App Feature: Life360

As technology grows and improves, apps have become powerful resources for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Life360 is an example of an app that can enhance independence and accessibility while away from home.

Life360 works similarly to FindMyFriends on the iPhone but also operates on other platforms, such as on an Android phone. The app, which connects you directly with family and loved ones, allows you to set up notifications for when you arrive at designated locations. For example, the app can notify your  selected recipients when you arrive at work or class. If you get turned around on your way home or while on campus, you can message individuals through the app, who can see your location and provide assistance. There are also several emergency features within the app.

Life360 can be downloaded through the app store and is a free resource.

Alumni Spotlight: Adam

Wondering what some of our TOPS alumni are up to nowadays? Meet Adam, who graduated in 2015. He works at Beacon Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine, where he takes care of the laundry and equipment. Adam said that TOPS helped him prepare for his job through career-based classes, where he learned how to prepare for interviews. He said his most important takeaways from TOPS were skills related to finding and acting on a job. When asked to describe his TOPS experience in one word, Adam chose ‘freedom.’

During his time at Ohio State, Adam’s favorite memory was the Mirror Lake Jump. He also enjoyed spending time with friends. Recently, he has been doing ballroom dancing, attending Moeller football and basketball games, hanging out with friends in Cincinnati, and visiting South Carolina.

Thanks for sharing, Adam!

Buck-I-SERV Application is Open!

The Buck-I-SERV application for Spring Break 2019 at the Association House of Chicago is now open! The spots on the trip are limited and are first come, first served. If you have any questions, contact Shannon Prince at

Follow the link below to apply for the TOPS Trip. Choose the Participant Application, log in with your OSU information, and follow the prompts to complete the application. Be sure to select “Illinois: Association House of Chicago” when applying.

Additional Information about the Spring Break 2019 TOPS Trip:

Join your classmates on a week-long service trip in Chicago, Illinois. You’ll be volunteering at the Association House of Chicago, which serves almost 20,000 children each year. You can find out more information about the volunteer site here.

TOPS students are invited to attend. If you volunteer with TOPS and are interested in joining the trip, please reach out to Shannon Prince via e-mail. The cost will be around $350 each, which includes transportation, gas, housing, some meals, and service supplies. Budget an additional $50 for meals and other expenses on the trip.

This is an excellent opportunity to serve the Chicago community, explore the Windy City, and continue to get to know other students in the TOPS Program!

Research Opportunity

Attached you will find a flyer for a project happening at the Nisonger Center. There is the opportunity to inform research as a part of a disability expert team. Please see the flyer for more information and details.

Note: This opportunity is open to anyone who qualifies, not just TOPS students.

Click here for brochure

Volunteer Spotlight: Lyndsay

Meet Lyndsay, a volunteer who has been with us for three semesters now! Lyndsay, who has been both a Social Coach and an In-Class Mentor, says she learned about TOPS from someone in her scholars program. “I was very involved with the special education program in my high school and I thought applying to volunteer with TOPS would be a great opportunity to meet more people and get involved at OSU.” Lyndsay is studying Health Sciences with a minor in Neuroscience to prepare to study Occupational Therapy in graduate school. Lyndsay is also involved in Bucks for TOPS and OSU Pen Pals. She is the treasurer for Bucks for TOPS, which holds fundraisers for the TOPS Program. She says her favorite part of being an Ohio State student is getting to sing Carmen Ohio after games in the Shoe.

Lyndsay has loved interacting with students both in and out of class, and her favorite memory was the TOPS Graduation this past spring. “It was great to see the students’ hard work pay off as they reached such an incredible milestone.” She describes her experience with TOPS:

Volunteering with the TOPS Program has reassured me of my career path as an occupational therapist. When classes get tough and I become discouraged, spending time with the students reminds me exactly why I am pursuing that career. They never fail to put a smile on my face and make my day better!

If she could tell someone thinking about volunteering with TOPS anything, she says “I would tell him or her to stop thinking about it and apply! Volunteering with the TOPS program has been one of the best experiences of my college career.”

Lyndsay, thanks for all that you do as a part of Bucks for TOPS. The time and care you commit to the TOPS program makes a difference!

2018 International Day of Persons with Disabilities

The United Nations has established December 3rd as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Their 2018 theme is “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality” (United Nations, 2018). The goal, which addresses societies all across the globe, is “to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life” (United Nations, 2018).

One of the focuses of the 2030 Agenda, created by the United Nations, is to help individuals with disabilities ensure they are full participants in their society and in all environments. This agenda has many goals, including building environments that are both inclusive and safe (United Nations, 2018). Take a moment today to reflect on how you can make an impact on your local community or in your everyday life to promote inclusiveness and equality. Every bit counts!

Here are some facts about disability around the world:

  1. There are over 1 billion individuals with disabilities in the world (World Health Organization, 2011).
  2. 80% of individuals with disabilities live in developing countries (United Nations).
  3. The unemployment of individuals with disabilities can be up to 80% in some countries. However, according to a study done in the US, individuals with disabilities have a higher retention rate at work. After one year of employment, the retention rate is 85% (United Nations).
  4. According to another study done in the US, the second most common reason employers are concerned about hiring individuals with disabilities is the potential cost of providing environmental accommodations. However, 56% of accommodations are completely free to implement (United Nations).

Interested in learning more? Visit


United Nations. (2018, October 5). 2018 International Day of Persons with Disabilities – IDPD. Retrieved November 15, 2018, from

United Nations. (n.d.). Factsheet on Persons with Disabilities. Retrieved 2018, from United Nations – Disability:

World Health Organization. (2011). World Report on Disability. Retrieved 2018, from World Heath Organization:

2019 Buck-I-SERV

Don’t forget to sign up for the TOPS Buck-I-SERV trip for Spring Break 2019! Here are a few pictures of all of the fun we had on a past trip:

If you are interested in signing up, contact Shannon Prince at

On the Job: Asking for Feedback

Source: Fringe Professional Development

As we wrap up the semester, TOPS students are also wrapping up a lot of great internships. On the job and at the end of an internship, it’s valuable to ask for feedback to improve your future job performance (and to keep doing what you are already doing well)! Here are quick tips when asking for feedback:

  • Feedback should have five characteristics: It should be specific, timely, compassionate, sincere, and regular (Muguku). If you feel that the feedback you have received is too vague, ask questions. Feedback is for your benefit, so make sure you have a complete understanding!
  • Beforehand, reflect on how you typically respond to constructive criticism (Muguku). Will you need to be aware of this when you meet to receive feedback?
  • Don’t hesitate to ask! If you are wondering how you are doing at work, take the initiative to ask for feedback on your own (Muguku). Additionally, ask for ongoing feedback. If you do this, there shouldn’t be any surprises on a more formal performance review (Seiter, 2018).
  • Make a plan to implement change in areas that need improvement. It’s easy to get feedback, but it’s the change in behavior that can be tough to follow through on.
  • Adopt a growth mindset. Click here to learn more.


Muguku, D. (n.d.). 31 Tips on How to Give and Receive Feedback at Work. Retrieved November 29, 2018, from ThriveYard:

Seiter, C. (2018, September 14). How to Give and Receive Feedback at Work: The Psychology of Criticism. Retrieved November 29, 2018, from Buffer:

Student Spotlight: Hunter

This week’s Student Spotlight is Hunter! Hunter, a second year in the TOPS Program, is interested in being either an actor or a voice actor. He is currently taking an acting course and, so far, it has been his favorite class he has taken at Ohio State.

One of Hunter’s favorite parts about being in the TOPS Program is getting to engage in a variety of activities, such as movie night and karaoke night at Woody’s Tavern. His song of choice for karaoke is “Easy” by the Commodores. His favorite memory has been working at a garden, where he planted, weeded, removed branches, and more.

Hunter is very engaged on campus, and he says his favorite part of attending Ohio State is getting to take part in the clubs offered. Hunter is involved in the Disney Club, Art Club, the Lego Brick Club, and BuckeyeLAN (a video game club). He also enjoys Star Wars and doing intricate coloring projects.

The TOPS Staff think Hunter has a great sense of humor and a fun personality. He has lots of talent in voice acting too! Keep up the great work.