Photo: Using an iPad app, Colton Vazquez, a senior at Allderdice High School, works on a lesson in managing money with school paraprofessional Daryl Anderson. Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource.
Like many of his classmates at Squirrel Hill’s Allderdice High School, senior Colton Vazquez has toured colleges in a handful of states, awaited acceptance letters and is now envisioning how he will adapt to his new college home — with one small, but critical difference.
Colton, an 18-year-old resident of Regent Square, is among a new generation of students with intellectual disability taking the leap from high school to college by way of “inclusive higher education” programs. These programs are now available at many colleges across the nation, including some in Pennsylvania.
This fall, Colton, who has Down syndrome, will be one of a few thousand high school graduates attending college in a non-traditional yet quite regular way. These students will commute to their campuses or live in dorms, audit classes or take them for credit, become more independent and self-reliant, explore career interests and make new friends. In other words, they’ll be doing exactly what their fellow college students are doing.
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