Inclusive Higher Education Options

Today I attended a Down Syndrome conference and got the chance to speak to the Kennesaw State University representative from their Inclusive Learning program.

In speaking with her, she mentioned that Kennesaw’s Program may not be the right fit for everyone. I didn’t quite understand her statement until she further explained how she use to be a special education teacher believing that students with disabilities should be educated in a small group self contained classroom with no need for learning more than life skills. However, after years of teaching she soon began to wonder why aren’t schools preparing students with disabilities for post secondary education.

Students with disabilities can not earn a degree from a post secondary school with a special education degree, they must have a general education degree. Yet the public schools don’t foster a mainstreamed/inclusive learning environment for students with disabilities preferring to keep them contained in small group special education classes. And although the Kennesaw’s Inclusive Program is a good program it is not a degreed program.

She passed on the website – www.thinkcollege.net – which is dedicated to providing inclusive higher education options for people with intellectual disability.

Although I have a while before Michelle is ready for college, I am preparing now for her to be able to pursue a post secondary education. And that begins with educating her IEP team about all the post secondary options available to students with disabilities. Changing their mindsets just as the Kennesaw representative changed hers.

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2 thoughts on “Inclusive Higher Education Options

  1. Kim you absolutely rock!! Continue standing up for your baby. No one else is going to do it! Thanks for sharing your experience and aiding us in being informed!

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  2. Yes I think that is what I have been struggling to let our special educators know. Are we preparing our kids to go to post secondary school after they have been school for 18 years in self contained classroom and not learning the independence they need therefore they are back home to be babysat by their parents. I don’t think that is in the taught process what the kids will be doing after they leave school. There are some might succeed but not most will not the way special education is teaching our kids in self contained classroom year after year. Nothing wrong with the self contained classroom it self if it is done the right way but also giving the kids enough exposure to Gen ed classrooms and the independence they need to lead life. If it is facilitated well by someone actually had a degree in special education. I don’t think the paras they have for our kids have enough education to really help our kids productively. They don’t get training and some of the kids are instead of helped by it they are having issues because they are not understood by the aids. Anyone who is placed in our special ed classrooms have to have extensive training how to deal with our kids physical, emotional, functional, and educational needs. I have seen that first hand. My son had a para who is a special educator and the difference was night and day. I know money comes to play here but if the paras are given enough training they can be the biggest help in our kids lives. The teacher is only one in that classroom and can’t be every where. Mahlet

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