The Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative (MAICEI) provides high school students aged 18-21 with significant (typically autism or intellectual) disabilities the opportunity to have a college experience alongside their non-disabled peers. MAICEI students are supported by the MAICEI Program Coordinator, Educational Coaches and Peer Mentors. The goal of the University of Massachusetts Amherst MAICEI Program is to enhance the academic success, career development and independence skills of its participants.
MAICEI students are provided access to all undergraduate UMass courses either audited or for credit.
A Person-Centered Plan (PCP) is created for each student. The PCP is a flexible, living document, which outlines a student's academic, career and personal goals. It serves as a guide for program participation and course and internship selection. Regular meetings are held between the student and the Program Coordinator to review the plan. Progress is evaluated and updates/changes are made as needed.
- The Student/Educational Coach Agreement (SECA) facilitates a goal-drive, working relationship between students and Educational Coaches. The agreement outlines:
- Nine areas where students need support to fully access the program
- The student's responsibilities for each area
- The supports the Educational Coach will provide if/when needed
This agreement is reviewed regularly throughout the semester and updates/changes are made as needed.
MAICEI students are supported in fully accessing UMass through:
- Travel/Transportation - Educational Coaches help students access local public transportation, campus shuttles and learn to navigate the campus on foot.
- Accommodations - Students are connected with the UMass Disability Services office if warranted, to facilitate learning accommodations.
- Peer Support - Peer Mentors are non-disabled undergraduate peers from the Communication Disorders department. Peer Mentors help students become familiar with the campus and develop friendships with students through planning and accompanying students to social and recreational activities.
The MAICEI Program facilitates students' career development with the goal of preparing them for competitive employment during and/or following program participation. Career development activities include:
- On-campus internships linked to the Person-Centered Plan and supporting career goals.
- 1:1 Job Coach support
- Career Portfolio - students work with program staff to develop career portfolios demonstrating their interest, abilities and achievements.
Independence & Self-Determination
Campus amenities that students access include:
- Extensive Fitness Facilities
- Award-Winning Dining Services
- 5.9 million volume Library
- Hundreds of Clubs and Organizations
MAICEI students attend informal activities with Peer Mentors and friends such as sporting events, concerts, ballroom dancing, playing basketball and going to the Arts & Crafts Center. Campus groups such as The Boltwood Project hold regular events with MAICEI students.
Understanding the differences between high school and college for students with disabilities is essential to a smooth transition for all parties involved. The educational supports available to a student as well as the rights and responsibilities of the student, family and school can differ greatly between high school and college. The MAICEI program helps educate participants and their families on this topic so that all are well informed and understand their personal rights and responsiblities.
It is a priority of the MAICEI Program to facilitate self-determination for all its participants. Students are involved with all aspects of being enrolled in the program and are coached on making choices and judgments for themselves whenever possible.
Each semester, a new person-centered plan is developed for each students. Students are responsible for:
- Contributing to the creation of the plan
- Self-monitoring progress toward their goals
- Choosing and registering for courses with the Program Coordinator
- Selecting campus internships with the Employment Specialist
- Interacting with faculty and work supervisors when needs arise
- Actively engaging in campus activities
- Managing their personal schedules
In the areas where students are not yet able to employ full self-determination and responsibility, MAICEI staff, Educational Coaches and Peer Mentors assist with tasks.