Opening the Door to Higher Education: The Rights of the Intellectually Different to Access and Peace


  • Steve Sunderland University of Cincinnati



Who should go to college? The traditional answer to this question has been changed by policies that allow for the inclusion of students previously denied or discouraged. This article describes a new and innovative program for students with intellectual difficulties who have an interest in transitioning to higher education. The article is more a field report, describing some of the questions and concerns that that staff and students had about such an experience on a college campus. It offers personal reflections on some of the experience of being in classrooms, residence halls, concert halls, and living and learning events. The basic issue of freedom of action and choice for each student is a constant thread of concern that is described. Overall, the article describes the hope for a fully inclusive experience for all students.

"The shift toward citizenship is to take the stance that we are the creators of our world as well as the products of it. Free will trumps genetics, culture and parental upbringing."

Block (2008, p. 67)

"Getting into a vibrant college campus was a liberation."

Shapiro (1993, p. 46)






Special Topic: Disability Studies in the Undergraduate Classroom, Pt. 8: Accessing Spaces and Histories