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Finding Their Wings OKLAHOMA’S FIRST FOUR-YEAR, FULLY INCLUSIVE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM FOR STUDENTS WITH MILD TO MODERATE INTELLECTUAL OR DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES CONTINUES TO CHANGE LIVES. BY JENNIFER ZEHNDER

On her Facebook page, Alaine Octavia Lambert (Lainey Lou) shares photos of friends, family, fellowship, and fun. Under a Life Events subheading and beneath a blue circle with a white graduation cap, it notes, “Started school at Northeastern State University, Sept. 11, 2018.” The Muskogee sophomore is one of a handful of students enjoying educational opportunities and exploring future career paths in a program designed especially for those with Down syndrome, autism spectrum, and similar disabilities. In May 2018, NSU joined LeadLearnLive to create the RiverHawks Scholar

68 PREVIEW 918 APRIL 2020

Program, the first of its kind in Oklahoma. A fully inclusive, fouryear, post-secondary certificate opportunity for those with intellectual or developmental disabilities, the program’s goals are based on four pillars: academics, social skills, independent living, and career development. The ultimate goal is for the scholars to be able to live independently and be gainfully employed in something they enjoy after they complete the program. NSU alumnus Justin Chase of Coweta brings more than 25 years of education experience to his position as the

director of the RiverHawks Scholar Program (RHS). “Transition programs are a new concept in the United States,” Chase explains. “The successful outcomes these programs provide not only change the lives of the students but also their families and the state by adding diverse individuals who live and work in our communities. Upon completion of the four-year program, these students receive social, career, and academic skills that lead them to life success.” Each semester, RHS students take two traditional university classes in an area

Profile for Preview 918

April 2020 (Vol. 34, No. 4)  

Where to Dine. What to Do. Where to Find It. When It's Happening. Preview 918 A regional magazine of national stature, Preview 918 has rema...

April 2020 (Vol. 34, No. 4)  

Where to Dine. What to Do. Where to Find It. When It's Happening. Preview 918 A regional magazine of national stature, Preview 918 has rema...

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