More colleges are putting together options and programs for students with Special Needs. This list seems to be growing on a regular basis, which is wonderful. We have compiled a list of those schools, some are closer in proximity to the Virginia area than others. We will highlight additional in a future issue.
The Mason LIFE Program is an innovative post-secondary program for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who desire a university experience in a supportive academic environment.
The mission of the Mason LIFE Program is dual purpose. The first is to provide a supportive academic environment for our students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The second is to supply an apprenticeship for George Mason University students. The Mason LIFE Program presents our George Mason students opportunities such as: instructor, resident advisor, internship, practicum, licensure, independent study, field work, mentor, Best Buddy, and volunteer to gain important experiences and knowledge to work successfully with students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
2.VCU – ACE-IT
ACE-IT in College is an individualized, inclusive, 30 month on-campus college experience for individuals with intellectual disabilities, that offers a credential for completion of 18-21 credits for core service learning courses, work experience, and classes based on individual career and life paths, and VCU community activities.
VCU’s ACE-IT in College is an inclusive learning and training program for transition-age adults with intellectual disabilities. With individualized support, ACE-IT in College students participate in five semesters of employment, college classes, and campus activities. These college experiences create opportunity and prepare students to pursue self-determined futures.
3. J Sarge -PAVE
The only one of its kind in the state of Virginia, the Program for Adults in Vocational Education (PAVE) is a two-year vocational training program which:
Serves students with intellectual, physical, emotional, and learning disabilities.
PAVE accommodates the unique learning needs of students with differing ability levels and upholds the learning environment principles of the entire community college.
Provides students with tools to become independent support professionals in their field
Industry certifications are offered within our Food Service (ServSafe®), Health Care (First Aid/CPR) and Child Care (First Aid/CPR) programs.
All PAVE programs are designed to allow students to work independently within their field through an unpaid, coordinated internship after completing professional and social skills training in the classroom.
Enriches academic abilities through tailored curriculum and comprehensive support.
Small class sizes and focused curriculum promotes academic success for students with specialized learning needs.
Dedicated faculty, staff, and tutors work to help students achieve their professional goals.
PAVE works in coordination with other community resource agencies to ensure student success.
This liberal arts academy is in Washington DC. The Office for Students with Disabilities, known as “OSWD”, gives qualified students with disabilities the opportunity for success through equal access and the means to participate in curricular and extracurricular activities at Gallaudet University. We provide individually tailored, comprehensive disability support services and programs in accordance with Federal and State disability law. We strive to create an inclusive, safe, and respectful environment for all students, and promote awareness and equity for all in our campus community.
Students who are deaf and hearing-impaired are the main focus. Those with hearing are also admitted. It is the only university in the world to serve the needs of the deaf.All courses are taught in both spoken and signed English. The school offers all the benefits of a traditional university, including athletics and a Greek system, while providing students with a supportive community and learning environment sensitive to their needs.
5. Landmark College
This college is located in Vermont. Landmark College’s mission is to transform the way students learn, educators teach, and the public thinks about education. They provide highly accessible approaches to learning that empower individuals who learn differently to exceed their aspirations and to achieve their greatest potential.
Landmark College was designed with the needs of learning disabled students in mind, and is one of only a few in the country that cater exclusively to those with dyslexia, ADHD and other learning disabilities. Class sizes stay small, so everyone gets more individual attention. A number of assistive technologies are available on campus, and enrollees are given help with time management, academics and other skills. It offers associate degrees in general studies, liberal arts or business administration, and many grads move on to four-year degree programs.
6. Clemson Life
The ClemsonLIFE program at Clemson University is designed for students with intellectual disabilities who desire a postsecondary experience on a college campus.
Young adults go through a similar development process that requires certain activities, experience and support.
Young adults must develop skills and an understanding about themselves and the world around them in order to fully participate in society and to become successful, contributing adults.
Higher education is a vehicle for self-empowerment and access to social networks, employment, and independence.
Group membership provides essential motivation and support for learning and participation in community life.
7. Mercyhust – AIM
Located in Erie, Pennsylvania, Mercyhurst is home to the pioneering Learning Differences Program and the Autism Initiative at Mercyhurst (AIM). Mercyhurst University is ranked among the 50 Best Disability-Friendly Colleges and Universities in the nation by Collegechoice.
The program focuses on assisting those with Autism and other high-functioning forms of autism adapt to campus life. Mercyhurst also offers support to students with other special needs through its Learning Differences Program. This program gives participants access to special accommodations, which can help them better cope with any learning disabilities they might have — from offering aid with physical impairments to getting additional tutoring.
8. Marshall University
Located in West Virginia, students participating in the program have met acceptance criteria for Marshall University and have been admitted to The College Program through a separate application process. The program uses a positive behavior support approach to assist participating students. Social, communication, academic, leisure and personal living skills are assessed through person-centered planning.
Personal goals are identified and strategies are developed based on the individual needs of each student. The program seeks to help students learn skills which will help them earn a college degree, work in their chosen field, and live a productive, independent, and quality life.
Grad students help special needs participants improve their time management, complete assignments and develop better social and independent living skills.