When you think Texas A&M, what pops into your head? Football? The rivalry between UT and A&M? The 12th man? When you think about A&M you should think about Aggie ACHIEVE. Aggie ACHIEVE (Academic Courses in Higher Inclusive Education and Vocational Experiences) is a four-year inclusive degree program for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have exited high school (n.d.). The program provides a “inclusiveand immersive college education and equips students for employment in the community.” (n.d.).
Aggie ACHIEVE is the first program in Texas to provide a “inclusive, four-year, post-secondary opportunity for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.” (n.d.) Every student has a personally designed program that is created through a process called “person-centered planning” (n.d.). Person-centered planning is where “each student and their family member(s) meet with a staff member to design individualized goals” (n.d.), from there the faculty work with the ACHIEVE staff to “develop a modified syllabus and an Independent Learning Agreement to set expectations and assignments” (n.d.).
The first two years of the program are meant to introduce students into college life by having them attend seminars that focus on independent living, career awareness, and self determination (n.d.). During the spring semester, students will start participating “in on-campus internships each week to prepare for inclusive employment” (n.d.). The last two years of Aggie ACHIEVE will move the focus to concentrate on career development and field specialization. This includes having the student participate in off campus paid internships in the students chosen field. Then in the final year of the program the student will work closely with job developers to “identify relevant, inclusive employment opportunities locally or in their hometown.” (n.d.).
Attending a university like Texas A&M is a dream come true to many individuals, and for individuals with intellectual disabilities, it’s even sweeter. These individuals are just like everyone else and want the same things and have the same desires to strive for greatness.
Aggie Achieve. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://epsy.tamu.edu/aggieachieve/#about.
Aggie Achieve. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://epsy.tamu.edu/aggieachieve/#influence.