School of Education


"Each person has an equal opportunity, not to become equal, but to become different and to realize whatever unique potential of body, mind and spirit he or she possesses."-- John Fischer  


College is not for everyone. However, many students desire a college experience, including students with intellectual disabilities. It is for this reason that many colleges and universities now offer Comprehensive Postsecondary Transition Programs, like ClemsonLIFE. These programs offer inclusive social activities; participation in college courses; along with instruction on independent living skills, employment skills, and social skills with the goal of independent living and gainful employment to the greatest extent possible for each student.

For more information on Comprehensive Postsecondary Transition Programs, please see the links below. And let us know if you find other resources that might be of interest to other parents. We are all in this together!

Think College has a nice website with many resources, see thinkcollege.net

For a searchable Database of Available Comprehensive Postsecondary Transition Programs, see ThinkCollege Database.

The College Transition Connection works with select colleges and universities in South Carolina to design, create, and fund transition and postsecondary opportunities for young adults with intellectual disabilities.



Collins, J. C., Ryan, J.B., Katsiyannis, A., Barrett, D. & Yell, M. (2014). Use of portable electronic assistive technology to improve independent job performance of young adults with an intellectual disability. Journal of Special Education Technology, 29(3), 15-30.

Hawkins, B.L., Stegall, J.B., Weber, M. & Ryan J.B. (2012). The Influence of a Yoga Exercise Program for Young Adults with Intellectual Disabilities. International Journal of Yoga, 5, 151-156.

Hughes, E., Green, J.  & Ryan, J.B. (2011). The use of assistive technology to improve time management skills of a young adult with an intellectual disability. Journal of Special Education Technology, 26(3), 13-20.

Other Online Resources:
Porter, S. & Freeman, L. (2000). Transition Planning for Adolescents with Special Health Care Needs and Disabilities: Information for Families and Teens. 

Newman, L. (2006). Family Expectations and Involvement for Youth with Disabilities. NLTS2 Data Brief. 4(2). Menlo Park, CA: SRI International. Available at Newman, L. (2005).

Family Involvement in the Educational Development of Youth with Disabilities. A Special Topic Report of Findings from the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2). Menlo Park, CA: SRI International.

National Center on Secondary Education and Transition.(2002). Age of Majority. Parent Brief. Promoting Effective Parent Involvement in Secondary Education and Transition.

Post-secondary Students with Disabilities: Becoming the mentor, advocate, and guide your young adult needs. Parent Brief. Promoting Effective Parent Involvement in Secondary Education and Transition. March 2002.

Fialka, J.(2003). Opening New Doors: Transition from High School to College For a Student with a Moderate Disability.

National Center on Secondary Education and Transition.(2002). Postsecondary Education Supports & Accommodations. 

Southern Methodist University (nd). The Parents’ Role: Learning Differences at College.


In an effort to promote transparency within this program, and to facilitate it among other programs, we would like to share the following facts/figures involving ClemsonLIFE™:

Program Outcomes:

2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013
Percentage of Students Successfully Completing the School Year¹ 83% 73% 86%
Percentage of Students Given the Opportunity to Return for a Third Year² 50% 50% 50%
Percentage of Students Employed After Completing the Program³ 66% 83% 75%

¹ This is calculated at the end of each year by subtracting the number of students who exited the program early from the total number of students enrolled at the beginning of the school year and then dividing this value by the total number of students enrolled at the beginning of the school year. This value is then multiplied by 100 to determine the percentage.
² Students are selected for inclusion in the third year based on a variety of factors, such as eagerness to learn, continued demonstration of pro-social behaviors, work ethic, recommendation from instructors, etc.
³ To be considered employed, a student  must work at least 20 hours a week and receive no less than minimum wage at one year follow-up after completing the program.

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