Driving Inclusiveness in Higher Education
Young people with intellectual disabilities (ID) are often excluded from college preparation and college pathways, meaning they’re much less likely to consider college as a realistic. At the same time, many colleges lack the understanding or the support to allow people with ID to thrive. However, College is both possible and extremely valuable for students with intellectual disability.
Think College exists to help make it happen.
Based at the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMass Boston, but active nationwide, Think College is dedicated to developing, expanding, and improving inclusive higher education options for people with intellectual disabilities, through building the expectations of students with ID and their parents, while also working with colleges and universities to ensure their doors are open to them.
Think College supports evidence-based and student-centered research and practice by generating and sharing knowledge, guiding institutional change, informing public policy, and engaging with students, professionals and families. They work at every level to build college pathways: with individuals looking to find college options; with schools from elementary to high school to address college and career readiness for students with ID; and with colleges and universities to increase their capacity to respond to diverse learning needs.
Fifteen years ago, there were only 25 programs in the country that were accessible to people with ID. Now there are more than 265. This growth is based on the work of organisations like Think College, helping people know that college is possible, offering guidance on how to start an inclusive program, and connecting programs that are just starting out to those with more experience.
Often the largest impediment to young people with intellectual disabilities’ progress is the failure of others to believe it is possible. To achieve their best, we have to offer students every opportunity to meet their potential, from going to college, taking classes, living on campus, and ultimately working for a competitive wage.