Program meant to empower students with intellectual disabilities gets new home

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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Today West Texas A&M University showcased the new location of a program designed to provide students with learning disabilities with a college experience.

Kaylee Campbell joined WT’s Where the Learning Continues (WTLC) program in the Fall of 2015.

“I guess it changed my life,” said Campbell.

There, she got the chance to continue learning math, English, science and history. She also made new friends, and even get a first job.

“My first job on campus was working in the cafeteria,” said Campbell. “I got to wear a uniform and be part of the clean up crew. I really liked that job, I got to see all the cute athletes.”

Like her, there are many other students with intellectual disabilities who have been able to continue their post-high school education through WT’s WTLC program.

“This provides an opportunity for our students to be at a university campus, learning academic course subjects on their level,” said Pam Hicks, WTLC instructor.

The program is part of WT’s Extended Studies department and for the last two semesters it has been housed in Old Sub.

Prior to that, it was housed all over campus.

“Classroom space was kind of hard for us to get sometimes,” said Hicks.

Now the program will have a permanent home in Old Main, where President Walter Wendler says he can visit more often.

“I wanted them in this building and the fact that it worked out that they’re across from me, I’m proud,” said Dr. Wendler, president of WTAMU. “I’m very proud of that, because it shows a level of caring and concern for people that I think is important because is the heart of WT.”

The new classrooms will include a kitchen, smartboards and a science lab, allowing the program to add more life skill training and science projects.

“Our students don’t work on degrees, they work at their level on math, social studies and language arts,” said Hicks. “Handling money, that’s a challenge so we work on that, we work on making friends, we work on appropriate conversations.”

Where the Learning Continues is a four-year program and students are selected following an application and interview process.

“When they have completed their studies here and so on, they want something meaningful to do,” said Dr. Wendler.

In the future, WT hopes to grow WTLC into a graduate program.

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