Texas Tech Promotes Higher Education for Students with Disabilities


DATE: Sept. 20, 2011

CONTACT: Melanie Hess, melanie.hess@ttu.edu
(806) 742-2136

Texas Tech UniversityCollege can be a chaotic and confusing environment for individuals with developmental disabilities.

However, as a result of a recently awarded $1.1 million grant from the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD), Texas Tech University will soon house Project CASE, a program whose goal is to help students with developmental disabilities navigate through the higher education system.

Project CASE (Connections for Academic Success and Employment) will link the Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research at Texas Tech with other education systems, disability programs and local businesses to offer a wider array of coordinated supports and services than typically provided in higher education.

Co-investigators DeAnn Lechtenberger and Dave Richman from the College of Education said this project will identify, recruit and retain students (ages 18 to 25) with developmental disabilities, who are interested in furthering their education beyond high school and pursuing competitive-employment opportunities.

Students accepted into the program will be provided with a wraparound team, which will incorporate active participation of the student, a facilitator, a degree program representative and the participating employer.

“The team will identify the appropriate supports and ensure the student has the opportunity to participate in internships to develop their work skills and employment resume,” Lechtenberger said. “They will work with the business entity and the schools’ career services department to help students obtain competitive employment once they have completed their program of study.”

To participate in Project CASE, students must meet the developmental disability criteria according to the TCDD and the entrance requirements for Texas Tech or South Plains College.

CONTACT: DeAnn Lechtenberger, assistant professor, College of Education, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-1997, or deann.lechtenberger@ttu.edu.