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WATCH: UC Program’s New Living and Learning Community Serves Young Adults with Intellectual Disabilities


The program provides opportunities for all students to gain an educational experience on UC’s campus.

Date: 8/19/2013 12:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Dottie Stover

UC ingot  
The TAP House will hold a reception for parents of TAP students from 4-6 p.m., Monday, Aug. 19, and an open house from 4-7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 12.

A new UC student housing community opening this fall in the Stratford Heights Complex exemplifies UC’s dedication to increasing diversity on campus. The 26-bed TAP House, located at 2629 Clifton Ave., will be a blended community of six students reflecting UC’s general student population, and 13 students in the Transition and Access Program (TAP). Students move in to the TAP House at 1 p.m., Monday, Aug. 19.

TAP – a partnership developed through the support of the UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) and the Mayerson Foundation – is a non-degree, four-year program for students with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities that provides opportunities to engage in the college experience. The program meets post secondary higher education standards.

TAP was first introduced on campus with eight students last year and will grow to have 15 students this fall. TAP students can participate in college classes and internships as well as engage in social experiences with the general UC student population by attending campus events, studying in the UC Libraries and technology labs, working out at the Campus Recreation Center and joining student organizations. The TAP House will further strengthen skills such as socializing, cooking, cleaning and doing laundry.

The TAP House will have support supervision for daily independent skills as well as schedule planning. Staff includes a graduate assistant (GA) and resident assistant (RA) that are special education majors, plus, the house will be staffed with two other UC students serving as RAs. The office of program director Heidi Brett Mendez, an adjunct professor of education, also is based at the house.

“All of the TAP students have accepted a high school diploma and the average age of these students is around 20,” says Brett Mendez. “Their intellectual disabilities can range from Down Syndrome to Asperger Syndrome to Autism. 

TAP Program
UC special education major (sophomore) and TAP resident Kelsey McConnell

“This is a program that can increase the independence of these students, because typically after they graduate from high school, they don’t have a chance to live independently. They don’t have a chance to experience college and they don’t have opportunities to explore different careers. TAP will require them to complete a paid internship on campus, every spring, through the entire four years of the program,” says Brett Mendez.

Students in TAP develop their independence while learning study skills, basic computing, time management, financial management and career/professional development.

The program holds classes five days a week with two non-college credit TAP classes; UC courses that can be taken as an audit course through TAP; UC courses that can be taken for TAP credit; or selected courses  for college credit.

TAP courses cover university orientation, residential housing, banking basics and communication skills. UC courses range from the basics of the Blackboard online course management system, public speaking, art, creative writing, psychology, practical history and music appreciation. Students complete the program with a digital portfolio of all of their accomplishments.

“We want to prepare these students for a career, not just a job. TAP helps them develop and understand goals, plus gain the social skills necessary to be successful in the workplace,” says Brett Mendez.

TAP Website