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College Bound Program helps students with disabilities


BLACKSBURG, Va., June 16, 2006 – College Bound, a transition program for students with disabilities who are interested in attending college, will be hosted at Virginia Tech June 21 through 23.

Commonwealth of Virginia high school juniors, seniors, or upcoming college freshmen and their parents are eligible to attend. Participants at this workshop will 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.

For parents, College Bound is an opportunity to acquire transition information as it uniquely relates to students with disabilities. 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.

“Our goal is to provide information and experiences that will better prepare students for the transition to post-secondary education,” said College Bound coordinator Maureen Weyer. “We recognize that planning for college begins well before entry into secondary education,” said Asselin. “If teachers have these tools, they can improve the chances that their students with a disability not only enter but successfully complete a college degree.”

“They will have the opportunity to discuss policies and strategies with disability service providers, and are given hands-on opportunities with assistive technologies. Workshop topics include leadership, self-advocacy, assistive technology, college prep, learning styles, study skills, and team building.”

Area educators were also invited this year to learn more about how they might facilitate planning for transition into college. Funded by a grant from the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities, Susan Asselin, professor in Virginia Tech’s School of Education, and Virginia Reilly, of the Virginia Tech ADA Office, and Weyer designed lessons to provide students with knowledge and awareness of careers, assistive technology, and advocacy skills for college.

"We recognize that planning for college begins well before entry into secondary eduction," said Asselyn. "If teachers have these tools, they can improve the chances that their students with a disability not only enter, but successfully complete, the college degree."

Now in its seventh year, College Bound is a collaborative effort of the Virginia Department of Education and the Training and Technical Assistance Center, Virginia Tech, Radford University, New River Community College, and Virginia Assistive Technology System. The cost is $150 per student; there is no cost for parents.

Chris Skinner, a former College Bound leader and motivational speaker, said “I think it’s a great program because the kids are able to see us, and see us with our disabilities, and see where we are in college. It gives them a hope for the future. And with this program, it allows you to learn to use your resources and how to go about approaching people about your disability and you know, talking to your teachers and peers about your disabilities, and how you can get help in your classes and your school work.”

For more information, contact Weyer at 540-231-4270 or visit the Southwest Virginia Assistive Technology System website.

The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech embraces the arts, humanities, social and human sciences, and education. The college nurtures intellect and spirit, enlightens decision-making, inspires positive change, and improves the quality of life for people of all ages. It is home to the departments of apparel, housing and resource management, communication, educational leadership and policy studies, English, foreign languages and literatures, history; human development, interdisciplinary studies, music, philosophy, political science, ROTC, science and technology in society, sociology, teaching and learning, and theatre arts. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.