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How Educators Can Help Students with Intellectual Disability to Think College

Preparing Students for the Real World with LCE
Dan Habib, Yuki Nishizawa, Sean Phelan, and Melissa Savage
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Students with intellectual disability want to go to college - and they can! But they can’t get there alone. They need educators who understand what skills are necessary to make it happen and will support them to achieve their goals. Think College created the “Think Higher. Think College.” public awareness campaign to inform and educate teachers, school administrators, support professionals, college staff and faculty, families, and students themselves that college is an option for students with intellectual disability. The public awareness campaign includes new tools to make the process easy to understand and doable. Join us for this free webinar to learn about the current picture of inclusive higher education in the US, hear from college students with intellectual disability from around the country, and learn from a panel of experienced educators how we can “Think Higher. Think College.” together.

During this webinar, you will:

  • Attendees will learn about the current situation regarding college options for students with intellectual disability.
  • Attendees will learn about new resources from the Think Higher. Think College. campaign.
  • Attendees will hear from a panel comprised of two K-12 educators and a program director from an inclusive postsecondary education program about what options exist for students with ID, how to guide students to pursue college, and how to assemble a team to ensure a smooth transition from high school to college.


Meet our moderator and speakers

Dan Habib is the Inclusive Communities Project Director at the Westchester Institute for Human Development and the founder of LikeRightNow Films.  He is the Director and Producer of Intelligent Lives, Including Samuel, Who Cares About Kelsey?, and Mr. Connolly Has ALS.  His current project is the Emmy Award-winning My Disability Roadmap, which he Co-Directed with his son Samuel Habib.  

Dan is also helping to lead a new public awareness campaign called “Think Higher – Think College,” which is part of the Think College Inclusive Higher Education Network Project.

Habib gave the TEDx talk, “Disabling Segregation,” and served on President Barack Obama’s President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities from 2014-2017.

Habib and his wife, Betsy McNamara, live in Concord, NH, and have two sons: Isaiah, 27, and Samuel, 23. 

Yuki Nishizawa is a teacher with 20 years of experience working with students who are neurodivergent/disabled. She holds a Master’s degree in Special Education from Lesley University and is currently serving as a Transition Specialist at Brookline High School.  Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, where a pathway for employment for people with disabilities exists, Yuki maintains high expectations for each and every student she encounters. While at the Dr. William Henderson Inclusion K-12 School in Dorchester, MA, she developed a transition program and successfully started a pilot program with MassArt College, now known as the Aspire program as part of MAICEI. She’s also worked with her students to practice their employability skills at local businesses and non-profit organizations.  
Sean Phelan Headshot
Sean Phelan is currently in his 5th year of teaching at Blue Valley North High School in Overland Park, Kansas where he teaches students with extensive support needs. While attending the University of Kansas, Sean was a peer for KU – Transition to Postsecondary Education Program (KU-TPE), where he saw firsthand that individuals with disabilities can succeed in college. Those experiences have shaped his philosophies by instituting inclusive practices and enforcing high expectations for his students. Sean has helped transition many students to postsecondary programs after graduating from high school. 
Melissa Savage Headshot
Melissa Savage is an Assistant Professor in Special Education at the University of North Texas. Her research focuses on health and inclusive community participation for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Dr. Savage is a co-principal investigator with UNT ELEVAR, a 4-year inclusive postsecondary education program for young adults with intellectual disability. As part of the ELEVAR program, she leads the UNT ELEVAR Transition Pathway program, working with partner K-12 districts to prepare high school students with intellectual disability, educators, and families for the next steps after high school. Before becoming a professor, Dr. Savage was a middle and high school special education teacher.  


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