Post-Secondary Academic Programs for Adults with Mild and Moderate Intellectual Disability

  • Hefziba Lifshitz


This chapter presents a new trend that has been emerging around the world: post-secondary education (PSE) for adults with ID. After examining the state-of-the-art in inclusive PSE offerings globally, this chapter reviews prior research on PSE, which has mainly focused on social aspects (e.g., attitudes of lecturers, mentors, and the students with ID themselves) and employment outcomes. Then, the chapter details the Otzmot Empowerment Project – a three-stage inclusion model at Bar-Ilan University’s School of Education for students with mild and moderate ID across adulthood. In line with the CAT theory and the triple CAB model, the Otzmot PSE project provides intense mediation of students’ cognition (and additional mediation of affect and behavior) to support academic inclusion. In Otzmot’s separate inclusion model, adults with ID attend specially adapted enrichment courses (e.g., psychology, sociology) on campus. Otzmot’s hybrid/mixed model includes students in an undergraduate seminar with typical students as mediating research partners. In Otzmot’s full-inclusion model with supports, highly capable students with ID take regular undergraduate social science courses, completing coursework and passing exams. By the 2018–2019 academic year, six full-inclusion students have accumulated 32 out of the 64 academic credits needed for a BA. This chapter presents mediation strategies and cognitive processes and also details two empirical studies yielding findings on the impact of PSE and cognitively stimulating activities on intellectual functioning in adults with ID, as well as presenting the differences in students’ cognitive performance between the Otzmot program stages and identifying screening criteria for stages of inclusion.


Post-secondary academic education Empowerment project Three stages of ascending inclusion Academic world of adults with ID 


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Hefziba Lifshitz
    • 1
  1. 1.Head of MA Program in Intellectual Disability, School of EducationBar-Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael

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