Helen A. Kellar Institute for Human disAbility - George Mason University
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The Kellar Institute for Human DisAbilities (KIHd) is an interdisciplinary campus-based organization focusing on improving the lives and productivity of children and adults with disabilities. KIHd combines the resources of the university with local, state, regional, national, public, and private sector agencies and organizations to develop products, services, and programs for persons with disabilities.

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Mason LIFE Students Head to Capitol Hill

Mason LIFE Students Head to Capitol Hill

August 14, 2013

Several Mason LIFE students have participated in a unique internship program that gives young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to work in congressional offices.


The internship program was established by Mississippi Rep. Gregg Harper, whose own son has a genetic condition called Fragile X syndrome. According to Harper, his son’s dream has been to attend Mississippi State University.

While helping Mississippi State develop its own program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the congressman crossed paths with Heidi Graff, director of the Mason LIFE Program, through the assistance of Stephanie Lee, policy advisor at the National Down Syndrome Association.

Harper and Graff, along with staff from the House Administration Committee Republican office, launched a pilot internship program in spring 2010 with three Mason LIFE students and six congressional offices.

The mission of the program, they say, is to foster a greater sense of self-confidence and independence in students with intellectual disabilities, as well as make them more visible to people who don’t have prior experience working with these individuals.

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