Transitioning Education: Building Opportunities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities

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In 1975, the U.S Federal government enacted legislation, Education for All Handicapped Children Act (amended in 1990 to be called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), that granted free and equal access to education for all children regardless of any cognitive or physical disabilities. As a result of this legislation, many students with intellectual disabilities benefited from early intervention and integration into the regular classroom which enabled them to attain greater levels of achievement. As these students are now reaching the post-secondary education level, colleges and universities are creating programs to further advance the level of education available to individuals with disabilities. In order to meet the growing demand, post-secondary schools will need to build facilities that accommodate this increasingly diverse population of students. This thesis imagines an integrated learning environment that will be able to meet the growing, varying needs of those with intellectual disabilities, and in turn, discover an environment that fosters learning for all students, intellectually disabled or not.