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photo of Independence College Students

Independence College Students

The Massachusetts Development Disabilities Council (MDDC) is an independent, federally funded organization whose mission is to promote independence and inclusion for people with developmental disabilities in all areas of life.  Every five years, the Council submits a state plan to address the most important issues that affect people with developmental disabilities.  These priorities are established through input from people with developmental disabilities, their families and friends, professionals, and service-providers.  The MDDC is a hub for people with developmental disabilities and their families, providing information, support and various programs.

Independence College (IC) is one program offered by MDDC. IC was developed to teach people with developmental disabilities about self-advocacy and their rights.  IC is rooted in in-house trainings specifically for people with developmental disabilities which were held in settings such as group homes and day programs.  The MDDC realized there was a need to connect people with disabilities to training opportunities in community settings.   As a result, IC was launched in 2014 with a group of twenty students and the program continues to be a success.

Currently, IC courses are offered both during the day and at night to accommodate students’ work schedules and are taught by MDDC staff along with staff from Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong.  The IC program has three phases with the core curriculum focused on self-advocacy, self-direction and courses that assist individuals in learning how to explore, prepare and act in these areas.   Participants have a choice of two to three elective courses which vary by semester.  Examples of elective courses include Voting, How to be an Active Board Member, and Legislation.

Students also complete a practicum, an independent project of interest to the student, as part of the curriculum.  Examples of these self-directed student practicums include creating an independent living plan, completing a GED program, and learning how to use public transportation independently.  Students earn a certificate upon completion of the IC program.

Photo of Students standing at front of classroom holding up a poster

Independence College Students

Recently, MOD was thrilled to be invited to teach an elective course during the Spring 2016 semester.  MOD staff taught Disability Rights 101, the primary focus of which was basic rights of individuals with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Fair Housing Act.  These concepts were taught through a curriculum model using the five areas that students learn about throughout the IC program: housing, employment, community, transportation and state and local government.  Students and staff were enthusiastic and engaged throughout the course, participating in discussions and asking questions.  Teaching the course was a great way for MOD to connect with the MDDC and their consumers.  We hope to continue being involved in the program in the future!​

For more information about MDDC’s Independence College, contact MDDC at:

100 Hancock Street

Second Floor, Suite 201

Quincy, MA 02171

Phone: 617.770.7676

Fax: 617.770.1987

Independence College logo. Dark red text on white background: Independence College Opportunity Awaits

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