While this year’s Disability Pride day, which was postponed from spring semester due to COVID 19, will be held during the coming fall semester, there will still be a celebration this spring. A short film created by Dan Habib titled “Opening Doors to College” is set to premier June 19 at noon as a webinar. The film showcases some familiar faces from Millersville University and their journey in college.
Originally set to premier at the annual Disability Pride day in April, “Opening Doors to College” will now be screened online followed by a discussion with Habib and the film’s protagonists. The film follows several students, two of which, Missy Jackson and Curtis Ostrowski, are students in Millersville University’s “Integrated Studies” program. Both Millersville and Temple University are part of the Pennsylvania Inclusive Higher Education Consortium, as well as national efforts, to integrate students with intellectual disabilities into universities.
Not only is the program a way to help those living with intellectual disabilities find stability in life, but it is a way for these students to find a sense of independence. The film depicts these students’ development of friendships and support systems, as well as the impact their friendship has on other non-disabled student’s lives. The students are fully immersed in traditional college experiences from courses to residential life and extracurricular activities.
Recent data supports these employment goals and strategies. People with intellectual disabilities who have not attended an inclusive, postsecondary education initiative are employed at the rate of 17%. Students who have graduated from the Millersville’s program are employed at the rate of 85%.
Dr. Thomas Neuville, the Integrated Studies faculty administrator, explains that a call from another professor spurred the idea for the Integrated Studies program at MU.“I had a professor call me on the phone and he said, ‘There is no place at this university for people with intellectual disabilities.’”
Information on how to register for the online premier can be found here: https://millersville.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_9UkMSy5vStakbUOUMCr4jw