DREAMS + FACTS + FAQ + LINKS
LeadLearnLive is focused on helping students like Jacob, Sarah, and Elijah.
Jacob has a natural talent with sound technology and wants be a broadcast engineer.
Sarah has won multiple awards for drama and wants to be a history teacher.
Elijah is a gifted artist and wants to create video games using his art.
These students and hundreds like them in Oklahoma deserve the chance to achieve their dreams.
High School Graduation, NOW WHAT?
Every year, several hundred students with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD) graduate from Oklahoma high schools. Many of these students are very bright and will have out-performed their peers without disabilities. What does their future hold? For those who want to continue learning and attend college, but who cannot meet traditional admissions standards, there is only one four-year program in Oklahoma which provides the supports necessary for them to be successful. That program is the RiverHawks Scholar Program at Northeastern State University. Statistics show impressive success for those students who complete similar programs, illustrating the need for many programs in our state!:
36% without attending a college program (1)
75% after completing a college program (2)
39% without attending a college program (1)
71% after completing a college program (2)
In addition, the Full Time Employment rate for individuals with Asperger's Syndrome or High Functioning Autism is 12%, and 80% live as a dependent with a family member throughout their life (3). LeadLearnLive wants to change these outcomes!
Sources (1) National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (2) Average outcome data provided by "Beyond Academics" at University of North Carolina Greensboro and "REACH" at College of Charleston (3) Asperger's Network Support for Well-being, Education and Research
The statistics speak for themselves. Students with intellectual or developmental disabilities can contribute to our communities and thrive with increased independence and employment.
And you can help today by contributing to our efforts to complete the funding for the first program as well as provide support for additional programs!
If you don't find answers to your questions, please contact us.
Are all the programs in other states like the program you are planning to begin in Oklahoma?
Programs in other states differ in many ways; some colleges or universities have 2 or 3 year programs even if located on a 4 year campus.
LeadLearnLive has the focus to begin and support programs modeled after programs that have some of the best outcomes in the nation. Think College is a terrific resource for seeing what is available in other states - find them in our "Links" section!
I have heard there are already programs at some colleges in Oklahoma and that students can attend college now even if they don't meet admission requirements. Can you clarify?
That is a great question! There is only one fully inclusive program for students with intellectual or developmental disabilities in Oklahoma that provide the supports we outline. That program is the LeadLearnLive funded RiverHawks Scholar Program at Northeastern State University. There is a program at USAO for students with autism that can maintain full time enrollment and meet general admission standards, but that does not include students with intellectual disabilities. There may also be support groups or other assistance some colleges provide that is unique to them, but these are limited and not full programs that encompass the types of supports LeadLearnLive is working to start. In addition, colleges may allow a certain number of students to attend that do not meet general admission requirements, however, this is very different from providing a program for these students. So far, The RiverHawks Scholar Program at Northeastern State University is the only program in Oklahoma of its kind. We need more options for our students!
I have heard that there may be other programs in planning stages that are the same as LeadLearnLive’s program. How is this effort different?
LeadLearnLive is working hard to develop programs that are best practice models. The structure and components within the programs ensure a comprehensive and fully integrated program in a college or university. We are receiving council from national experts such as the Executive Director of College of Charleston’s REACH program as well as the Co-Director’s of Think College, the National Coordinating Center for these program’s. We also are working with dedicated LEA’s (Local Education Agencies – High Schools that will connect with the program) as well as with Dept. of Rehabilitation Services (Vocational Rehabilitation- which supports with job placement upon completion of the program) The components of the program, comprehensive support and national expertise involvement is unique to LeadLearnLive’s effort.
What criteria has LeadLearnLive considered to determine the best location for the program?
The criteria that parents have shared that is important to them for their kids at a college/university includes:
Safety: The safety of our kids is very important as our population can be more vulnerable than other students. National ranking organizations, such as collegefactual, rate colleges with an “A” through “F” rating regarding crime. The colleges/universities we look at for our program receive an “A” or “B” rating.
Size of Campus: Typically, a campus size of an undergraduate enrollment of 3,000 or above is ideal as it allows for a broad base of students to pull mentors from, allows for more campus organization choices for students to be involved in and is more representative of the community as a whole when integrating a program for students with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
Affordability: What we have heard from parents is that tuition is a concern. The cost of tuition, fees and room and board we have based our financial model on is consistent with what public state regional universities charge.
Components of the program: Parents have been clear about their need for the program to have the 4 pillars of Independent Living, Social Skills, Academics and Career Development that are outlined in this site. There are many programs in the nation, but not many that are truly comprehensive. We have only considered colleges/universities that will follow our best practice model.
Are experts involved in LeadLearnLive’s effort, or is this parent led?
Although we are parents of kids with disabilities, we recognize it takes more than being a parent to begin successful programs in our state. We have built relationships both in the state as well as in the nation since 2012 when we began this effort. Those relationships include state agency representatives as well as great relationships with those in the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, and those in state legislature. In addition, we felt we needed nationally recognized experts directly involved with Lead Learn Live, therefore, we have those experts on our Advisory Board such as Donald Bailey – who started this effort in South Carolina which now has 5 programs in place, Edie Cusack – Executive Director of nationally recognized “REACH” program at College of Charleston, and Dr. Meg Grigal – Co-Director of Think College, which is the national coordinating center for college programs for individuals with IDD.
How can I prepare my son or daughter to be ready for college?
We hear this question often. We suggest you encourage your son or daughter be involved in as many and varied activities as possible. Support and develop special interests and encourage involvement in the community. Experience in a part time job, volunteering, going to camp or other short trips without parent involvement are all great contributors to preparation for going away to college. In addition, take your son or daughter to visit college campuses, take the tours and talk about it with them. College should be and will be a choice for our kids in Oklahoma, let’s help them be prepared!
When will more programs be available?
We are continuing to work to complete the funding for this first flagship program at Northeastern State University as well as providing the support needed to help these programs succeed. Join us to complete the funding for this first program by Donating Now!
Amazing resources for everyone interested in PSE opportunities for our kids
Organization that started 5 programs in South Carolina – good resource for information.
College of Charleston REACH: Amazing comprehensive, fully integrated 4 year program in South Carolina.
An incredible resource for Oklahoma families that promotes a system of wide ranging services for Oklahoma children and youth with special needs. We are thankful that Sooner Success is a champion for LeadLearnLive!