CrossingPoints offers college experience for students with disabilities

By WVUA 23 News Reporter A’Leeyah Ponder

The University of Alabama’s CrossingPoints program helps ensure students with learning disabilities can enjoy the college experience and get hands-on training for their future.

WVUA 23 visited CrossingPoints on Monday, March 21, which is World Down Syndrome Day. Many of CrossingPoints’ students have Down syndrome, but here they’re learning the skills they’ll need to succeed after college like every other student.

“I feel great,” said graduating senior and CrossingPoints participant Davis Spain.

The program puts inclusion and equity at the forefront of its initiatives. It is a multitiered post-secondary program providing support through college experiences to those with various intellectual conditions and disabilities.

“My favorite part is hanging out with mentors, professors and my friends from this year,” said Spain.

One of Spain’s mentors, Lauran Wilcoxson, said she values her role because of how inclusive the space is. Wilcoxson said she recently learned about World Down Syndrome Day from a student in the program who has the condition.

“Melissa was actually the first person to inform me of this, and we discussed it a couple of weeks ago,” said Wilcoxson.

Melissa Walker is a graduating senior at the University of Alabama. She’s part of the Tier 3 cohort and is pursuing a degree in education and a CrossingPoints certificate in occupational studies. Walker said she’s passionate about being a teacher and is looking forward to teaching.

“Down syndrome is not a disability or a disease,” Walker said. “It is a condition. I have all these experiences by working with younger generations, with children, teaching them how to write, recognizing spelling and vocabulary words. And I have these experiences as a person with our condition.”

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