National Down Syndrome Society Joins Forces with Advocates in Texas to Expand Postsecondary Opportunities for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
New York, NY/Austin, Texas – May 23, 2013. Senator Judith Zaffirini of the 21st Senatorial District and Representative Elliott Naishtat of the 49th District of Texas introduced a resolution today in the Texas Legislature recognizing the importance of postsecondary education for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities in attaining a secure and rewarding livelihood.
The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) is teaming up with the Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas (DSACT) and the Texas Down syndrome Advocacy Coalition (TDAC) to expand postsecondary education opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities in the state of Texas.
“This Texas resolution puts a stake in the ground that all people with intellectual disabilities, including Down syndrome, can go to college. Ultimately, postsecondary education serves as a mechanism for individuals with disabilities to lead more independent lives, live in the community, and will help people with Down syndrome realize and achieve their own hopes, dreams, and aspirations,” said NDSS President Jon Colman.
TDAC is also recognizing NDSS President Jon Colman with a leadership award for his outstanding service leadership in programmatic and advocacy efforts on behalf of children and adults with Down syndrome and their families in Texas.
“We know there's a high correlation of positive competitive employment outcomes for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities who participate in postsecondary education programs. Our hope is that this resolution will build awareness of the importance of providing students with intellectual and developmental disabilities access to inclusive college programs that will maximize student potential and lead to meaningful, gainful employment and will increase support for the expansion of high quality inclusive college programs in all regions of Texas,” said DSACT Program Director & Government Affairs Director and TDAC Co-Chair Gerard Jimenez.
According to ThinkCollege, there are over 250 programs across the country that focus on postsecondary education for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In Texas, there are three two-year college programs. The citizens of Texas need more opportunities for all individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to pursue inclusive educational experiences beyond the K-12 system.