• Beth & Tim Manners

Vanderbilt: Where Disabilities Are Not Disadvantages

Updated: Sep 20, 2019

Forbes: “According to Think College, a national organization dedicated to developing college opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, more than 260 colleges across the nation now offer on-campus transition programs for this population. transition programs immerse the students, many of whom have Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, or cerebral palsy, in campus life. They live in the residence halls, eat in campus dining facilities and navigate the typical demands of college students.”


“Their curriculum mixes courses on socialization, self-help, and independence skills with individualized training in employment competencies. In most programs, the students also audit one or more regular college courses each semester, selected and sometimes modified with their needs in mind. Another standard component is a practicum, job shadowing, or internship in the community or on campus where students hone practical work skills.”


“Typically, the programs are four to five semesters in length, although more mature programs, like Vanderbilt’s Next Steps and George Mason University’s LIFE have expanded to four years. After completing the program, students are awarded a graduation certificate that officially recognizes their achievement. Some may transfer to a traditional baccalaureate program.”

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