Feature Issue on Inclusive Higher Education for People with Intellectual, Developmental, and Other Disabilities

From the Editors

Much progress has been made in the past decade to advance the inclusion of students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in higher education. While diversity and equity are receiving renewed focus on campus, efforts to broaden opportunities for students with IDD are growing, too. Interest still outweighs availability, however, with enrollment in higher education of people with IDD still far below the number of students with IDD completing high school.

This issue of Impact highlights critical areas of need for inclusive higher education. Accreditation holds promise for ensuring the quality experience that students and their families seek. Opening inclusive programs to a wider cross section of students is also important, as is making sure programs are truly inclusive, offering coursework that leads to competitive employment.

You’ll learn about partnerships making inclusive higher education work today, about programs aiming to diversify enrollment, and about strategies to build self-determination in the college context. You’ll meet young adults living in campus housing, taking classes, working part-time, and joining organizations. Please note that throughout the publication, authors may reference different terms to describe students and programs. For example, some programs may be exclusively for students with intellectual disability, while some include students with other disabilities. Some initiatives may be specifically termed inclusive postsecondary education programs as defined under legislation, others may refer generally to inclusive higher education, and others may simply reference programs for people with varying disabilities, whether or not they are inclusive.

These stories offer a glimpse at the personal and professional growth that happens when colleges open their doors to people with IDD. We hope this issue motivates all of us to expand our expectations for inclusive higher education and create better futures for people with IDD.