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Tuesday, 13 November 2012

University of Sydney pilot program:opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities at university

Including people with intellectual disability at university 
University of Sydney News, 31st October 2012:

A new program at the University of Sydney has opened the door to university study for five students with intellectual disabilities.

The students are taking undergraduate courses at the University this semester in an Inclusive Education Program (IEP) pilot, an initiative where they have selected to go to lectures in Greek and Roman Myth, Film Studies, Mathematics and Numeracy, Painting and Renaissance and Reformation.

With the guidance of student mentors and additional support from academics, the students are attending lectures and tutorials throughout the semester. Danielle Gild (Dan) receives personalised fortnightly tutorials on Greek and Roman Myth from Classics and Ancient History senior tutor Fran Keeling. Together, they discuss various websites, books and course materials. Fran has set a tailored assignment for Dan; students at this stage aren't required to complete formal course work.

"The best part about uni is Fran, who has been amazing and is always happy and helping me," says Dan. "And she makes me laugh."

Australians with intellectual disability who complete high school typically go on to TAFE courses oriented towards daily living skills and vocational training. Professor Patricia O'Brien, who leads the IEP pilot from the Sydney Medical School's Centre for Disability Studies, says the program helps Australia meet its UN obligations in relation to disabled people and provides participants an opportunity to fully participate in society ... read on here.

Prof Patricia O'Brien's article,  Opening up university education to students with intellectual disabilities was published in our journal, Voice, December 2010. 

If you are interested in post-secondary education for people with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities, the US website Think College might be a useful resource:

Doors to colleges are opening for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities in many different ways all over the (USA). This website is designed to share what is currently going on, provide resources and strategies, let you know about training events, and give you ways to talk to others. The information is for transition aged students as well as adults attending or planning for college. It provides resources and tools for students, families, and professionals

Think College has scheduled a six-part series of webinars from 13th December 2012 to 18th April 2013. Details are linked from the Think College home page. 

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