Apr 19, 2024  
2021-22 Catalog 
2021-22 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Disability Specialist, A.S.*

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Program Design

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.

Program Philosophy

People with disabilities are an integral part of the community and should receive necessary integrated community-based support.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Disability Specialist Program is to prepare students for careers in supporting children and adults with disabilities in the community by:

  1. recognizing and enhancing the dignity, respect and contribution of every child and adult with a disability;
  2. providing information on job opportunities in the disability field to encourage the recruitment of young and continuing education students;
  3. emphasizing, throughout the curriculum, community inclusion of all people with disabilities;
  4. creating opportunities for interaction among the students, faculty, staff and members of the community with and without disabilities;
  5. promoting the value of a Disability Specialist degree or certificate in the job market;
  6. 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.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of all Disability Specialist degree program requirements, graduates will:

  1. Define and discuss basic definitions, causes, psychological characteristics and educational approaches relevant to children with disabilities.
  2. Discuss how children and adults with disabilities have unique abilities rather than limitations. 
  3. Identify current trends and issues, and define the impact of current national and state laws and policies, affecting people with disabilities and their families.
  4. Compare various learning theories and their application to children and adults with disabilities.
  5. Define ethical standards in the disability field and demonstrate confidentiality in written and oral assignments. 

In addition, the graduate will complete the comprehensive learning outcomes identified with the General Education Core.

Disability Specialist Requirements

Total Minimum Credits Required: 60


Becoming Connecticut State Community College

STUDENTS: The Community Colleges are undergoing a merger with a plan to become Connecticut State Community College in fall 2023; please work closely with your advisor/program coordinator to select your courses accordingly. See below for more detail about this exciting transition!

Becoming Connecticut State Community College

A merger of Connecticut’s 12 community colleges is underway. Connecticut State Community College (CT State), a statewide college comprised of all Connecticut’s current community college locations, plans to open its doors in the Fall 2023. Here are some important facts students need to know:

  • the final commencement ceremony for Manchester Community College is scheduled for May 2023. Ceremonies will continue to be held at each location as campuses of CT State.
  • as a part of the planned merger, students continuing their studies beyond summer term 2023 will be matched with the CT State program that most closely aligns with their Spring 2023 major and is offered at the Manchester location,
  • students beginning Associate degree programs in Fall 2021 should plan with their advisor/program coordinator to attend full-time if they wish to graduate prior to the planned merger,
  • students who begin an Associate degree program in January 2022 would be anticipated to complete their degree at the merged college, Connecticut State Community College,
  • in all cases, the College is committed to students completing their education with a minimum of disruption and staying in touch with your advisor/program coordinator is essential,
  • further details can be found and will be updated on the Frequently Asked Questions page:  www.ct.edu/ctstate/academics.


Students planning to transfer should take a Mode 5  course with a lab.

‡‡ Students planning to transfer should take MAT* 165 .

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