Austin Peay State University (APSU) is launching a pilot program designed to assist APSU students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Dubbed “Full Spectrum Learning (FSL),” the program seeks to provide comprehensive support for students with ASD as they advance through the college experience. Modeled after a successful program at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, dubbed “MoSAIC,” FSL students will receive one-on-one tutoring, peer mentoring, life coaching and support from FSL staff as they navigate the challenges of college life.

To read the full FSL announcement, click here.

During the Spring of 2015, an electronic survey was disseminated across 67 higher education institutions related to University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs). The objective was to gain an understanding of the overall UCEDD Network programs engaged in postsecondary education (PSE) activities for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. The report is linked here.

The 2016 Capacity Building Institute for Southeast Inclusive Postsecondary Education Programs is scheduled for April 4 & 5, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. Attend for a time to learn, plan and share thoughts and strategies about inclusive postsecondary education opportunities in Southeastern colleges and universities.

Who should attend? Faculty and staff from colleges and universities offering or considering inclusive postsecondary programs, students and peer mentors, transition coordinators, representatives from state departments of education and vocational rehabilitation, interested others.

For more information contact Susanna Miller at: or 404-413-1013

Union University’s EDGE Program, which is the 5th postsecondary education program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Tennessee, was featured in this this local news report.

Think College at the Institute for Community Inclusion, UMASS Boston serves as the National Coordinating Center (NCC) for 27 Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID) model demonstration projects. As part of its evaluation efforts, the NCC completes annual reports offering descriptive data and trend analysis as well as findings from focus groups. These reports represent the most comprehensive knowledge base related to postsecondary education access and outcomes for people with intellectual disabilities.

The Annual Report may be accessed here.

The Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program will provide support for VR eligible students participating in PSE Programs in Tennessee for the 2015-2016 Year. This is the second year of this pilot program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These programs are currently as follows:

  • University of Memphis- TigerLife
  • Vanderbilt University- Next Steps
  • Lipscomb University- IDEAL
  • University of Tennessee- FUTURE
  • Union University-EDGE

The PSE Programs focus on Postsecondary options for students with Intellectual Disabilities at Colleges and Universities. These programs are another option to assist students in the transition from school to work.

This is year two of this pilot program, the amount authorized by VR will continue to be a flat rate of $2400.00 per student/per semester.

Prior to the beginning of each semester, the school’s program staff, the student and the VR Counselor will discuss recommendations. The recommendations will be based on observations and assessments. Recommendations should include activities that:

· Assist the individual to acquire personal and work habits, skills and techniques that will enable functioning in an employment setting;

· Develop or increase work tolerance; or

· Orient the individual to the world of work.

· Provide training on self-advocacy.

The VR Counselor will ensure this service in added to the IPE prior to the beginning of the program. The client and VR counselor will agree that this is a needed service.

An authorization will be sent to the school stating the amount authorized.

The five postsecondary education programs for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Tennessee had invigorating and successful academic years. Exciting program updates may be accessed below.

Congratulations to all of the 2015 graduates!

The Union EDGE

Next Steps at Vanderbilt

David Lipscomb IDEAL

University of Tennessee FUTURE

University of Memphis TigerLIFE

Faculty, staff, and students from Tennessee’s postsecondary education programs presented at the Southeastern Postsecondary Education Alliance Capacity Building Institute on April 16 & 17, 2015. Hosted by the Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD) at the Georgia State University (GSU) School of Public Health, the inaugural event welcomed 23 colleges & universities from eight Southeastern states.

Cate Weir, Think College Program Director, opened the Capacity Building Institute with information about the national trends in IPSE. The opening keynote was given by Dr. George Benson, former president of College of Charleston, who spoke on breaking down barriers in higher education to achieve inclusion. Jim Thompson, the 2014-15 University of Georgia Student Government Association Vice President, spoke about how IPSE is a service to all students, not simply those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. To close out the two-day event, Claire Bible, an IPSE graduate, current student at Madison Area Technical College in Wisconsin, and a self-advocate with Down syndrome, gave the final keynote address.

The Southeastern Postsecondary Education Alliance promotes resource development, collaboration, peer-to-peer education, and access to quality IPSE opportunities in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, & beyond.

For more information, contact Susanna Miller

The 2015 State of the Art Conference on Postsecondary Education and Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities will be held November 11-12, 2015 in Fairfax, Virginia, and is currently accepting proposals for presentations.

The conference provides an opportunity for colleges and universities, researchers, program staff, parents and self-advocates to discuss the current state of research and practice in the field.

Presentation proposals are due by June 26, 2015. To learn more and to submit a proposal, visit
the conference website.

TennesseeWorks is offering mini-grants to address the employment of people with disabilities. Are you interested in expanding employment opportunities for people with disabilities in your community? Here is a chance to launch real change in your local community. We are inviting communities across the state to host their own “community conversations” with support of TennesseeWorks team members and partners. These events are creative and engaging ways of gathering together a cross-section of community members to generate solutions on increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Each mini-grant comes with great support from TennesseeWorks and up to $2,000. Visit the TennesseeWorks website for more information and to apply. The deadline is April 3.

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