Episode 45: Think College: Inclusive Higher Education for People with Intellectual Disability
The goal of Think College at the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston is to support the creation of authentic, inclusive college experiences that lead not only to academic and social growth, but also integrated competitive employment outcomes for youth with intellectual disability. Students with intellectual disability who go to college are 26% more likely to leave vocational rehabilitation services with a paid job and earn a 73% higher weekly income. There are now over 260 colleges and universities that have opened their doors to students with intellectual disability.
As more students with intellectual disability express their desire to go continue their education, more colleges respond by creating opportunities for learning. Teachers need to learn about these opportunities so that they curb the low expectations that are too often placed upon children with intellectual disability. Families need to know about these options so that they can make help prepare their children for a different and better future. And most of all, youth and young adults with intellectual disabilities need to know that college is a realistic option for their future. One that can lead to increased knowledge, social connections and better employment outcomes. To support and expand this progress we need to increase public awareness about these college options, increase efforts to expand existing options, and targeted research to document the outcome that higher education can have on the lives of people with intellectual disability.
Think College is a national organization dedicated to developing, expanding, and improving research and practice in inclusive higher education for people with intellectual disability. Based at the University of Massachusetts Boston, Think College staff work with professionals, parents, students and other advocates to increase expectations and expand opportunities for students with intellectual disability to college. The Think College website, www.thinkgcollege.net offers access to the only available database of existing college options, a comprehensive resource library and a wide array of videos, student stories, and other resources that educators and families can use to increase knowledge about inclusive higher education. Join our mailing list to stay in the know about how inclusive higher education can change students’ lives.