For the millions of young adults living with intellectual disabilities, there are very few opportunities for continued learning, growth and interaction with peers after the completion of secondary school. This project seeks to change that, by providing students with disabilities such as autism and Down syndrome with the opportunity to attend an adaptive college program and to learn to live independently.
Millions of children with intellectual disabilities in the United States age out of their secondary schools each year with few opportunities for continued intellectual, social and emotional growth. Instead, some students face isolation, boredom and a lack of independence. There is a great need for programs that will help young people with disabilities to further develop their employment, communication and independent living skills so that they can lead rich, fulfilling lives.
The College Experience program provides students with developmental disabilities the chance to attend college, learn important life skills, form friendships, and make memories. We teach students vital independent living skills, including personal finance, reading, cooking, housekeeping, medication management, community involvement, and how to develop and maintain relationships with others. Students also receive specialized job training and coaching to help them reach their career goals.
The College Experience provides a comprehensive education to 30+ students each year, empowering young people with disabilities to find and maintain meaningful employment, learn to live independently in a city, and to feel a real sense of belonging within their community. We track outcomes and know our program works: 84% of our alumni are living independently in apartments, and 75% are employed (national employment rate is just 24% for people with intellectual disabilities, US Census Bureau).