The work of STEPS Forward is rooted in the belief that inclusive post-secondary education is a pivotal element of a fully inclusive life. For this reason, STEPS Forward works to create a typical university or college experience, with course work running from September through April, and a co-op employment term from May through August, over the course of approximately 4-5 years. For the same reason, STEPS Forward works with individuals, families and systems, not only throughout a college or university experience, but also, before and after that time.
Before college or university we:
• Meet with families, service providers and school personnel (K-12) to provide general information about inclusive post-secondary education opportunitie at their local college or and university
• Conduct orientation sessions with individuals who self-identify as having a developmental disability and are interested in becoming a student at a local post-secondary educational institution.
• Assist high school students with developmental disabilities in their transition from high school to inclusive post secondary education
At college or university we:
• Ensure that at least one student who is receiving STEPS Forward support at each post-secondary institution is a student with significant and complex challenges
• Provide staff support to students with a developmental disability who are pursuing an inclusive post-secondary education
• Assist students at post-secondary institutions to enrol, select courses, identify a concentration of studies and potential career paths that can be explored both through academics and summer co-op employment terms
• Research the resources and generic supports available on campus with the objective of using supports available to all students
• Adapt the environment to encourage participation. i.e. modifying course materials, assignments, or exams, or adapting duties at a job or volunteer position, identifying and supporting peer volunteers and natural workplace supports.
• Assist students in identifying areas of interest and opportunities for engagement in campus communities
• Meet regularly with the students on an individual basis, to monitor progress, identify potential changes to choices or goals, explore potential new relationships that could result in employment, friendships or activities. Strategize about how to improve support and the outcomes desired by the student.
• Hold regular end-of-term meetings with families or advocates, and the students
• Liaise with faculty, campus staff, employers and others to ensure successful inclusion in courses, activities, and employment.
After college or university we:
• Liaise and network with the business/employer community to explore and identify long-term employment opportunities for students in their chosen career. i.e., joining the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, presenting at Rotary Club meetings.
• Assist students who have recently completed their studies in establishing employment and community activities