I was concerned to read the May 13 article on the REACH program entitled “Worries cloud program for disabled at C of C.” This loaded language and front page placement confers an inaccurate impression of the REACH program.
The Post and Courier reporter only detailed complaints of two students’ parents. There were 30 students in the program this past year. Where is the reporting on them?
One of the students reported to have had problems while in the program actually “loved the program and thrived in it,” according to his parents. Both students will graduate from the REACH program with jobs, presumably in part due to job skills exposure and training from REACH internships.
For a topic to be presented without bias, more balance must be evident up front. One has to read to the end of this article to find that a freshman student has made “gains in self-esteem, feels like a college student, and the program is everything his parents hoped it would be.”
The most important message of the story is not explicitly stated. The REACH program, while only five years old, may be evolving; however, it effectively serves a necessary market for families with students who have mild intellectual disability but wish to have a college experience.
As a parent of a REACH student, I have been pleased to note my son’s continued growth in coping skills, self-advocacy and academic application.
REACH students will graduate and become more fulfilled, contributing members of our community, and their greater world. This group expands our view of the human condition by succeeding in spite of their challenges. They effectively become our moral compass by fulfilling the College of Charleston’s mission of inclusion and diversity.
To emphasize the issues of a few to the detriment of others in the REACH program is unwarranted. This could drive negative public opinion and undermine future program support to the detriment of REACH program students.
On the Harbor Drive