The following information may be helpful when comparing programs:
Is the primary emphasis of the program Life Skills?
Life Skills is only one part of the P.A.C.E. program. Our students receive a full post-secondary education that concentrates on the whole person, with instruction in the areas of vocational training, academics, life skills and social skills.
Is it a university program—or a program located at a university but not affiliated with it?
P.A.C.E. is a program of the National College of Education (NCE)—one of three colleges that comprise National Louis University. The P.A.C.E. faculty are members of the NCE Special Education Department.
Many of the P.A.C.E. academic classes have been designed to parallel their university counterparts—as well as accommodate the learning style of students with multiple learning disabilities. Each course eligible for college credit has been approved by NLU’s University Council—and each P.A.C.E. student has an official university transcript. P.A.C.E. faculty and staff work with the student’s academic ability to teach them concepts for independence. We use the classroom to teach concepts to students and look at the world as our laboratory for practicing those concepts.
Is integrating the students into the community a focus of the program?
P.A.C.E. students are expected to be active and engaged members of their community. They take public transportation, eat in public restaurants, work in local businesses, and go to movies with their friends. In addition to living in a residence hall and having access to university facilities, P.A.C.E. students also have opportunities to partner and collaborate with graduate students on university projects.
How important is supervision in the program?
The safety of the students is one of the highest priorities at P.A.C.E.. Students must sign-in and sign-out of the residence hall, and are expected to follow curfews and behavior guidelines.
What role do internships play in the program?
P.A.C.E. students receive college credit for their internships instead of a salary. Their experience is designed using the “student teaching” model—applying what they’ve learned in class “on the job” under the supervision and mentoring of their employer and P.A.C.E. faculty and staff. Our worksite partners understand that it is their responsibility to teach our students as many skills as possible—and the P.A.C.E. students understand that their internship is as much about learning as it is doing.
What will students earn upon completing the program?
In addition to a Certificate of Completion, P.A.C.E. students graduate with 1000 hours of on-the-job training and between nine and 12 transferable college credits.
What You Need To Consider When Choosing A Post-Secondary Educational Program
Choosing the right post-secondary educational program and environment for a young man or woman with multiple learning disabilities isn’t easy. Today, there are a growing number of programs available for you to consider.
That’s the good news—since it means that, as a society, we continue to move forward to build pathways to independence for students with special needs.
However, it also means that comparing programs can be difficult—especially if you don’t get all of the information you really need to make this important decision.
P.A.C.E. at NLU is one of the most respected programs in the country—and its graduates are the best reflection of its successful academic and life skills curriculum. Recognized as a leader in post-secondary education for students with multiple-learning disabilities for over 20 years, its learning environment has been developed to give students the tools they need to lead independent lives.