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More Intellectually Disabled Youths Go To College

Zach Neff is all high-fives as he walks through his college campus in western Missouri. The 27-year-old with Down syndrome hugs most everybody, repeatedly. He tells teachers he loves them.

“I told Zach we are putting him on a hug diet — one to say hello and one to say goodbye,” said Joyce Downing, who helped start a new program at the University of Central Missouri that serves students with disabilities.

The hope is that polishing up on social skills, like cutting back on the hugs, living in residence halls and going to classes with non-disabled classmates will help students like Neff be more independent and get better jobs.

In years past, college life was largely off-limits for students with such disabilities, but that’s no longer the case. Students with Down syndrome, autism and other conditions that can result in intellectual disabilities are leaving high school more academically prepared than ever and ready for the next step: college.

Read more here: More Intellectually Disabled Youths Go To College : NPR.

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