UT program awarded grant to support students with developmental disabilities

July 20, 2018 | News, UToday
By Staff

An $8,000 grant from the Toledo Community Foundation Inc. will support The University of Toledo in expanding rewarding college experiences for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

As the only program of its kind in northwest Ohio, Toledo Transition helps students develop skills to enhance their quality of life and prepare them for gainful employment. With the grant funding from the Helping Hens Fund of the Toledo Community Foundation, the program will be able to complete the final component of its curriculum: College Orientation and Assessment of Transition Skills.

Shaun Ochs led a session with students in the Toledo Transition program.

The four-day, four-night residence hall experience is designed to provide opportunity and assessment for new and current Toledo Transition students across four key transition areas: independent living, self-determination, vocational and social. The program ran last month and concluded with orientation for the new cohort of Toledo Transition students beginning fall 2018.

“Because of the Toledo Community Foundation’s support, we will be able to assess students’ readiness for dorm life, which will start for students in the program beginning spring 2019,” said Dr. Patricia Devlin, program director and UT associate professor of early childhood, physical and special education. “College Orientation and Assessment of Transition Skills exposes students to various aspects of college life and assessment of student strengths and needs.”

Additionally, the program provides a learning lab-style experience for traditional college students in disciplines across campus. This year, graduate students studying speech and language assessed the Toledo Transition students in the areas of communication and socialization.

Devlin began the pilot program for Toledo Transition in 2012 with collaboration from Ohio State University. As parents and advocates recognized how it met community needs, the program continued to develop a federally recognized curriculum with support from the University. The first cohort of 20 students completed the program in the 2017-18 academic year. Toledo Transition aims to grow its capacity to be able to accommodate up to 30 students by 2019-20.

The program offers both two-year and four-year non-degree certificate tracks for students to audit college courses and cultivate career development and independent living skills.

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