College Bound program helps students with disabilities to transition
June 13, 2008
College Bound, a transition program for students with disabilities who are interested in attending college, will be hosted at Virginia Tech June 18 through June 20.
High school juniors, seniors, or rising college freshmen and their parents are eligible to attend. In addition, sessions are provided for educators, counselors, and college disability services professionals. Now in its 10th year, participants at this workshop experience the life of a college student, spending two nights in a residence hall, enjoying meals in the university dining facility, interacting with college-bound peers and college students with disabilities.
Former Virginia Tech basketball player Rayna DuBose will be the keynote speaker at the Wednesday luncheon. DuBose contracted meningococcal meningitis, leading to a heart attack, collapsed lungs, kidney failure, a coma, and the amputation of parts of all four limbs in 2002. In 2003 she received the Most Courageous Award at the Men's Final Four basketball tournament in New Orleans, La. In 2005 she received the Wilma Rudolph Award. Dubose has also made appearances on HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, CBS Sports, the CBS Early Show, and local news stations. Dubose graduated from Virginia Tech in 2007 with a degree in Consumer Studies.
“The transition to college is a challenge for all students,” said Susan Asselin, a professor in Virginia Tech’s School of Education and co-director of the program. “College Bound offers students with disabilities the opportunity to learn what it takes to succeed in college, said Asselin. “During our three day program, participants get a chance to spend time with successful college student leaders with disabilities and participate in informative sessions focusing on advocacy skill, assistive technology, study and organization skills, and balancing social and academic college life. This year we will be adding visits to engineering and science labs and research centers to encourage student interest in STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] careers.”
For parents of students, College Bound is an opportunity to acquire transition information as it uniquely relates to preparing for this critical life transition. It also gives parents the opportunity to network with their peers and explore aspects of their changing role as the parents of a college student.
Since 2006, College Bound has also served special education teachers, instructional assistants, transition specialists, guidance counselors, rehabilitation counselors, and high school administrators. These professionals have several sessions to choose from, including assistive technologies, transition curriculum, disability documentation, and networking with parents.
According to Asselin, their favorite sessions have been with successful college students who share their transition to college experiences and the impact of professional support. “We recognize that planning for college begins well before entry into secondary education,” said Asselin. “If professionals have these tools, they can improve the chances that their students with a disability not only enter but successfully complete a college degree.”
College Bound is a collaborative effort between Virginia Tech, New River Community College, and Radford University and is co-sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education’s Training and Technical Assistance Center at Radford University, the Virginia Department of Rehabilitation Services, Virginia Assistive Technology System, PEPNet-South, and Virginia Tech’s School of Education.