WSU program for students with disabilities seeks applicants

ROAR will host an info session for potential members this month



Assistant professors of Special Education Don Mcmahon, left, and Brenda Barrio, right, discuss the ROAR program April 12 in the Education Addition building.

ANGELICA RELENTE, Evergreen reporter

An inclusive post-secondary education program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities is looking for new applicants to its program for the 2019-20 school year.

An information session scheduled for Sept. 21 by WSU ROAR will cover a general overview of the program, the admission process and few pointers on how to get a student prepared for the program, said Brenda Barrio, WSU ROAR interim director.

“Our students are very willing to be here, to learn,” Barrio said. “To be as independent as possible and career-driven.”

To get into the ROAR program, students can apply online or submit a paper application along with materials from their previous school. After that, the top 10 applicants will go through an in-person interview on the Pullman campus, Barrio said.

The admission process will also include tests on the student’s academic and social skills to help determine the student’s abilities in certain areas, which make it easier to track academic and social growth.

WSU ROAR planned to accept only four students, The Daily Evergreen reported in a previous article; however, five students were admitted into the program this school year, Barrio said.

“We went through the interview process,” Katie Hirschfelder, WSU ROAR instructor and graduate assistant, said, “and after we interviewed the students and their families, we just really felt like five was what ROAR needed.”

WSU ROAR hopes to partner with organizations on campus and in the community to provide internship opportunities for ROAR students, Barrio said. One of the organizations WSU ROAR partnered with is the Regional Theatre of the Palouse.

A typical day for a ROAR student begins with a health and sex education class, Hirschfelder said. A life skills class follows right after, led by Marco Cerqueira, who is also a WSU ROAR instructor and graduate assistant.

Some ROAR students attend an audit class afterward, which is geared toward their preferred major. Other students spend time with a peer ally or an assistive living adviser, whose responsibilities are similar to a resident adviser.

On Fridays all ROAR students receive advising from Hirschfelder and discuss their goals and a recap of their week.

One of the students in the program is Lily Sawyer Holston, who is taking an animal science audit course. Holston is looking forward to staying in the ROAR program next semester.

“I wouldn’t be here if the ROAR program wasn’t happening,” she said.

WSU ROAR will hold an information meeting 6 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Education Addition building in room 212.