIRE — which stands for Individual Needs in Special Places to Increase Relevant Work Experience — to Franklin College faculty, staff and fellow students.

“INSPIRE will help us get experience to get a job and help us take care of ourselves for the rest of our lives,” said Richie Olopade, a student from Center Grove High School.

Read more here.



Navigating College

Navigating College, a project of The Autistic Self Advocacy Network, has a handbook for students with autism on navigating college.

titlepageThe handbook is available for free (download) here.

Leaving high school and going to college is complicated for everyone. But if you’re a student on the autism spectrum who is about to enter higher education for the first time, it might be a little bit more complicated for you.

Maybe you’re worried about getting accommodations, getting places on time, or dealing with sensory issues in a new environment. Maybe you could use some advice on how to stay healthy at school, handle dating and relationships, or talk to your friends and classmates about your disability. Maybe you want to talk to someone who’s already dealt with these issues. That’s where we come in.

Navigating College is an introduction to the college experience from those of us who’ve been there. The writers and contributors are Autistic adults, and we’re giving you the advice that we wish someone could have given us when we headed off to college. We wish we could sit down and have a chat with each of you, to share our experiences and answer your questions. But since we can’t teleport, and some of us have trouble meeting new people, this book is the next best thing.

ASAN was able to get you this book with the help of some other organizations. The Navigating College Handbook was developed in collaboration with Autism NOW, and with funding from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities. The University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability is helping us with distribution. We’re really grateful for all of their help in getting this book out.

Good luck, and happy reading! We hope it helps.

Transition Program for Students with Disabilities approved for Kentucky Higher Ed

Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC)  has been approved to begin a Transition program for students with Intellectual Disabilities.

“The approval of BCTC’s Comprehensive Transition Program is a tremendous step forward in making higher education a reality for anyone, regardless of disability, who consider themselves lifelong learners,” said Barry Whaley, director of the Supported Higher Education Project at the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute. “We value our long-term partnership with BCTC, and we are committed to our continued work to make higher education inclusive and diverse.”

Read more here.

Canadian University Program Provides Opportunities for Students with Disabilities

Acadia University offers a program for students with disabilities to experience college in the University setting.  (Kings County News, March 19, 2014)

Axcess Acadia allows learning-disabled students to succeed at university by taking an audit program that is not available elsewhere in Nova Scotia.

According to Dr. Lynn Aylward, the program, which is in its second year, was inspired by similar programs in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Dr. Cynthia Bruce of Kentville prepared an initial study validating the concept.

“We looked at their programs and thought we should definitely do that,” Aylward said. “It fit in all kinds of ways because it mixes the community together. That’s the way we live.”

Axcess Acadia students can graduate with a certificate of completion in arts, science, professional studies and interdisciplinary studies.

The program is designed for students who self-identify as having a disability – intellectual, developmental or learning – that would not meet the current admission criteria set by the university.

Read more here.

Students with Visual Impairments Push Through Barriers

This article chronicles the activities of two Bismark High School Students who have visual impairments. The use of technology and the support of their teams at school enable them to successfully attend classes, get employment and plan for the future.

Bismarck High School seniors Amber Kraft and Cole Roberts are just like any other teenagers going off on their own, but with a characteristic they have proven does not define them — they are blind.

….Bismarck Public Schools teacher of the blind and visually impaired Brandi Trom-Anderson has helped teach Roberts and Kraft the skills they need inside and outside of the classroom since they were in preschool.

“Most of my students are scheduled in my room for one class period,” Anderson said. “During this time, I might preteach a tactile drawing they need for class; students may be introduced to a new Braille symbol for math; they may learn how to navigate a website using a screen reader called JAWS or we may even go to the kitchen and prepare a snack or meal. Students also practice independent mobility skills. One to two times a week they meet with the orientation and mobility specialist to learn how to be independent travelers whether they use their cane or the city bus. They learn to listen to traffic and safely cross streets.”

Roberts and Kraft can participate in class by using a BrailleNote that is like a computer with just a keyboard, and a laptop with a screen reader on it called JAWS. Teachers email or use Dropbox to send assignments or PowerPoints of the learning material.

Read the article here.

Technology, Equality and Accessibility in College and Higher Education (TEACH) Act

A bill that was initally introduced in November 2013 by U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Thomas Petri (R-Wis.) is being re-introduced by United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), as “bipartisan legislation that would help strengthen the accessibility of educational technologies for college students with disabilities” according the Senator Warren’s website.

Senator Warren spoke at a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing on February 27, 2014 to announce the introduction of the legislation:

A summary of the previously introduced bill by rep. Petri states:

Technology, Equality and Accessibility in College and Higher Education Act or the TEACH Act – Directs the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) to develop accessibility guidelines for electronic instructional materials and related information technologies in institutions of higher education (IHEs).

Requires those guidelines to: (1) include performance criteria to ensure that electronic instructional materials and related information technologies are accessible to the blind and disabled; (2) be consistent with the standards for technical and functional performance criteria issued pursuant to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; and (3) be, to the extent practicable, consistent with national and international accessibility standards for those materials and technologies.

Directs the Access Board to review and, as appropriate, amend the guidelines every three years to reflect technological advances or changes in electronic instructional materials and related information technologies.

Deems IHEs that use electronic instructional materials and related information technologies that comply with the guidelines to be in compliance with nondiscrimination provisions under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Read the text of the legislation here.

Read the fact sheet on the legislation here.

Florida After School High Tech Program Helps with Transition, Graduation Rates

Posted in The Ledger, Lakeland, Florida, (February 25, 2014)

The newest of 40 high school sites around the state of Florida has implemented the High School High Tech Program, an after school program designed to support students with disabilities work towards life after high school, focusing on science and mathematics.

High School High Tech helps students with disabilities explore career paths that fit their skills and interests, pursue post-secondary education and secure employment, with a focus on STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — fields.

The after-school program is managed by the Able Trust, a state nonprofit dedicated to providing people with disabilities the opportunity for employment, and by the Center for Independent Living.

“The goal is to have every student live independently and have awesome opportunities in life, especially in the high-tech world, where we need all the people we can get,” said Sen. Kelli Stargel.

Read the article here.

Alternative College Provides Opportunities for Learning and Teaching

A New Hampshire organization, Global Campuses Foundation, has created a model of post-secondary education where people with disabilities have many opportunities to learn and to teach classes in the areas of their best knowledge.

As an alternative college, Global Campuses sees “what is called a disability as a unique and positive life experience,” said Jim Tewksbury, of Randolph Center, who founded Global Campuses with his wife, Sheryl Tewksbury.

“This is all based on, really, there is no such thing as a disability. It is a socially constructed reality,” Jim Tewksbury said Saturday in a telephone interview from Thailand, where he works part of the year. Global Campuses “is about a paradigm shift in, What is advanced education?”

Tewksbury laid out what he calls the “first foundational principle.”

“We are all 100 percent whole people,” he said. “We are all holders of knowledge.”

Global Campuses, he said, is simply “broadening the hallways” and letting in people with different learning styles and approaches to that “wonderful opportunity of what it means to feel smart, what it means to have somebody interested in what you hold for knowledge in the topics that you are passionate about.”

….Long-time educators, the Tewksburys are strong believers in the power of learning. After working with a variety of “disenfranchised people,” including people with disabilities, they began to wonder how to create opportunities “for people who do not have access to this transformative experience,” Jim Tewksbury said.

The couple had spent time in Thailand and saw it as a good place to start the program. “In this part of the world, a little bit of success really made significant difference,” he said.

….Unlike traditional college students, Shiremont students do not graduate or earn degrees. But some of the perks are the same. Participants receive an ID card, which can be used for student discounts and as a library card at Lebanon libraries. Global Campuses holds student conferences, and classes are sometimes broadcast from one site to another. “They love that because they can teach to another community, and they end up talking a lot about their campuses,” Eberhardt said.

Read more here (Valley News, January 26, 2014).

Read about Global Campuses here.

New Missouri University Program for Students with Intellectual Disabilities

The University of Missouri-Saint Louis has developed a two year residential post-secondary education program for students with intellectual disabilities.

News for St. Louis-NPR takes a look at the program which began this school year.

This past fall, a new educational program for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities began at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. The program, called SUCCEED, is a two-year residential program designed to help students build the skills needed to either find a job or enroll in a degree-seeking program.

The program is the brainchild of Deborah Baldini, the associate dean  for the College of Arts and Sciences/Continuing Education at UMSL, and the president and CEO of St. Louis Arc, Kathy Meath.

“What we had envisioned was a program that would take advantage of the way college and the college experience helps any student. And that is – you learn not just content knowledge from your classes that prepare you for a degree, and later a job, but you learn to interact with a broad spectrum of people, you are exposed to different ideas, you learn to live independently from your family – you have to, for example, learn how to do laundry,” Baldini said.

With that goal in mind, students in the SUCCEED program live on campus in residential housing. St. Louis Arc provided training on intellectual and developmental disabilities for residential life staff and campus security.

Read more and listen to the discussion here.

Read more about the SUCCEED program here.

TEDx Talk: “ADHD As A Difference In Cognition, Not A Disorder”

This 2013 TEDx Talk at Carnegie Melon University by a student with ADHD provides inspiration for anyone with and without ADHD to pursue their dreams and desires.

Stephen is a Senior Directing major at Carnegie Mellon. He is also the current President of Carnegie Mellon’s Film Club. He recently completed his Thesis Project within the School of Drama: a production of Mac Wellman’s “A Murder of Crows.” He is currently working on creating a collective of Film Enthusiasts across Carnegie’s Campus as well as other colleges and universities around Pittsburgh. You can find out more about Stephen and his talk on his website: or follow his blog “Caffeine, Nicotine, and ADHD: a guide to maintaining sanity.”