Documentary about “hidden disabilities” to be shown at UCCS

Dan Habib, director, (603) 848-5301, dan.habib@unh.edu Phil Denman, UCCS, (719) 255-3732, pdenman@uccs.edu

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — In an effort to raise awareness about students with hidden disabilities – such as ADHD and depression  –  the University of Colorado Colorado Springs College of Education will sponsor a free, public screening of the nationally acclaimed documentary Who Cares About Kelsey?

The documentary will be shown at 6 p.m. on June 11 in University Center 116 and will be followed by a question-and-answer session with the documentary’s maker, Dan Habib, and local education professionals.

“The issue of students with emotional and behavioral disabilities affects all of us,” Christi Kasa, associate professor, College of Education, UCCS, said. “The film Who Cares about Kelsey? personifies and brings home the challenges individuals face and what we can do to help them.”

Habib is an Emmy-nominated director/producer of  the film Including Samuel, which was broadcast nationally on public television. Who Cares About Kelsey? was featured in Education Week and WBUR and screened at film festivals, national conferences, and school districts around the country.

In his film, Habib tells the story of Kelsey Carroll who hopes to graduate from high school but faces obstacles including attending a school with a high dropout rate, ADHD, homelessness, sexual abuse, and attention deficit disorder. As a freshman, Carroll didn’t earn a single academic credit and was suspended for dealing drugs. Who Cares About Kelsey? is the story of transformation from a defiant and disruptive problem student to a motivated and self-confident young woman. Along the way, critical figures in her personal and educational life shape her coming of age and play important roles in an education revolution that’s about empowering youth with emotional and behavioral challenges.

Nationally, more than two million young people in the United States have emotional/ behavioral disabilities. Youth with emotional and behavioral disabilities have the worst graduation rate of all students with disabilities. Nationally, only 40 percent of students with emotional and behavioral disabilities graduate from high school, compared to the national average of 76 percent of all students.

In Colorado, 52,000 children live with mental health conditions and behavior related disabilities.  While Colorado has continued to decrease the high school drop out rate, 17,000 students continue to drop out each year.  The film Who Cares About Kelsey? sheds light on educational practices that can be useful in reducing the drop out rate and supporting student with mental health and behavioral issues.

To learn more about the film and to view the trailer, visit http://www.whocaresaboutkelsey.com/

The University of Colorado Colorado Springs, located on Austin Bluffs Parkway in Colorado Springs, is one of the fastest growing universities in the nation. The University offers 36 bachelor’s degrees, 19 master’s and five doctoral degrees. UCCS enrolls about 9,800 students on campus annually and another 2,000 in online programs. For more information, visit www.uccs.edu.