The key component of a successful life is to have a vision of what you want your life to look like.
The role of the inclusion facilitator is to support alumni and families to:
Where on-going support may be required, inclusion facilitators have experience in working with families to hire and train their personal inclusion support staff.
4. Career Choices and Post Graduation
Colleges and Universities are hubs of opportunities and support services explicitly geared towards students' academic, social, emotional and career success. The Ryerson University Student Affairs website provides a snapshot of the all encompassing support they provide to their students and which is typical of all campuses.
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Leaving behind an environment dedicated to the student's well being, and where they can engage with peers their age to pursue common interests, can be very daunting for any student, but especially for students with developmental disabilities and their families.
To get the most out of inclusive post secondary education, and to have in place some of the essential elements for the life that the student hopes to start developing as they move into the next phase of their life, it is essential to begin thinking about what comes after college or university as early as the end of a student's first year.
Incidentally, this dovetails with the shift in thinking that campuses are undergoing. Until recently, it was thought that students should declare their major no later than the beginning of 3rd year. Research is now indicating that for the student to have a greater chance of success, they should define their academic goals as early as the beginning of 2nd year.
Like other students who are graduating, consolidating the elements of housing, career, community, and employment requires on-going experimenting and research. The students who we support will have the advantage of having done some of that researching and experimenting while at college/university and will be better prepared to embark on an inclusive life with the support of families, advocates, and friends.
How the alumni will engage in life, and what activities, interests and careers they will have, will look different for each individual as will how that is supported.For some alumni support will be minimal and infrequent, while others may require more support to consolidate the inclusive life they started to lay down the foundation for at college/university.
Today, we have the expectation that people with developmental disabilities will find gainful employment. While historically that has not been the case, today we are redefining what the term gainful means. Previously "gainful employment" referred to individual working to increase their personal wealth or resources. More and more it is coming to mean where one is not only paid for the work they do, but also a place where they find community and are valued for their contributions.
Adults with developmental disabilities entering the workforce, are generally expected to work in limited entry level positions with no hope of advancement. Students supported to live an inclusion, coherent, life are challenging those assumptions and seeking positions which are pathways to developing a career, community and advancement.