The Disability Specialist associate degree program prepares students to work in a wide range of positions in private and public educational and human service agencies. Through individual consultation, each student will pursue a course of study with an emphasis upon the unique vocational goals he or she wishes to achieve. Every effort will be made to provide specific skill instruction; however, the focus of the curriculum is on building a strong knowledge base coupled with a positive value base that will prepare each student to assist children and adults with disabilities toward the goals of full community inclusion and participation, and the attainment of their potential.
This program builds upon the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, a landmark piece of legislation that provides basic civil rights to millions of people with disabilities in America. Students will become an important part of this dynamic movement.
Since most work settings are in the schools, workplaces, community associations, apartments and homes in the community, an understanding of “community-building” and “individual capacity-building” techniques and procedures is stressed. Creativity, sensitivity and a capacity to concentrate on the abilities of the whole person are essential characteristics of a disability specialist.
People with disabilities are an integral part of the community and should receive necessary integrated community-based support.
The mission of the Disability Specialist Program is to prepare students for careers in supporting children and adults with disabilities in the community by:
- recognizing and enhancing the dignity, respect and contribution of every child and adult with a disability;
- providing information on job opportunities in the disability field to encourage the recruitment of young and continuing education students;
- emphasizing, throughout the curriculum, community inclusion of all people with disabilities;
- creating opportunities for interaction among the students, faculty, staff and members of the community with and without disabilities;
- promoting the value of a Disability Specialist degree or certificate in the job market;
- introducing students to assistive technology and other innovations in the continuously evolving field of supporting people with disabilities in the community.
Because of the flexible nature of this program, students may select a full- or part-time plan of study for an associate degree or a certificate option.