Engaging Students with Disabilities week 5

In doing our readings and watching the videos this week, I often found myself feeling very frustrated. To me, an inclusive environment in which any and all students are welcomed/supported is the basis of higher education. In reading Denhart, I was appalled to see that so many students feel violated when going through the evaluation process for learning differences as well as face adversity from faculty members. What really resonated with me in this paper was when the author described disability theory by viewing disability as "(a) socially constructed, (b) part of normal human variation, and (c) requiring voice to deconstruct it" (Denhart, 2008).

Although I did feel disheartened at times about the attitudes and campus climates surrounding disabilities, the Temple Grandin and Inclusive Enrollment videos made me a little more hopeful. Mainstream media can help the public better understand disabilities, and hopefully be more accepting of those with differences. What also made me hopeful was the Massachusetts schools expanding opportunities for students with disabilities through their inclusive concurrent enrollment. It made me think of a program we offer at my institution called REACH (Realizing Educational and Career Hopes). This program is a four-year fully-inclusive certificate program for students with mild intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. It has a phenomenal track record, and claims that 94% of the program's alumni go into full-time/full-paying jobs after completion.

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