Please join NBC10 Boston and Easterseals Massachusetts for Giving Day LEARN on March 25 to help support their many disability services in schools across the state.
Most people agree that college is a rewarding journey and comes with its own set of unique challenges. Some common obstacles for successfully earning a college degree include lack of finances or motivation. However, for students with disabilities, those obstacles may be things as simple as communicating with
professors, or riding the “T” to class.
In 2018, a team of experts in disability youth services at Easterseals Massachusetts launched College Navigator to better support, resource and equip students with disabilities throughout their entire college experience. This smart and innovative program creates an individualized plan for students with disabilities designed to set them up for success in post-secondary education.
Students partner closely with a "navigator" who helps them identify their personal barriers, advocate for their specific needs and create a supportive environment to thrive in college.
Nationally, only 41% of students with autism succeed in a post-secondary environment, a consequence of the sharp decrease in academic assistance for students with disabilities in college compared to high school.
In Massachusetts, 90% of students enrolled in College Navigator successfully graduate with this support system in place.
“These students have worked hard to get accepted into college, are paying tuition for college, and deserve supports beyond what the traditional disability services offices can offer them to ensure that they continue to succeed in their newfound environment,” said Alexandra Ullrich, College Navigator program manager.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
Since its inception, the program has served 45 students in Massachusetts and celebrated its first graduate last year.
College Navigator demonstrates how Easterseals Massachusetts provides first class and personal services, and continually identifies unmet needs of the community.
According to Easterseals Massachuetts CEO Paul Medeiros, programs are not static or one dimensional and must be reflexive and responsive to effectively address priorities of a society that values inclusion and fairness.
How can you help? Easterseals Massachusetts has designated March 25, 2021 as Giving Day LEARN, a 24-hour period to raise awareness and funds for their disability services for education.
To donate and to learn more about College Navigator and other services for students with disabilities, visit GDLearn.eastersealsma.org.