The Centers for Disease Control report that developmental disabilities now affect one in every six children in the United States. Students with special needs receive services under federal law until they are 22 years old, but after that, there are few programs in place to help with the transition from school to the community. As a result, these young people, with a tremendous amount to contribute, quickly find themselves both educationally and economically disenfranchised.
When we started 3LPlace, our first task was to identify best practices for special needs transition. Finding nothing that met a best practices standard, we created a top-notch collaboration, including experts from Harvard, Tufts and Lesley universities and, over the next few years, raised the funds to support the development of a comprehensive curriculum to fill that gap. Now, having created the curriculum structure, we are putting it to work as the framework for 3LPlace's Life College.
The Life College will serve a diverse mix of students with various developmental disabilities, and teach them the skills they will need to live meaningful adult lives in the community. Research will be a key component of the program. Our Transition Curriculum and all research findings will be published on our website for use with transitioning young adults in communities across the U.S. and around the world.