ADAPT has made a meaningful experience for college students at Queens College during the pandemic by providing students an inside look into all the wonderful supports and services we provide.
Peter Cobb, Director of Community Outreach connected with Professor Anne Dilts, Graduate Internship Coordinator and Professor at Queens College who oversees all seven sections of the course “Internship in Severe Disabilities Summer 2020.” Due to the pandemic, there were very limited opportunities for internships while everyone was quarantining and schools were closed. Generally, this internship program affords an opportunity for students studying special education to participate in supervised teaching of students with disabilities in a classroom setting. Through the internship they would receive guidance and would participate in teaching and applying the skills they’ve learned in a classroom setting. Since that wasn’t possible this year, ADAPT was able to offer the students an opportunity which really helped to leave a memorable impact for the students.
There were seven section of 12-14 students taking the internship course during the summer semester. Eight consultants from ADAPT were identified and invited to participate in working with and interacting with the students from Queens College. All of the consultants were people supported by ADAPT, some who have had experience with training and educating folks about disability rights, in addition to some folks who participated in training and educating students for the first time. Everyone who participated really enjoyed educating people about disabilities and were excited for the opportunity to participate.
The consultants were paired with specialists from the Community Outreach Department and together they presented on different topics based on the curriculum for the class. Through the duration of the semester, which lasted for 6 weeks, students observed virtual lessons conducted by staff in the Community Outreach Department including classes structured around, Life Planning, Individualized Education Programs (IEP), theater, education, adaptive fitness and so much more. Students were allowed to drop in and observe the classes taking place. Many of them had lots of questions which allowed the consultants and staff to give additional insight and explanations to help them along in their pursuits of teaching.
During the 6 weeks, real bonds were forged, and the students and consultants maintained a great working relationship. They were happy to see each other each class and allowed the students to connect on a deeper level with the consultants. The consultant’s knowledge and lived experience with disabilities opened up a dialogue which helped the students to fully appreciate their hopes, wishes, preferences and dreams.
Daisy V was one of the participating consultants, stated, “I found the class fun and would do it again. I liked that the students were so interactive and wanted to ask questions. This experience has pushed me to work even harder toward my dream of becoming a graphic designer.”
Peter Cobb who led one of the classes with consultant JR Trinidad stated, “The student’s gratitude and enthusiasm was amazing. All the students of the class created cards with personal messages that they shared with us and each consultant received a $100 gift card from Queens College! We plan to work with them on another course during the fall semester.”
“Thank you for believing in us and helping us see that this summer collaboration could be fabulous,” said Anne Dilts. “Thank you for giving our students the opportunity for a wonderful, real work experience.”