Start a program for students with intellectual disabilities

This petition made change with 531 supporters!

Graduating from high school should be a joyful occasion but for millions of teenagers with intellectual disabilities like Autism, Down Syndrome and mental retardation the future looks very bleak. My 20 year old son had his last day of school last week. Ever. I have been trying to find meaningful activities for him but there are few options here. Clarksville, TN has a population of almost 150,000 people and we have hundreds of students graduating or will soon be walking across the stage who have nothing to do or look forward to except sitting at home, or in some daycare. Parents have to struggle to find care for their children if they aren't able to stay home alone or may be forced to quit their job to do it themselves. Clarksville is only slightly smaller than Chattanooga and Knoxville who each have programs in community colleges or universities so why not Clarksville? Because we have not let it be known that we need one.

Austin Peay State University would be an ideal location for a higher education program for students with intellectual disabilities. They have a special education teaching program and a psychology program that could work hand in hand with this program. The need here is great, we just need to let them know we want it.

Below are some links providing information about this tsunami of students who want more from life than sitting on a couch watching TV or Youtube videos. They want to learn to be independent, learn essential job skills and be able to socialize and have the same college experience as their neurotypical peers. Also some links to the programs at Vanderbilt University, Lipscomb University and UT Knoxville.

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