Attending a university like Texas A&M University is a dream many students with intellectual and developmental disabilities never get to fulfill. They have the same wants and desires as other students, but many universities do not have the programs available to support them.
This fall, that changes for the state of Texas with the launch of Aggie ACHIEVE, the state’s first inclusive, four-year postsecondary education program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Aggie ACHIEVE (Academic Courses in Higher Inclusive Education and Vocational Experiences) is a certificate-based inclusive higher education program for young adults with disabilities to expand their interests and prepare them for employment.
While the students involved in Aggie ACHIEVE will not receive a degree from Texas A&M, they will graduate with a certificate that acknowledges their successful completion of the program.
Aggie ACHIEVE is the brainchild of Dr. Carly Gilson, assistant professor of special education in Texas A&M’s College of Education & Human Development.
“This is not meant to be a place to come get the college experience and then go back to what you were doing before. The intention of this program is to provide a rigorous education, academics and employment experience that will prepare these young adults to go out and work in the community in a job they are interested in that matches their strengths,” Gilson said.