Please join us for our last episode in our Spotlight Series: A Focus on Education. Annette Hines speaks with Cat Weir, Program Director and Debra Hart, Co-Principal Investigator of Think College, a part of ICI, Institute for Community Inclusion. Learning does not stop at age 18 for those with intellectual disabilities and offering those who have entered adulthood an opportunity for growth in over one hundred college programs is what Think College is all about. With the only national database on college programs for those with intellectual disabilities, families can find approved college programs with financial aid that offer person centered planning, additional support services, flexible degree, certificate, and non-degree programs. These inclusive and authentic programs help adults learn life skills like time management, social emotional interaction, trial, and error as well as other growth enhancing skills Think College has reported that these programs have enabled students with positive outcomes in life satisfaction and employment opportunities! So, listen in and learn more about what Think College could offer your young adult. As our guests say “If you don’t know, you don’t go!” 

Debra Hart is the director of the Education and Transition team and co-principal investigator of the Think College Network and the National Coordinating Center for the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She has over 30 years of experience working with students with disabilities, their families, and professionals to support youth in becoming valued members of their community via participation in inclusive K-12 education, inclusive higher education, and competitive integrated employment.

Cate Weir has spent her career working towards the inclusion and full participation of individuals with intellectual disabilities. She has spent over twenty years working to assure that students with intellectual disabilities can attend college in states throughout the US. She has served as the project coordinator and now the Program Director for the Think College Network and the National Coordinating Center for the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, since its inception in 2010, where she coordinates all project activities, including technical assistance, training, dissemination, and data collection.

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As of January 1, 2022, Special Needs Companies, Special Needs Law Group and Special Needs Family Services will all be housed in this new location. They will be working with designers and contractors to create a family-friendly environment that is special needs accessible.  Annette wants to hear from you – what is something you would like to see or something that would make your visit more comfortable when you visit a professional’s office.  Of course, they will focus on ramps and more handicapped parking but are there other items that you would like to see or were maybe lacking in your last visit to a professional’s office? Please reach out HERE and let us know! 

For information on other topics, please also check out Special Needs Companies. For legal advice, inspiration, and other resources, visit our blog here. Similarly, you can always listen to previous podcast episodes (and be sure to leave us a review), or download our free eBook here. We are always looking for podcast guests as well so please let us know if you or someone you know, has a special needs or disability topic you would like to speak about – Contact Us! 

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Annette Hines has been practicing in the areas of Special Needs, Elder Law, and Estate Planning for more than 20 years. Ms. Hines brings personal experience with special needs to her practice and podcasts as the mother of two daughters, one of whom passed away from Mitochondrial disease in November 2013. This deep, personal understanding of special needs fuels her passion for quality special needs planning and drives her dedication to help others within the special needs community.