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Grant Provides Educational Opportunities for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

January 27, 2011 — The Wyoming Institute for Disabilities (WIND) at the University of Wyoming will receive federal funding to support statewide strategic planning of post-secondary educational opportunities for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The initiative will be the first of its kind in Wyoming, says William MacLean Jr., WIND executive director in the UW College of Health Sciences. He says there are now no postsecondary educational options for students with intellectual disabilities. 

"The first step in the process is to conduct a statewide strategic planning effort. There are many types of programs that have been developed; some are two-year, some are four-year, some are dual-enrollment, some are residential, and others are not," says MacLean Jr. "A stakeholder group will be considering all of the possible alternatives and decide what will work best for Wyoming."

Postsecondary opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities can encompass a variety of programs ranging from community colleges, colleges/universities or trade schools.  

Five other University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities will receive funding for strategic planning this year from Think College, a program at the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. These states are Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, Utah and Wisconsin. 

Funding for the planning effort comes from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities.  The grant will be used to fund the activities of the stakeholder group consisting of prospective students, educational and disability professionals, families and self-advocates. WIND's official first planning effort will commence this month, MacLean Jr. says.

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