The Center’s Educational Philosophy

The Center is unique in a wide variety of respects, but the philosophical foundation upon which all activities rest is perhaps the most key to its effectiveness and affordability. The gestalt of a group of philosophical tenets underscore all Center activities and set it apart from most other rehabilitation centers. The Center's philosophy is described in detail in the Context & Concepts webpages.

The College Is An Ideal Setting

Stepping outside of the medical model for a rehabilitation facility may at first glance seem inappropriate. However, besides the obvious issues caused by the current crisis in health care, the benefits alone prove the setting is an effective one:

  • The focus is on abilities rather than pathologies and dis-abilities.
  • There are no financial barriers for students.
  • There are no structural barriers to the duration of therapy.
  • The health-care industry is not impacted.
  • Effective and real training opportunities for career-bound students are readily accessible.
  • Student-clients are empowered by the setting and the group process.

Abilities, Not Dis-abilities

In Education, the focus is on increasing pre-existing strengths and discovering new ones. Center instructors view students undergoing rehabilitation through a lens of defining and enhancing wellness and strength rather than focusing on overcoming weaknesses. If one is seeking deficits, that’s what is seen. If one is seeking strengths, that is what is seen. At the Center, the focus is on healing rather than curing. Our best efforts facilitate an individual's ability to profoundly alter the experience of his or her illness from an experience of tragedy and regret to one of hope and challenge.

Barrier Free Access

Barrier-free” at the Center means much more than ramps and wide doors with lever knobs. At the Center every effort has been made to:

  • eliminate physical and transportation barriers,
  • eliminate financial barriers,
  • simplify and streamline complex college procedures.

Individuals living with physical disabilities face barriers everywhere they turn. The costs of seeking an independent life-style should not be one of them!

Students Rather Than Patients

Those who attend the Center are not patients, passive and being “done to.” They are students--active assertive participants in their own rehabilitation and in the learning process. They bring to the classroom a special quality of determination and persistence. Students determine their own educational goals, their rate of progress, and their method and level of achievement. The concept of self efficacy is already widely accepted as a valid health related process. It is a person’s perceived confidence to perform a specific task related to attaining a performance goal. If a person has high self-efficacy relative to a certain task, they are more likely to exert more energy, persist longer at a task, and acquire more knowledge and skills related to a task. Students at the Center typically develop a positive and responsible attitude, an attitude centering more on abilities than on disabilities. They are active in setting their educational goals, suggesting curriculum additions and changes, and above all, providing an unparalleled level of peer interaction and support.

Group Classes Rather Than Individual Therapy

Group process and structure is fundamental to the Center’s program. It is one of the primary reasons for the program’s cost efficiency. However, beyond the financial implications is the transformative power of the group. The transformation from patient to student, to active member of a group, to becoming an integral and significant member of a community enhances self-esteem, personal growth, physical improvement, and leads to eventual independence.

Social Support And Enhanced Quality Of Life

One of the most frequently heard comments at the Center at the Center is that students feel at home here. They feel safe, valued, loved and fully accepted as who they are without pretense. They are part of a real community—responsive to and responsible for others.

Research has definitively shown that the individual's perception or experience of support is a key factor in rehabilitation and healing. An experience of an enhanced quality of life, leads to a life worth living.

Funding l Support of Local Community l Evaluation l Center Philosophy

We are grateful to Congressman Sam Farr and the US Department of Education,
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation for the funding support that made this website possible.