New Postsecondary Program Guidelines

Many colleges and universities now have postsecondary programs that emphasize incorporating students with significant disabilities into the college or university community and environments. Some of these programs are for degree-seeking students. Others are transition experience programs, offering students an opportunity to audit courses, interact with same-age peers, and/or work part-time on campus.

Think College recently developed a list of model accreditation standards that the nation’s postsecondary programs can use to improve or develop high quality programs for students with intellectual disabilities. Among the best practices included in the report:

  • Principles of True Inclusion—addresses whether students are able to live on campus with students without disabilities, participate in the same activities as everyone else, and attend classes with their typically developing peers.
  • Appropriate Supports—ensures that natural supports (from peers) are used as much as possible, rather than bringing someone from outside a typical class or living situation into that environment, who usually would not be there.
  • Person-Centered-Planning—ensures that students are involved in individualized planning for their academics, activities, employment, transportation, and living experiences.
  • Staff Training—requires that faculty and staff receive training on current research-based practices. This should include those who work directly within the college/university program, and those who will encounter and work with students in typical classes, when living in the dorms, and during activities. Trainings should ensure that faculty and staff have the expertise to ensure that students feel accepted, are taught using researched-based methods, and are provided appropriate accommodations.

See the complete list of standards at the link above. To see the list of postsecondary transition experiences and degree programs providing extra supports to students with disabilities in Indiana, visit the Center on Community Living and Careers’ Postsecondary Education webpage.