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UMM Launches New Disabilities in Youth Specialization

Added on: January 20, 2012
Meghan Duff, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Meghan Duff,
Assistant Professor of Psychology

New program prepares graduates for work with children who have disabilities

MACHIAS, Maine – The University of Maine at Machias announces a new Disabilities in Youth concentration within its Psychology and Community Studies bachelor’s degree program. This concentration is designed to meet the needs of individuals who are interested in working with children and youth who have disabilities, as well as their families. The Disabilities in Youth concentration is available this spring to students who are majoring in Psychology and Community Studies.

Significant populations of children and youth with disabilities exist throughout the state and the nation. Nearly 10 years ago, UMM developed a special education program through distance learning that has consistently drawn the interest and enrollment of individuals who wish to become special education teachers. Yet, the special education courses have also caught the attention of another population of burgeoning professionals who wish to work with children and youth who have special needs but do not wish to teach. These individuals often have an interest in behavioral health or social service careers. 

“The Disabilities in Youth concentration is a good fit for students who aren’t interested in becoming classroom teachers but want to work with children with disabilities and their families,” said Meghan Duff, assistant professor of psychology. “This concentration will help serve students who have been interested in both psychology and education and want to work with children.”

Heather Ball, Assistant Professor of Special Education
Heather Ball,
Assistant Professor of Special Education

Heather Ball, assistant professor of special education, adds, “Over the years, we have enjoyed a diverse population of students who take our special education courses because they tend to simulate the collaboration and teaming that occurs on a regular basis in the lives of children and youth with disabilities.”

In addition to coursework within the Psychology and Community Studies major, the Disabilities in Youth concentration will draw upon classes from the special education and social sciences disciplines. Students will also choose two elective courses that will provide specialization in a particular area, such as working with individuals who have Autism Spectrum Disorders or emotional disabilities, preparing youth for transitioning to adulthood, or working as a behavioral health professional.

The goal of the Disabilities in Youth program is to immerse students in the social, cultural, and practical aspects of working with children and youth with disabilities and their families, as well as with interdisciplinary teams. All students will participate in an internship with a community partner organization to complete their degree. Upon graduation, individuals will be well-prepared to serve as advocates, case managers, community support specialists, or developmental therapists.

For more information on UMM’s academic programs and admissions requirements, contact the Admissions Office at 1-888-468-6866 or visit

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