Path To Independence

For more information about UNR's Path to Independence, contact Mary Bryant at 775-682-9057 or

RENO, NV - A Freshman English class on the University of Nevada Reno Campus is one place where students can go over basics of editing and punctuation. Taking the class right along with the freshman is 18-year-old Natasha Price.

“English is really very interesting and it's really a good experience about learning,” says Natasha.

Natasha has Down Syndrome and is the first student to be involved in Path to Independence.

Eight years in development, the program hopes to get students with intellectual and developmental deficits and place them on campus.

The program's director says a degree is not in the cards, but an academic, social, independent experience *is* for students like Natasha, and with similar programs across the country, so is a better paying job.

“These programs have shown that people who participate in it, get employed, do get employment and make up to 73% more money once they are employed, which is really an important statistic," says Mary Bryant, Path to Independence director.

Bryant says while Natasha has gained more confidence in just the few short weeks here, Natasha is teaching Bryant a thing or two about resilience, patience, and adapting.

While Natasha is the premier student with the Path to Independence Program, organizers hope to have 10 just like her each semester, for a total of 20 students a year.

They, like Natasha, will go through the application process to get into Path To Independence.

Her school is paid for by vocational rehabilitation—a federal program,.

Path For Independence is looking for additional funding so more students can participate.

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