History is Being Made in Colorado!

The author with Greg Root and Cathi Allen from MSU

The author with Greg Root and Cathi Allen from MSU

As of August 17, The Inclusive Education Certificate Program (IECP) at Metropolitan State University – Denver is providing a fully inclusive college experience for students with different intellectual or developmental abilities who do not meet the university requirements for admission as degree-seeking students. This is the first program of its kind in Colorado!
> IECP participants enroll in MSU Denver courses as non-degree seeking students
> IECP students receive individualized accommodations and modifications to their inclusive coursework
> IECP students participate in social activities and events, career exploration, vocational apprenticeships and internships, and expanded independence skills training
> IECP culminates in an Inclusive Education Certificate in the student’s field of study
> IECP is a two-year nonresidential program
Here is Rick’s story…
“Hello! My name is Rick Newell and I am attending Metro State University/Inclusive Education Certificate Program.
When I was a junior in high school my special needs teacher told me I wasn’t smart enough to go to college.
In the beginning of my junior year my mom asked me if I wanted to go to ENMU-Roswell and I told her that I wasn’t going there because the classes were segregated and I wanted to be in a typical class room. So we found a video that was from the Alberta College and they had a program for students with special needs that included attending typical classes with their peers. Last year for Fall Break, my mom and I toured six schools in five days in three states that all have inclusive education programs for students who have IDD.
After touring the six schools, I applied to and was accepted at Kennesaw State University, Academy for Inclusive Learning and Social Growth in Georgia. Because I was accepted there and there were no college programs for me in Colorado, I planned to go to KSU.
Then I met with Cathi Allen this spring and she had created a program now called Inclusive Education Certificate Program. Cathi gave a presentation about this program to Metro State. Greg Root, the Access Center Assistant Director invited me to speak about my disability to the panel of Metro State University department chairs, vice presidents and many other important MSU people. And this August we now have the first and only inclusive education college program that accepts people with IDD and special needs in Colorado. Metro State said they would accept only one student this semester for the pilot program and that was me!
This is one of the most exciting things I have ever done. We are making history in Colorado. I thoroughly enjoy my three classes which are Public Speaking, Men’s Choir, and Food Fundamentals. All three of these courses are traditional college classes with my typical peers. I have made lots of new friends and met lots of people. I really like my professors! They are awesome! It takes a lot of hard work but in the end it will pay off. I will have a great future ahead of me.
When parents are looking for options for their students after high school, there are now four different pathways and those will be living at home, or getting a job, or going to their transition program, or going to college.
Overall, I absolutely love being at college and I hope that other students in Colorado will come and enjoy the journey we have made to bring IDD programs to colleges in Colorado.”
There will be an informational meeting held on October 8 at 6:00 pm on the Auraria campus. For more information about inclusive college in Colorado, contact the program at  www. IHECP.com .

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