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Students with Developmental Disabilities Go to College: Description of a Collaborative Transition Project on a Regular College Campus

Article Summary

Dolyniuk, Kamens, Corman, DiNardo, Totaro, and Rockoff (2002) designed a pilot project, which provided transitioning high school students with mild to moderate cognitive delays with community-based experiences and person-centered instruction. The project was designed to teach students functional skills that would enable their success in the workplace as well as to allow students to practice social skills with age-level peers.

Twenty-three college students from a private university from New Jersey provided support and guidance to seventeen students with mild to moderate mental retardation. The students performed a variety of jobs on campus while receiving support from the college students. Dolyniuk et al. (2002) wanted to determine whether the university campus was a suitable place for future transition projects as well as gather data on the transition of high school students to college in a university setting.

Dolyniuk and colleagues found several emerging themes from their pilot project. The university faculty reported to Dolyniuk, "the importance of providing university students with opportunities to interact with course content. Given that the 'content': of our (university) courses concerns individuals, we were providing our students with a unique opportunity to recognize that individuals with disabilities are a heterogeneous group, with a broad array of needs and characteristics." Dolyniuk and colleagues believe this experience, "allowed us to evaluate two different groups of young people learning from each other, we learned from them." Dolyniuk et al. concluded, "this project had benefits for young adults with and without disabilities and supported the use of a community-based service-learning model."


Dolyniuk, C. A., Kamens, M.W., Corman, H., DiNardo, P. O., Totaro, R. M., & Rockoff, J. C. (2002). Students with developmental disabilities go to college: Description of a Collaborative Transition Project. Focus on Autism and other developmental disabilities. 236  241.