Impacts of an Inclusive Education Program for Adults with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities Within a Postsecondary Environment
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AbstractOver the last two decades, postsecondary institutions in Canada and globally have created programs to include persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD) in higher education. These programs vary in their scope but generally aim to provide an inclusive opportunity for persons with IDD to attend postsecondary education alongside their same-aged peers. This research study focused on one program at a university in Southern Ontario that has been providing an inclusive campus experience for over 25 years. The study was guided by the research question, “What are the impacts realized by former program participants, their parents/caregivers, former student volunteers, and university partners from involvement with an inclusive education program within a postsecondary environment”? Interview data were derived from 17 semi-structured interviews across four stakeholder groups and were examined using thematic analyses. Findings indicated three major areas of impact: friendship, growth, and belonging. Implications describe steps for broader implementation and a call-to-action for postsecondary institutions to push for greater inclusivity of persons with IDD within higher education.
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