WVU Expands Options for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

November 17, 2021

This fall six new West Virginia University students with intellectual and developmental disabilities are paving the way for future students to be able to go to college, live on campus and gain academic and career preparation.

The Country Roads Program, first launched last year virtually, welcomed the first class to campus life. As the students moved into their dorm rooms and participated in Welcome Week activities their joy and determination helped them to break down barriers and find new ways to live on their own.

"The students were full of excitement as they navigated the PRT for the first time, ate in the dining hall, went to the Student Rec Center and began their long-awaited college experience," said Lesley Cottrell, director of the Country Roads Program and WVU Center for Excellence in Disabilities and professor of pediatrics.

For students who may not meet traditional entrance guidelines for a college program, a program like Country Roads can build a bridge of support to allow them to gain academic and independent living skills and confidence that they need to be successful.

"Not every student fits into the same mold, so we are developing individualized programming designed to improve function and skills needed to fit into their desired career pathway," Cottrell said.

The program includes a two-year core track focused on independent-living skills and workforce preparedness, plus the option of an advanced track for an additional two years. During the advanced track, students will apply their new skills in workplace settings and can enroll in WVU certificate programs.


md 09/01/21

CONTACT: Melina Danko
Communications Officer
WVU Center for Excellence in Disabilities
[email protected]


Photo captions:

First day on campus student toured Evansdale campus and participated in Welcome Week activities at the WVU Student Recreation Center

WVU Country Roads students completed American Red Cross 2 year Heartsaver Card training in STEPS Center