A college experience for students with intellectual disabilities is being provided by Mississippi State University, and students are having positive experiences with college life and transitioning to adult living.
MSU senior Keely McCulla works directly with Spencer Kirkpatrick in preparing for tests. She patiently asks each question in the study guide, as he prepares for a test in Day One, a freshman leadership class.
Kirkpatrick has a typical college experience. He will work in the afternoon, nap in his dorm room before meeting a friend at the on campus fitness center to work out. He has made friends and joined clubs. He knows his way around the MSU campus. He has Down Syndrome, and attends MSU through the ACCESS program.
The ACCESS program is a comprehensive program that promotes transition of students with intellectual disabilities to college education. Kirkpatrick has new experiences common to everyone in college, but he is also learning to go to the cafeteria when he is hungry, walk to class, and send emails. He has never done these things on his own before.
“I love college,” Kirkpatrick said.