Real life job experience for students is an important part of helping those with intellectual and developmental disabilities learn lessons in life skills.
Through the Seamless Transition through Enhanced Partnership, or STEP, program, students are learning the real applications of math, reading, and social interactions.
“The program was started because many of these types of students would graduate from high school and then just sit at home and not be productive,” STEP instructor Karen Morgan said. “They do have abilities that will qualify them for work in the competitive world of work, and so they just needed some training and support.”
Typical activities include adding up items in a menu and figuring out the total cost, and planning meals within a set budget. In the afternoon, students go to Boone Hospital Center for their internships.
“It covers a lot of the skills that any individual would need to know to be successful out in the community,” Morgan said. “They’ve had people think for them too much, and so that’s one of our biggest challenges each year — we’re trying to teach the interns how to think on their own, to problem solve and prioritize.”