TOPS intern Adam Moss on road to success at Ohio State University
April 19, 2013 / Transition
If you ask Adam Moss what he learned during his 12-week internship with Disability Rights Ohio, he says what nearly any college freshman intern in an office would say, "I learned how to stay organized, how to dress professionally, how to think about work quality, independence, dependability, and I got to type a lot."
The Disability Rights Ohio office celebrated Adam's last day on Wednesday with a framed certificate and a cake. Adam, who will turn 20 in May, came to us through the Nisonger Center's Transition Options in Postsecondary Settings for Students with Intellectual and Development Disabilities Program, otherwise known as TOPS. The program aims to give transition-aged individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities a chance to experience college and, hopefully, improve their chances at employment.
Each student's experiences are tailor-made according to his or her interests. Adam's passion is politics, so he is auditing courses in the political science department at Ohio State University, which recently featured him in a profile story on their website. His internship experiences will be varied, but many will have a political bent, such as Disability Rights Ohio.
"In four years, he'll graduate with a certificate from Ohio State and the combined experience of eight different internships," explained Rachel Harper, a disability career specialist and Adam's job coach while at Disability Rights Ohio. "By his junior or senior year, we'll be pushing for employment. We really encourage employers to think about offering positions that are outside the norm for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities." In addition to working with a job coach, he also gets support from an academic coach and a life-skills coach, who supports him as he lives in his own apartment, and must complete a community service requirement each semester. Overall, the program's goal is to give students like Adam the self-confience to participate more fully in the community.
For more information on the TOPS program, visit the Nisonger Center's web page on Special Education.