Reaching her goal
For Manpreet Virdi, graduating from the University of British Columbia was a celebration of the achievement of four years of hard work.
“It was one of the best and most wonderful experiences I’ve had,” says Manpreet of her graduation ceremony.
She began studying in September 2008 and in May 2012 she received her completion certificate in social sciences.
Manpreet’s educational journey was supported by STEPS Forward, a family-driven organization founded to ensure that people with developmental disabilities are included as students in the academic and social life of colleges and universities of British Columbia.
Students are ‘participatory auditing’ students and complete, with modifications to their level of ability, the same curriculum, assignments and exams as the other students. With appropriate community inclusion support, young adults with developmental disabilities are having a coherent undergraduate student experience leading to lifelong learning, friendships, and employment.
Manpreet attended two classes every day along with a support worker who worked with her. “I took a lot of psychology and sociology courses which were really interesting to me,” she says.
“The teachers were all willing to accommodate me any way they could,” says Manpreet, “They were available by e-mail any time of the day and responded very quickly.”
Manpreet is now in the process of exploring employment opportunities with support from STEPS Forward and cherishes her educational experience.
“It was a wonderful experience and I wouldn’t change it for anything. In the four years I was there I made a lot of great friends who I still keep in touch with and know that I will stay friends with in the future.”
You can learn more about STEPS Forward at http://www.steps-forward.org/.