Every year in Ontario, at least 1,000 people with an intellectual disability leave high school when they turn 21. In most places, there is no path to post secondary education.
Karen has attended classes such as Theatre for Young People alongside post-secondary students through the program. “I feel happy,” said Karen. “I felt full of energy. I’m learning lots about me. This is a big step for me. I was surprised at what I could do.”
Learning to be the change
In 2009, the Social Transition and Education Program (STEP) organization was formed. This is a Queen's student-led club with a mission to help students with intellectual disability integrate into the Queen’s community. Currently, young adults participating in the IPSE Program know very little about the post-secondary environment because they do not have access to the various social resources that can introduce and welcome them into the school’s rich and diverse campus. STEP works to provide the support and resources needed to make our IPSE students feel at home while on campus. Based on their interests and personal profiles, STEP pairs IPSE students with experienced full-time students in hopes of making the environment more accessible and welcoming. Students explore the community, participate in social and academic events, and join clubs and organizations. Their buddies also assist them with their school work or provide advice on any issues they may be experiencing. H'art School and STEP require members to have completed reference checks and police background checks.
Club Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org