“They are treated like adults for the first time,” says Laura Albee, Post University’s new Program Chair of the University Pathways Program (UPP).
The University Pathways Program (UPP) is in collaboration with EdAdvance (one of Connecticut’s six Regional Educational Service Centers). It is an 11-month transitional program for those with disabilities or limitations of any kind between the ages of 17-21. UPP offers two distinct pathways aligned with the Connecticut Core Transitions Skills.
The University Students Pathway Program is for learners who have the cognitive capacity to complete university-level work while the Emerging Students Pathway Program is for fully supported learners with goals focused on future outcomes in their own community.
Between Albee’s education, history of work, and personal experiences, there couldn’t be a better fit for this position. While her undergraduate degree is in the performing arts, Albee’s life experiences led her to go back to school and receive two master’s degrees – one in special education with an emphasis on autism spectrum disorder and applied behavior analysis and the other in social work. In addition, she is currently studying for her doctorate in social work (DSW) at Southern Connecticut State University.
Albee had two children, both born with disabilities. Raising a child or two with a disability would provide anyone with challenges; however, Albee has been able to use her experiences as opportunities for personal growth. She struggled to accommodate the educational needs of her son who had Tourette syndrome.
“My son had a brain. He was very smart – a high honors student. He was also an athlete. He was just misunderstood,” said Albee.
School administrators and parents did not understand her son, causing him to be shunned by fellow classmates and teammates. Rather than tear her down, the adversities Albee went through made her a strong individual with a desire to ignite change.
Once she went back to school and received her master’s degrees, Albee began working as a behavior analyst. She worked within a residential capacity, helping families to keep children in homes. She spent a few years at Torrington District Wide working within the school systems as a behavior analytic programmer.
In her role at the University, Albee plans to expand Post’s relationships with school districts and build a cohesive program where districts can identify students who have potential before diving into a full college program. She feels it is important to sit in on the courses that these students are taking and design them in ways that resonate with all students.
These UPP students take introductory courses among their other peers, while also taking a transition course with Albee where they really learn and develop their goals and objectives for their Individual Education Plan (IEP). This plan ensures that students with disabilities are provided with an appropriate education that is tailored to individual needs.
“Behavioral health is a national tsunami surging into every community, family, race, creed, and gender,” says Albee. “Schools, healthcare organizations, and related community groups should serve as conduits for promoting brain-health and wellness. With increased awareness and assistance, we may reduce suicidal ideation and completion. We may encourage best practices for life-long wellness. Mostly, we may offer hope to the afflicted that life can and will get better.”
There will be two sessions on Tuesday, October 15. Each one will introduce prospective students and families to the University Pathways Program, see the campus and meet the faculty and staff. Each of the sessions will be held in Macdermid Hall Building (Room 116). Lite refreshments will be served.
• Session One: NOON to 1:30 p.m.
• Session Two: 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Families looking for additional information, contact [email protected]