IOD Receives $15,000 Contract from NH Dept of Education to Support Post-Secondary Transition Film

May 27, 2016

ConVal High School Film Still - Group Meeting on Stage
Garrett Shows, center, during his theatre class at ConVal High School in Peterborough, NH. Garrett, who has an intellectual disability, is featured in Dan Habib’s new film focusing on post-secondary transition. Conval has put in place a number of evidence-based strategies – such as youth leadership opportunities and a regular diploma track for students with disabilities – to help students with disabilities navigate the transition from high school to college or career successfully. Photo by Dan Habib/UNH Institute on Disability

DURHAM, N.H. - The Institute on Disability (IOD) at the University of New Hampshire has received a $15,000 contract from the New Hampshire Department of Education and Next Steps NH to support a new documentary film by IOD filmmaker Dan Habib, focusing specifically on youth with disabilities transitioning from high school to employment or post-secondary education.

“As youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities leave school, they face significant challenges transitioning from school to work or postsecondary education, family home to community living, and child oriented health care to adult care,” Habib says.

“The NH DOE funds will support our filming at ConVal High School in Peterborough,” Habib adds, “which has put in place a number of evidence-based strategies—such as youth leadership opportunities and a regular diploma track for students with disabilities—to help students navigate these transitions successfully.”

ConVal High School is part of the Next Steps NH program. As such, staff at the school receive professional development training and coaching on evidence-informed transition practices with the goal of increasing the graduation rate of students with disabilities and students at risk of dropping out and preparing them for college, career, and adult life. Next Steps NH is a federally-funded State Personnel Development Grant out of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs. Learn more at

Over the course of the 30-40 minute film, Habib will highlight best practices in transition at additional sites throughout the country, including work-based job training at the Medtronic Research Center in Tempe, AZ and entrepreneurship development at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The film will be freely available on YouTube and other platforms in order to help schools and employers develop a workplace/educational culture of presuming competence, incorporating best practices in post-secondary transition for youth with disabilities to college and career, and integrating key supports for individuals with intellectual disabilities in the workplace, general education, and higher education. The film was recently highlighted in a Monadnock Ledger-Transcript story.

ConVal High School Film Still - Group Meeting
Garrett Shows, center in button down shirt, during a meeting of the Student Principals Advisory Committee at ConVal High School in Peterborough, NH. Photo by Dan Habib/UNH Institute on Disability

This post-secondary transition film will serve as a companion piece to the feature-length documentary Intelligent Lives (working title), which will examine how the segregation of people with intellectual disabilities became the norm, why this segregation is slowly being dismantled, and how some people with intellectual disabilities are blazing a bold new path. Both films have also received funding from the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, the New Hampshire Association of Special Education Administrators, and other foundations and organizations. The films are slated to premiere in the fall of 2017, along with educational and outreach materials.

Dan Habib is the creator of the award-winning documentary films Including Samuel, Who Cares About Kelsey?, and Restraint and Seclusion: Hear Our Stories. He screens his films across the country and leads discussions about the challenges and benefits of inclusive education and related topics. Habib delivered a TEDx talk titled Disabling Segregation, and received the Justice for All Grassroots Award from the American Association of People with Disabilities. In 2014, Habib was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities—a committee that promotes policies and initiatives that support independence and lifelong inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.

You can learn more about the Intelligent Lives Project, get information about upcoming previews and events, and watch a 14-minute preview featuring Academy Award winning actor Chris Cooper at

The Institute on Disability (IOD) at the University of New Hampshire was established in 1987 to provide a university-based focus for the improvement of knowledge, policies, and practices related to the lives of persons with disabilities and their families. Its mission is to promote full access, equal opportunities, and participation for all persons by strengthening communities and advancing policy and systems change, promising practices, education, and research.

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,200 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students.