Resource Library

Tipsheet
A high school girl wearing a headscarf and sitting in a wheelchair rides the lift to board a yellow school bus.

Study at a U.S. High School

"American school is so neat," signs Belvion, a Deaf exchange student from Mozambique who communicates using sign language. "They've got libraries and computers and the teachers are great. I'm loving it."

Belvion is one of the many high school students with disabilities who come to the United States every year to live and study on an exchange program. Are you ready to be an exchange student too?

Tipsheet

Students with Disabilities, by Program and Disability Type

YES Students with Disabilities by Disability Type (2007-2016), as shown on a pie chart.

44% Deaf/HOH
35% Blind/Low Vision
19% Physical Disability 
20% Non-apparent 

FLEX Students with Disabilities by Disability Type (2007-2016), as shown on a pie chart.

59% Physical Disability 
8% Deaf/HOH
4% Non-apparent 
29% Blind/Low Vision

Tipsheet

FLEX and YES Students with Disabilities Combined, by Disability Type

Total Number of Students by Disability Type (2007-2016)

  • 40% Physical Disability 
  • 32% Blind/ Low Vision 
  • 25% Deaf/HOH
  • 2% Non-apparent

Students with Physical Disabilities

  • 37% Cerebral Palsy 
  • 11% Scoliosis 
  • 7% Short Stature 
  • 8% Amputee 
  • 3% Spina Bifida 
  • 1% Polio 
  • 1% Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy 
  • 32% Other 
Tipsheet

Specialized vs. Mainstream School Placements

Percent of Deaf or Blind Students Placed at Specialized Schools vs. Mainstream Schools (2007-2016)

Illustrated by highlighted symbols of students and a schoolhouse

  • 50% of students who are Deaf are placed at specialized schools vs. in mainstream public schools 
  • 25% of students who are blind are placed at specialized schools vs. in mainstream public schools
Tipsheet
A portion of an infographic highlighting total percentage of FLEX and YES students by disability type.

Infographics: Disability Inclusion in the FLEX and YES Programs, 2007-2016

The Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) and Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) programs are competitive, merit-based scholarship programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

Over the last ten years, more than 250 students with disabilities from 37 countries have participated these life-changing youth programs.

Tipsheet

FLEX and YES Students with Disabilities, 2007-2016

A line graph showing the total number of FLEX and YES Students with Disabilities, by Year, 2007-2016

Number of FLEX Students with Disabilities, by Year

  • 2007 = 16

  • 2008 = 14

  • 2009 = 12

  • 2010 = 12

  • 2011 = 12

  • 2012 = 14

  • 2013 = 9

  • 2014 = 20

  • 2015 = 11

  • 2016 = 14

Personal Story
Ana smiling in front of bookshelves at school library

Flying High to Study in the United States

At just 16 years old, Ana was so confident that she and her wheelchair would soon be on their way to the U.S., she told practically everyone she knew that she had applied to the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

Although Ana didn’t make the final selection pool the first time, she tried again a year later.

"When I applied the second time, I didn’t tell anybody except my mom. Most of my family found out that I was going to fly two days before my flight when we had my farewell party. They were shocked!"

Personal Story
Pinar smiling in front of the New York City skyline

One Dream Leads to Another

Pinar, a Turkish high school student who is blind, received a full scholarship to study abroad on the U.S. Department of State’s Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program. “Of course, my parents were really worried because my safety is important to them. Probably the most important thing!” says Pinar, reflecting on her experience. She lived with an American host family on weekends and stayed on campus at the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind during the week.

Books/Journals/Podcasts
Book cover of Celebrating MIUSA's Story Featuring Graphic Lettering of "MIUSA"

Celebrating MIUSA's Story

"Celebrating MIUSA's Story" is a tribute to Mobility International USA's amazing accomplishments since 1981, made possible by our wonderful staff, donors, partners, host families, and alumni around the world.

This book provides an account of our signature projects and programs, upholds testimonials from individuals touched by our work, maps the origins of our hundreds of alumni, and traces a timeline of our major exchange programs, publications and other milestones.

Personal Story
Seated at a kitchen table, exchange student Pinar holds a bouquet of flowers in one hand while supporting a sign that reads "Welcome" with her other. She is smiling and wearing a bright yellow tank top.

Last Minute Decision Leads to Unforgettable Hosting Experience

Melissa Gulledge, CIEE Regional Director from South Carolina, has years of experience placing international exchange students from all over the world with American families, but a last minute decision to host a teenager with a disability led to one of her own family’s most meaningful hosting experiences.

The clock was ticking to match Pinar, a young woman from Turkey who is blind, with a host family and school.

Personal Story
Safira gardening as a volunteer with other exchange students

My Golden Year in America

I am 17 years old and an ASSE YES Exchange student from Karachi, Pakistan. I was very excited to get the opportunity to come to the United States of America. This was something that I prayed for and it was like a dream come true.

I am visually impaired and have had very little vision my entire life. In Pakistan, where I attended a school for the blind, there are many challenges and few opportunities for blind people. I’ve learned the opposite is true here in the U.S.

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