At the University of Cincinnati (UC), Advancement and Transition Services (ATS) serves over 100 people with disabilities each year. Their efforts are not only to help students manage college life at UC, but also to achieve their personal, social and professional goals.
As of 2016, a survey by the National Center for Education Statistics reported that about 19% of undergraduates reported having a disability.
ATS’s mission is to “foster quality of life experiences for people with disabilities through innovative research, education and science,” according to their website. It provides programs and resources that aim to help individuals with disabilities become more independent, realize their full potential and fulfill their purpose.
One of their programs, the Transition and Access Program (TAP) is a four-year college education program for students with mild to moderate intellectual or developmental disabilities. TAP students live on campus, take classes, have internships and career exploration opportunities and are involved in student organizations. TAP Students earn a university recognized certificate after completing the program.
IMPACT Innovation is another program provided by ATS offered to adults affected by autism or communication, behavior and sensory issues. It’s focused on lifelong learning, healthy living and vocational exploration.
The program focuses highly on providing activities to their associates based on their personal interests, and last year’s agenda included art shows and individualized exercise plans for the 23 enrolled.
Associates aren’t the only ones impacted by their experiences with IMPACT, however. Student workers at IMPACT can engage with program associates in a variety of ways, including going to the recreation center, assisting with internships, eating together on campus and taking part in other social activities.
Jacob Oney, a third-year pre-physical therapy student, currently works at IMPACT and reflects that his experience has been just that: impactful.
“Seeing growth in the individuals I have worked with is incredibly satisfying and it makes you feel so proud when they achieve their goals,” said Oney. “This experience is very meaningful to me because I have learned how to become a more accessible person for those with developmental disabilities.”
Oney says his favorite memory has been watching the associates participate in creative activities like art and theatre classes. “Seeing them performing and expressing themselves is a lot of fun,” he said.
One of the program’s associates that Oney worked with loved being in the kitchen, so IMPACT collaborated with Center Court to allow him to work and learn more about cooking. Oney said he enjoyed being able to watch him learn and use his skills in the workplace.
This fall, ATS is looking to recruit more student workers, from any year and major, to assist with the two programs.