The IOD Launches New Initiative Providing An Inclusive College Experience to Students with Intellectual Disabilities
More than 35,000 residents living in New Hampshire have an intellectual disability (ID). Youth and young adults with ID are significantly more likely to be underemployed and live in poverty - than same age peers, and the majority of these young people, particularly those from low-income families, lack access to meaningful post-secondary education and career opportunities that would help them change these outcomes.
To help address these needs, over the past two years UNH-Institute on Disability has led a steering committee with UNH administration and local education and state agencies to develop an inclusive 2-year day and/or residential Community Transition Program on the Durham campus. The program, tentatively named UNH-4U has the support of numerous stakeholders and partners, including: UNH Disability Services for Students, Housing and Residential Life, Financial Aid, Office of Minority Students, UNH Office of Community Equity and Diversity, and academic departments, including the Provost Office, Education, and Recreation Management. Other partners include the Department of Education, NH Vocational Rehabilitation, and ABLE NH.
In addition to improving academic and employment outcomes, UNH-4U, when launched, will provide an authentic campus life experience including opportunities for social development, independent living, and recreational endeavors. “UNH-4U will combine traditional classroom time with inclusive housing options, peer mentoring and academic coaches from same-age peers,” said Tobey Partch-Davies, Project Director on Poverty and Disability at the UNH-Institute on Disability. “We’re excited to establish a model that will help young people with ID achieve their life goals and prepare for meaningful careers and social endeavors in all aspects of adulthood.”
After a successful fundraising launch, UNH-4U is now conducting an outreach campaign and is raising funds to hire a full-time project coordinator with the plan to start the project in the next academic year.