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.