The College of Education’s Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation and Counseling now has a program for students with intellectual disabilities.
The Education to Accomplish Growth in Life Experiences for Success, or EAGLES, program is a new, comprehensive transition and postsecondary program for students in the Auburn Transition Leadership Institute, or ATLI.
EAGLES provides an opportunity for students with intellectual disabilities to engage in either a two-year basic or four-year advanced campus residential experience. The program focuses on increasing independence, improving leadership and advocacy skills, preparing the students for employment and developing life skills.
“As the largest land-grant institution in Alabama, it is imperative that Auburn’s academic programs are accessible to all students within our state,” said Timothy Boosinger, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “I am proud to share in the launching of the EAGLES program as we offer young adults with disabilities new opportunities to be academically and socially successful lifelong learners.”
The EAGLES program curriculum focuses on academics, social and career development and health awareness which the acting director of ATLI Courtney Dotson believes will help students transition to become contributing members of society.
“Our main focus is to ensure the students and their families that we are here to support and foster their goals,” Dotson said. “We want each student to not only gain skills and realize his or her full potential but also have a genuine Auburn experience. In particular, the on-campus, residential nature of our program makes it unique and complete. This program is a dream come true for so many families, students and professionals in the area of transition.”
Auburn University alumna and trustee Sarah Newton, alumna Denise Slupe, College of Education Dean Betty Lou Whitford, Department Head of Special Education, Rehabilitation, and Counseling Jamie Carney, and Professors Karen Rabren, Cari Dunn and Courtney Dotson led the initial planning of the program.
“This program was my vision for my grandson to have a college experience at Auburn,” Newton said about her grandson Jack, who has Down Syndrome. “EAGLES will give young people with intellectual disabilities an opportunity to experience collegiate life that is appropriate for them and give them life skills that can help them be independent.”
The first class of approximately six students is scheduled to begin fall 2018, with application information being announced in spring 2018.
“We are very excited about launching EAGLES as it will both address an unmet need and greatly enrich the Auburn campus community,” said Whitford. “The expertise and leadership of our faculty and the greatly appreciated support from Provost Boosinger, trustee Sarah Newton and other university leaders will assure a quality program.”