Module 2

Facilitating Access to Supports for Student Success in College for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

College program staff, students, and families all need to be oriented to the critical role each person plays in the journey toward college success. Students must also be oriented to academic, campus, and community opportunities and supports that exist in a college setting.

Because students with IDD have not been traditionally included in college, there is often a dearth of knowledge on the part of professionals that support this population and a concomitant lack of knowledge on the part of the students and families that may now have college educational opportunities and aspirations. Both federal (the Higher Education Opportunity Act ) and state law (the Florida Postsecondary Comprehensive Transition Program Act ) have resulted in an array of inclusive postsecondary education experiences for students with intellectual disabilities (ID), often referred to as inclusive postsecondary education (IPSE). The programs are designed to lead to competitive integrated employment for students. Early outcome data supports the contention that young adults with IDD that participate in IPSE, particularly with family support, have improved competitive integrated employment outcomes upon program completion (Grigal et al., 2019). In fact, IPSE has many benefits including the development of improved self-advocacy and self-determination skills, as well as academic, social, and independent living skills.

This module is designed to inform IPSE program staff, other relevant college personnel, and secondarily students and families, of the range of supports available for success in college for students with IDD.

Definition of intellectual disability: The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities defines intellectual disability as a disability characterized by significant limitations in both intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior, which covers many everyday social and practical skills. This disability originates before the age of 18 (AAIDD, 2020).

For more information on how IDD is defined, please see the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council’s First Steps guide, chapters 4 and 5.

Grigal, M., Papay, C., Smith F., Hart, D., & Verbeck, R. (2019). Experiences that predict employment for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities in federally funded higher education programs. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 42(1). DOI