CDS administers Disability Studies, UD’s largest minor; it coordinates a Career and Life Services Certificate (CLSC) program for individuals with intellectual disabilities; and it created a Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program that trains graduate students and postdoctoral residents in person-centered care.
In only its 20th year, Disability Studies is the University of Delaware’s most popular minor, and for a fourth consecutive year. Drawing students from disciplines spanning cognitive science, elementary education and even history, management and art, the minor allows them, in the words of one student, “to connect with peers from different majors who share a passion.”
For some students, that passion is about better appreciating and supporting the 20 percent of people who have a disability. For others, it’s about enhancing their abilities to create a more inclusive society. For still others, it’s about increasing their knowledge and skills so they can boost their marketability for advanced degrees and careers in related fields. Learn how the minor can facilitate all those things here.
Most adults with intellectual disabilities are told they will never go to college. Yet in many ways, college offers the exact type of opportunities that support the goals of people with intellectual disabilities: furthering education, establishing career goals, connecting with peers and learning how to use natural supports and live interdependently.
Students in CLSC attend UD for two years. They take undergraduate courses, join clubs, hold internships and can also live in the UD residence halls. The Career & Life Studies Certificate (CLSC) program is the only college program in Delaware designed specifically for people with intellectual disabilities. CLSC is part of a growing national movement which recognizes that students with intellectual disabilities should have the option to attend college.
Delaware’s growing capacity for serving people with ASD and their families requires a new generation of leaders to sustain and guarantee its future success.
The Delaware Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) training program is part of a national network of training programs for pre-professionals, professionals, self-advocates and family members that promotes interdisciplinary, culturally competent, family-centered care. A year-long intensive training program offers experiential learning opportunities for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, family members and self-advocates, who work together to understand the most pressing challenges and develop innovative solutions. Trainees work with experts at the University of Delaware and Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children, and with self-advocates and families in their homes and natural environments, as they are tasked with considering how they will contribute as future leaders in their field.
Students with autism have incredible talent that too often goes unrecognized. Many autistic students have the ability to succeed in higher education, which can boost their career opportunities. Yet the adjustment to college life can be difficult, given rules for relating with peers and faculty, higher-level academic requirements, and expectations for individual decision-making and self-advocacy.
In collaboration with JPMorgan Chase & Co., UD has developed Spectrum Scholars, a program overseen by CDS that offers a system of supports and career development opportunities for undergraduate students with autism majoring in Computer & Information Sciences or Electrical & Computer Engineering. Spectrum Scholars receive coaching on how to develop study skills, campus connections and self-determination they will need to succeed in college and in their careers. UD faculty and staff, as well as community members, also receive training and consultation as we develop a campus community that increasingly appreciates neurodiversity.