The TOPS Program at The Ohio State University Nisonger Center offers individuals ages 18 and older with intellectual and developmental disabilities a unique opportunity to engage in Ohio State academic coursework, on campus work experiences, and participation in campus and community organizations, social activities, and events while simultaneously developing independent living skills. The TOPS Program promotes and aids in the successful transition to employment for students with intellectual disabilities through independent living instruction that results in competitive integrated employment for students who are seeking to begin a career in the work force, or even those who aspire to advance in their academic career.
Students in TOPS participate in four major areas: Academic Access, Career Exploration and Development, Campus Membership and Self-Determination. Students are able to access academics through enrolling in 4 credit hours of coursework; typically related to specific career interests. Students receive support in class from a mentor, with tutoring services and advocating for accommodations to be successful in class.
Students complete internships each semester of the program and may continue on to paid student employment positions while a student on campus. Currently 91% of TOPS graduates are employed in an variety of businesses. Several are working right here at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Students are involved in so many aspects on campus. They love to get involved with student organizations related to their interests. Students also complete 25 hours per semester of community service. Over spring break this year, 3 students traveled with other OSU students to New Orleans to help rebuild homes in the 9th ward destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Students also have busy social lives participating in activities and events sponsored by the university. They also gain friendships that last a lifetime!
Students gain self-advocacy skills throughout all areas of the program. Each student is supported and encouraged to be a more independent student, employee and community member. Be sure to check us out on Facebook (www.facebook.com/osutops) and find more information on our website at www.go.osu.edu/tops.
The TOPS scholarship fund was developed for students who need additional financial assistance with the tuition and fees associated with attending the program. With your help we will continue to be able to award annual scholarships and broaden the diversity and outreach capabilities of the existing program.
THANK YOU in advance for your support of TOPS!