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Why Inclusive Higher Education is Important

Written by Dr. Betty Patten

College team day is celebrated across the country by many high school teachers and students. A free jean day is always a win, and dining your alma mater with pride is the cherry on top. But for many students with intellectual disabilities, days like college shirt day can cause insecurity and only add to the frustration that higher education is not encouraged or even celebrated for people with intellectual disabilities. 

Additionally, attainable post-secondary options have just recently been a reality. The past decade resulted in the development and launch of more than 312 college programs options for those with intellectual disabilities. However, many educators, students, and families still do not see college as attainable.  Inclusion in high school has been such a  struggle, so why would anyone think it would be easy in college? So let’s talk about inclusion. Why is inclusion important?

Inclusion helps prepare people to be change agents for reversing discriminatory practices. People with disabilities are the largest minority group in the U.S. and the world and is the only minority group that can be joined at any time

Disability affects all, and is impactful regardless of one’s race, sex, sexual orientation, age, religion, color, national origin, or veteran status. Therefore, increasing inclusion, awareness, and teaching universal design strategies, is needed to cultivate and promote a more inclusive society. Increasing inclusion and diversity in the workforce and society begins with educating future employers and equipping citizens to become effective advocates.

Inclusion in education is important because educational settings provide the context for all relationships for people who are no longer in school. But including everyone without the proper accommodations or support is not inclusion. 

Including students with intellectual disabilities in higher education benefits everyone, not just those with disabilities. However, coordinating the supports and services for those with ID is extensive, laborious, and ever-changing. Add in the challenges that college brings for those without disabilities. 

Equip is here to help those providing support better manage the services so you have more time to devote to supporting students directly rather than managing support. Follow along to learn more about how we are here to help provide high-quality access to college for those with intellectual disabilities! 

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