An Information Package
on the Inclusion
of People with Disabilities
in Postsecondary Education
Compiled and Edited by
Rebecca Cory, Steve Taylor, Pamela Walker, and Julia White
With additional contributions by
Jagdish Chander, Eugene Marcus, Michael Schwartz,
Valerie Smith, Cheryl Spear, and Rachael Zubal-Ruggieri
National Resource Center on Supported Living and Choice
Center on Human Policy
805 South Crouse Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2280
The materials in this information package were compiled for anyone interested
in learning about disability issues in postsecondary education.
Preparation of this information package was supported in part by the U.S.
Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services,
National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), under
Contract No. H133A990001 awarded to the National Resource Center on Supported
Living and Choice, Center on Human Policy, School of Education, Syracuse
University. The opinions expressed within are those solely of the author,
and no official endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education is inferred.
Also, this information package includes reprints that we are unable to
produce here on our web site. We have indicated contact information for each
resource, or you can obtain a complete copy of this information package by
contacting the Center on Human Policy via email at
firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 315-443-3851 or 1-800-894-0826 (both voice), or by writing
to the address listed above.
- Information on Contributors
- Part I – Introduction – Steven J. Taylor, Ph.D.
- Part II – Starting Points
- Part III – The Case for Moving Beyond Compliance
- The Beyond Compliance Platform
- Beyond Compliance: Articulation of the Role of Disabled
Student Services on Campus
– Rebecca Cory
- Accommodating Beyond Compliance: The Faculty Mindset
– Steven J. Taylor
- Why Being an Ally is Important
– Valerie Smith
- Advice to Peer Supporters
– Eugene Marcus
- Part IV Accommodations for Students with Diverse
- Accommodations for Blind and Visually Impaired Students
at the Post-Secondary Level: A Dialogue Between Jagdish Chander and Cheryl
- OnCampus at Syracuse University
– Valerie Smith
- To CART or Not To CART…? A Brief For Stenographic
– Michael A. Schwartz and Steven J. Taylor
- A Dictionary of Accommodations
– Julia White
- Accommodations for Blind and Visually Impaired Students
- Part V – Reprints: Raising the Visibility of Disability
- Making Accommodations: The Legal World of Students with Disabilities
– Paul D. Grossman
- Colleges Can Do Even More for People with Disabilities – I. King
- Integrating Disability Studies into the Existing Curriculum: The
Example of “Women and Literature” at Howard University – Rosemarie Garland
- Incorporating Disability Studies into American Studies – Rosemarie
- Whose Field is It, Anyway? Disability Studies in the Academy – Leonard
- Pioneering Field of Disability Studies Challenges Established Approaches
and Attitudes – Peter Monaghan
- Universal Design of Instruction – Sheryl Burgstahler
- Making Accommodations: The Legal World of Students with Disabilities
- Part VI Annotations of Select Published ResourcesWith contributions by Valerie Smith, Steve Taylor, Pam Walker, Julia
White, and Rachael Zubal-Ruggieri
- Part VII Additional ResourcesWith contributions by Pam Walker, Julia White, and Rachael Zubal-Ruggieri
- Professional Organization Special Interest Groups (SIGs)
- Organizations and Resource Centers for General Disability Information
- Organizations and Resource Centers on Inclusive Postsecondary Education
- Inclusive Postsecondary Programs for Students with Disabilities
Jagdish Chander is a third year doctoral student in Cultural Foundations
of Education with a concentration in Disability Studies at Syracuse University.
Rebecca Cory is a third year doctoral student in Cultural Foundations
of Education with concentrations in Disability Studies and Higher Education
at Syracuse University.
Eugene Marcus is an Associate at the Facilitated Communication
Institute at Syracuse University and a person with autism.
Michael Schwartz is a third year doctoral student in Cultural
Foundations of Education with a concentration in Disability Studies at Syracuse
Valerie Smith, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of Education at
Hobart William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY. Valerie holds her Doctorate
in Special Education with a concentration in Disability Studies from Syracuse
Cheryl Spear is a fifth year doctoral student in Cultural Foundations
of Education with a concentration in Disability Studies at Syracuse University.
Steven J. Taylor, Ph.D. is Professor of Cultural Foundations
of Education, Director of the Center on Human Policy, and Coordinator of
Disability Studies at Syracuse University.
Julia White is a third year doctoral student in Special Education
with a concentration in Disability Studies at Syracuse University.
Pamela Walker, Ph.D. is Research Associate at the Center on Human
Rachael Zubal-Ruggieri is Information Coordinator at the Center
on Human Policy.
We would also like to acknowledge the contributions of Stephanie Lewis
and Donna Martinez.
People with disabilities are present and visible at universities and postsecondary
institutions as never before. This reflects changes in societal attitudes,
law, public policy, and government programs, and, perhaps most important,
the views disabled people have of themselves. The growing presence of this
new “minority” on campus poses challenges to all postsecondary institutions.
How should universities, community colleges, and other educational institutions
respond to students with disabilities? Should decisions regarding disabled
students be delegated to the Section 504 and Americans with Disabilities
Act (ADA) compliance officer? As important as Section 504 and the ADA have
been-and as important as it is for people with disabilities to have access
legal remedies to overcome discrimination, compliance with the law is not
enough. It is merely the starting point. As the title of this information
package suggests, universities and postsecondary institutions must move “beyond
compliance” and adopt new philosophies and approaches regarding students
Why should postsecondary institutions change? One reason is that disabled
students will no long accept being viewed and treated as burdens on the campus
treasury, accommodated merely to avoid troubles with the law. The disability
rights movement, which has been so influential in expanding transportation,
housing, and employment options, has spread to campus. Disability “culture,”
as reflected in videos, newsletters and magazines, and the arts, has forever
changed how people with disabilities view themselves. For younger people
especially, disability is no longer a source of shame and stigma; it is a
source of pride and solidarity. Disability Studies provides an intellectual
foundation for scholarly inquiries on disability as a social and cultural
phenomenon and encourages disabled students and faculty to view their “personal”
situations as “political” issues.
Yet, the most important reason why universities and postsecondary institutions
should change is because the presence and participation of students, faculty,
and staff with disabilities on campus enrich the experiences of all members
of the campus community. Disability is part of the human experience. Sooner
or later, practically all people will be touched by disability directly or
indirectly. Especially in a diverse, democratic society, all members on campus
benefit from knowing and learning from people who are different than themselves.
Through personal experience and direct exposure to disabled persons, students,
faculty, and staff learn to question and reject traditional images of pity,
burden, and shame widely found in popular culture.
The presence of people with disabilities on campus also leads to the integration
of disability into teaching and research in the social sciences, humanities,
arts, public communications, and other fields. Disability represents a unique
lens through which to study everything ranging from societal stereotyping
to cultural representation to social movements to government-community-individual
responsibility. Those in the clinical and helping professions can and should
learn that disability is not always something that should be cured, corrected,
and prevented and that disabled people are more than clients.
This information package contains essays, reprints, and resources designed
to assist postsecondary institutions to move beyond compliance and to include
disabled persons in all aspects of campus life. It is not intended to provide
step-by-step guidelines or to serve as a comprehensive manual on all aspects
of inclusion and accommodations. Rather, it is designed to offer some perspectives,
strategies, and resources that individuals can use to advocate for the inclusion
of people with disabilities at universities and postsecondary institutions.
This package uses Section 504 and the ADA as a starting point-not the end
point-for discussions of the inclusion of persons with disabilities. The
next set of selections addresses various ways postsecondary institutions,
faculty, and students can move beyond compliance. The following section describe
specific accommodations for disabled people, including a program that involves
young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in campus life.
The next section contains reprints of published articles that address different
ways in which the visibility of disability on campus can be raised. The final
two sections contain brief annotations of published sources and additional
We hope that this information package will encourage and assist others
to move beyond compliance at their universities and postsecondary educational
For students with disabilities to be fully included at postsecondary institutions
and for postsecondary institutions to benefit fully from the presence of
students with disabilities, campus culture must change.
THE REHABILITATION ACT: A SUMMARY AND AN ARGUMENT FOR GOING BEYOND THE LAWBy Michael Schwartz, J.D.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §12101 et seq.,
signed into law on July 26 1990, is a far-reaching, comprehensive civil rights
law intended to make American society more accessible to people with disabilities.
It is divided into five titles:
Employment (Title I): Employers with 15 or more employees
must provide reasonable accommodations to protect the rights of qualified
individuals with disabilities in all aspects of employment. These accommodations
include providing interpreters and readers, restructuring jobs, altering
the layout of workstations, or modifying equipment. Title I applies to the
entire gamut of employment practices, including the application process,
hiring, wages, benefits, terms and conditions and all other aspects of employment.
Medical examinations are highly regulated and cannot be used to screen people
with disabilities out. If the person with a disability is qualified for
employment, the accommodation does not impose a financial hardship on the
business, and the worker’s disability poses no threat to the health and safety
of others (or herself), the business must accommodate the worker.
Public Services (Title II): Public services, which include
state and local government instrumentalities, the National Railroad Passenger
Corporation, and other commuter authorities, cannot deny services to people
with disabilities and must include them in programs or activities which are
available to people without disabilities. In addition, public transportation
systems, such as public transit buses, must be accessible to individuals
with disabilities. Courts, libraries, public schools and other public entities
must ensure that their facilities and programs are accessible to people with
Public Accommodations (Title III): All privately owned, privately
operated businesses or companies that transact business with the general
public must be accessible to people with disabilities. Twelve categories
of public accommodations are listed, which include facilities such as restaurants,
hotels, museums, zoos, banks, professional offices of doctors and lawyers,
grocery stores, retail stores, etc., as well as privately owned transportation
systems, all of which must remove architectural barriers and provide reasonable
accommodations so that people with disabilities may access their services,
programs and facilities as long as the accommodation does not work a undue
burden or a fundamental alteration to the program or service. All new construction
and modifications must be accessible to individuals with disabilities. For
existing facilities, barriers to services must be removed if readily achievable.
Telecommunications (Title IV): Telecommunication companies
offering telephone service to the general public must provide telephone relay
service to individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDDs)
or similar devices.
Miscellaneous (Title V): This title includes a provision prohibiting
either (a) coercing or threatening or (b) retaliating against the disabled
or those attempting to aid people with disabilities in asserting their rights
under the ADA. It also provides for attorney’s fees for plaintiffs who prevail
under the statute.
The ADA’s protection applies primarily, but not exclusively to “disabled”
individuals. An individual is “disabled” if he or she meets at least any
one of the following tests:
- He or she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits
one or more of his/her major life activities;
- He or she has a record of such an impairment; or,
- He or she is regarded as having such an impairment.
Secondary individuals are protected in certain circumstances including 1)
those, such as parents, who have an association with an individual known
to have a disability, and 2) those, such as friends or co-workers, who are
coerced or subjected to retaliation for assisting people with disabilities
in asserting their rights under the ADA. These protections flow from the
intent to eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities.
While the employment provisions of the ADA apply to employers of fifteen
employees or more, its public accommodations provisions apply to all sizes
of business, regardless of number of employees. State and local governments
are covered regardless of size.
Section 504: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U. S.
C. § 794, was signed into law in 1973, but its enforcing regulations
did not come into force until 1977. Section 504 is a one-sentence law that
No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the
United States, as defined in Sec. 705(20) of this title, shall, solely by
reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be
denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program
or activity receiving Federal financial assistance or under any program or
activity conducted by any Executive agency or by the United States Postal
Any program or activity receiving federal funding must, under Section 504,
make itself accessible to people with disabilities, and that includes providing
reasonable accommodations to ensure access.
This juncture represents an opportunity, in the view of the students
of the Beyond Compliance Coordinating Committee at Syracuse University, to
argue for “going beyond compliance” with the law. In our view, it is simply
not enough to be “in compliance.” These two laws provide plaintiffs with
disabilities the tools by which to chip away at the doors of discrimination
that keep them out of the mainstream of American economic, social and political
life. However, the statistics since 1992, the year the ADA became operative,
have not been encouraging. For instance, a study by the American Bar Association
of all Title I employment litigation in the federal courts discloses that
employers are winning 92% of the time. A recent study shows that the unemployment
rate of people with disabilities remains at between 66% and 70%, the same
rate at the time the ADA was signed into law. While the ADA represents a
major step forward in removing de jure segregation (legal barriers), there
is much work to be done to remove de facto segregation (attitudes and biases
that work to block people with disabilities from gaining access). The sad
truth is that many administrators and employers who see a person in a wheelchair
or a deaf person immediately see a financial burden. Instead of seeing a
person to welcome into the community of students or workers, they foresee
a demand for spending money. Their impulse is to “hold down” the costs,
to spend only as much as is needed to bring themselves into minimum (often
minimal) compliance with federal law. All they want to do is to be in compliance
and nothing more.
These laws represent a beginning point, a starting point for those
who are responsible for ensuring access to people with disabilities. Providing
an interpreter for a deaf student, a reader for a blind worker or a ramp
for a wheelchair user is the first step toward making a place accessible
and welcoming for disabled people. It is the minimum required simply to
get the disabled person past the gate; what is needed once inside the house
are more adjustments to make the house a welcoming and comfortable place.
Decades, even centuries, of discrimination, barriers and prejudice
have created a society of exclusion that led Congress to note that historically,
society has tended to isolate and segregate some 43 million Americans with
disabilities, and, despite some improvements, such forms of discrimination
against individuals with disabilities continue to be a serious and pervasive
social problem, which is growing as the population ages. Further, as Congress
noted, discrimination against individuals with disabilities persists in such
critical areas as employment, housing, public accommodations, education,
transportation, communication, recreation, institutionalization, health services,
voting, and access to public services. Congress also noted that individuals
with disabilities continually encounter various forms of discrimination,
including outright intentional exclusion; the discriminatory effects of architectural,
transportation, and communication barriers; overprotective rules and policies;
failure to make modifications to existing facilities and practices; exclusionary
qualification standards and criteria; segregation; and relegation to lesser
services, programs, activities, benefits, jobs, or other opportunities.
Indeed, census data, national polls, and other studies have documented
that people with disabilities, as a group, occupy an inferior status in our
society, and are severely disadvantaged socially, vocationally, economically,
and educationally. As Congress found, “individuals with disabilities are
a discrete and insular minority who have been faced with restrictions and
limitations, subjected to a history of purposeful unequal treatment, and
relegated to a position of political powerlessness in our society, based
on characteristics that are beyond the control of such individuals and resulting
from stereotypic assumptions not truly indicative of the individual ability
of such individuals to participate in, and contribute to, society.” To combat
this legacy of discrimination, Congress announced that America’s goal with
respect to people with disabilities is to “assure equality of opportunity,
full participation, independent living, and economic self- sufficiency for
such individuals.” The costs of not doing so are too great: “The continuing
existence of unfair and unnecessary discrimination and prejudice denies people
with disabilities the opportunity to compete on an equal basis and to pursue
those opportunities for which our free society is justifiably famous, and
costs the United States billions of dollars in unnecessary expenses resulting
from dependency and non-productivity.
Full inclusion and equality of opportunity carry social benefits,
too. By providing more accommodations and greater equality of opportunity,
society enables more disabled people to become employable, and the more disabled
people there are in our communities, the more we all become used to the idea
of disability. This dovetails nicely with a statistical fact: the graying
of America will see an upturn in the numbers of disabled people. As more
of us become disabled due to age, we need more than ever the lessons people
with disabilities can help us learn. Greater inclusion of people with disabilities
in a student body or workforce leads to greater diversity, an important and
worthy goal, one endorsed by a majority of the Supreme Court and a number
of universities, including the University of Michigan, in matters having
to do with race. Why should it be any different for disability?
Finally, law seeks to express social values, and the ADA is an attempt
to redress years of exclusion. Nowhere are the institutions of society barred
from going beyond the ADA. Simply because the law requires certain steps
to remove architectural and communication barriers does not place a restriction
on a school or business in working to create greater diversity in its student
body or workforce.
THE CASE FOR MOVING BEYOND COMPLIANCE
The Beyond Compliance Coordinating Committee was formed in the Fall of 2001,
by a group of doctoral students in the Disability Studies program within
the Cultural Foundations of Education department at Syracuse University.
Each of these students brought diverse backgrounds and experiences with disability
to the program. The commonality of the students’ experiences was their commitment
to creating an environment in higher education where students with disabilities
would be able to thrive and have equal access to scholarly opportunity in
the academy. The group quickly identified that most institutions of higher
education look at students with disabilities from a compliance mindset. Institutions,
through their Disabled Student Services offices, are legally compelled to
compliance with the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Compliance,
however, does not always create an environment in which students can participate
equally in the scholarly community. The committee expanded to include graduate
and undergraduate students, students with disabilities and allies, and faculty
allies. An agenda emerged-to encourage the university to adopt an attitude
about student accommodations that goes “beyond compliance” with the law.
The following is the platform that the beyond Compliance Coordinating Committee
developed, and the ideals upon which this information package is based.
While this platform is specific to Syracuse University, we feel that it applies
to any postsecondary institution.
- Reshaping Syracuse University’s conception of disability: Expanding
Syracuse University’s official definition of diversity to include disability:
Disability is more than just a physical or mental impairment.
Accessibility is more than just compliance with federal and state laws.
Disability is about the human condition, and the Syracuse University community
would be enhanced by a broader conceptualization of disability that calls
for inclusion, integration, and equality. Thus, compliance with the law is
the starting point, not the bottom line, for the university community, and
disability should be included, along with race and gender, in what is defined
as a “minority” on campus.
- Raising and promoting disability consciousness on campus:
Disability is an important aspect of diversity in a university community
of scholars, faculty, and students. Inclusion of people with disabilities
in the Syracuse University environment provides a learning experience for
all and reaffirms the dignity of all human beings. Accordingly, disability
should be part and parcel of the university’s dialogue on diversity.
- Hiring faculty and staff members with significant disabilities:
A pioneering university in the areas of disability studies and special
education, Syracuse University should reflect its commitment to these disciplines
by hiring and promoting people with significant disabilities as faculty members
within departments across the university.
- Creating model accommodations exemplifying the university’s
commitment to equality of opportunity for students with disabilities:
Students with disabilities are entitled to effective reasonable accommodations
and should be included in the decision making process. Syracuse University
should be committed to providing the latest in technological advances that
would enhance access for students with disabilities.
Disabled Student Services (DSS) is an office designated to serve the needs
of students with disabilities through a student driven and student centered
model that promotes self-advocacy and self-efficacy.
The student is the expert on her experience, the DSS staff member
is the expert on the specific campus environment. Together, these two experts
pair to facilitate the student’s success. Access to the academic curriculum
is the first priority. DSS staff work to facilitate accommodations that serve
the student equitably. They know that one accommodation does not fit all
students, or even one student in all classes. They treat students as individuals
and make decisions based on the individual circumstances in each class. They
work as a team with the student, faculty, and appropriate department chairs
or support staff to facilitate student learning in each class. DSS staff
know that success in a course is not always a passing grade. Sometimes a
successful situation is one in which the student learns about his strengths
and weaknesses and how to better compensate for them in the future. To this
end, the DSS staff member does not do for a student what he can, or could
do for himself.
Access to campus life goes beyond the classroom, to the residence
hall or off campus apartment, student activities, campus religious and cultural
functions, and other extra curricular or co-curricular events. Many ways
that DSS staff assist students are low or no cost, and can make the difference
between attending classes and having a college experience.
The DSS on campus may be one of the first and most intense contacts
a student with a disability has with the university. DSS should represent
the philosophy and mission of the university in the best light. There is
no expectation that the DSS alone should break down all the access barriers
on campus. It should, however, serve as a resource for referral and support
for students as they break down the barriers themselves.
There is a fine line between encouraging someone to be independent,
and leaving them to sink or swim on their own. Supporting students in self-efficacy
involves assisting them in self-reflection that clarifies their needs and
improves their ability to articulate those needs. It involves knowing resources
on campus for allies and assisting students in seeking out those allies to
get their needs met. Promoting self-advocacy involves providing a student
with the tools he or she needs to be an advocate, through knowledge of resources,
and personal support.
Many departments at a university are already in place that model
students centered support. For example, the Office of International Students
may assist students with finding housing, choosing classes, understanding
the registration process, or finding venues for social interaction. These
offices respond to students’ requests with a “can do” attitude, and if they
are unable to meet the request, they provide the students with resources
necessary to meet the request. The staff in these offices know they are not
expected to find the housing or career for the student, but rather to facilitate
contact with the appropriate campus resource and provide support to other
campus staff members on the intricacies of working with their specific population.
They also know how students in similar situations have or have not been successful
in the past, and can advise students on the appropriateness of their decisions.
A DSS staff member should be knowledgeable about campus resources and known
as a campus resource.
An effective DSS office is the facilitator of success for a student
with a disability and therefore success of the college and a whole. When
the DSS staff understand the importance of each decision to the student who
is making it, they can advise and support in the best way possible.
by Steven J. Taylor1
My starting point on the issue of accommodations for students with disabilities
is the philosophy that we do this not for the students with disabilities,
not for compliance, and not for diversity for the sake of diversity, but
because universities are enriched by the experiences of students with disabilities.
In addition, the subject matter in many courses, many departments, and many
disciplines relate directly or indirectly to disability. Students in the
social sciences, public policy, law, and certainly the “helping,” applied
professions need to know something about disability; they need the perspectives,
not just from students with disabilities, but ideally from faculty with disabilities
who have personal experiences and bring different perspectives that are more
grounded in the real world. In my own experience, discussions in my classes
are different when I have students with disabilities in them. The other students
are much more sensitive and aware when reading the Davis case or the
Rowley case. Students genuinely think differently about Davis
when they have a deaf student and sign language interpreters in the class.
These experiences only enhance the learning of each student.
There are three major benefits to student accommodations. The primary
benefit, obviously, is for the student with the disability, that he or she
receives equal access to course content and is able to be evaluated reasonably
and fairly. There are secondary benefits that follow the principle of universal
design in architecture: the idea being that not just people in wheelchairs
benefit from universal architecture, but all kinds of people benefit and
the environment becomes more useful and inviting for everyone. I advise
a doctoral student who is deaf. He took a very intense course in which he
found that sign language interpreters were not an appropriate accommodation.
He received and I evaluated the use of CART (Communication Access Real-Time
Transcription), a communication system that requires “the use of machine
steno shorthand skills to produce real-time text on a computer.” The primary
benefit was that the student was able to read the lecture and participate
in the class discussions. He also had a transcript of the class that was
available immediately. The secondary benefit was to the other class members
and the professor. The other students had a transcript against which they
checked their notes in order to have a more thorough understanding of the
course materials. The professor was able to evaluate his teaching strategies
through transcript review and use the transcript to aid in his writing. This
particular student does not request CART in all of his courses, only the
most intense ones, but in all of his courses, he requires breaks at regular
intervals (approximately one per hour), as it aids his cognitive processing
when working with interpreters. This primary benefit to the student with
the disability benefits the other students in the class as well, as regularly
scheduled breaks allow more concentration or focus on the part of all students.
The major benefit, though, is that accommodations create an accepting, positive
learning and social environment on campus.
Traditionally, the responsibility for accommodations is relegated
to offices of disability services (ODS), but this mindset must be changed
so that it is everyone’s responsibility to create a positive classroom culture.
The following faculty responsibilities for accommodating their students with
disabilities, while perhaps not required by the ADA, lend themselves to creating
a caring, positive learning environment where people feel they can ask for
help whether or not it relates to disability. These examples also provide
primary and secondary benefits, which combine to create a positive learning
environment on campus.
- Having readings (or the course reader) available within a reasonable
period of time. This not only allows the ODS to have ample time to format
materials, but it also benefits those students who want to get a head start
on the semesters. Faculty should also be aware of the print quality of readers.
Oftentimes readers are scanned for students with visual impairments, and
blurry text does not scan effectively. For students with learning disabilities,
text quality is very important. The secondary benefit is that all students
will learn more effectively with clean readers.
- Faculty should be thoughtful about people who have either mobility
or visual impairments and might arrange transportation for those students.
Classmates helping out others who need a ride creates a positive classroom
- Speak at a moderate pace for interpreters. Be mindful of any
tendency you might have to speak quickly and slow down the pace. This slower
pace in turn potentially benefits all students’ note taking and comprehension.
- Provide interpreters with a list of proper names and jargon contained
in the class material for which there might not be established signs. “Deinstitutionalization”
is the example I always use. The entire class could potentially benefit from
such a list, for example, it might aid their note taking.
- Brief the interpreters before class on what is going to be covered
that session, what video might be shown, etc. In turn, this has been helpful
to me, as interpreters have occasionally informed me that a particular video
was not well captioned. It is helpful to have an open relationship with the
interpreters, not only to have the ability to talk with them to orient them
to what you are going to cover in class, but also to get feedback from them.
It is helpful to periodically ask them, “Am I going too fast?”
- Use more visual cues when teaching. In point of fact I find it
easier to teach when I have overheads. Using overheads makes it much easier
to lecture in that I am sure the essential information is made available
to them visually. Again, having the information available visually potentially
benefits many students in the classroom. The flip side of this, though, is
interesting, in that there are some dilemmas when you have a diverse class
that includes students with different disabilities; some things-visuals,
for example-are extremely helpful for someone who is deaf or has a particular
learning disability, but are much more difficult for someone who is blind.
I try to be conscious of the fact that when I put up an overhead, I read
what is on it for students with visual impairments of potential learning
- As faculty, when we teach we have in our minds categories of
what are key points and what is secondary. I have had conversations with
students with visual impairments in which faculty have told them (about a
visual), “You don’t need to know that” and will not take the time to provide
this information. The faculty is not saying, “You are blind and you don’t
need to know that,” what they are saying is that this information is secondary,
however, that still deprives the student equal access to the content, as
a professor can’t necessarily judge what the student might find useful. So
even though I think it doesn’t matter if I don’t read this part of the overhead
because it contains details that aren’t related to the central point, maybe
the student can’t get the central point unless she has those other details.
- When you show a video, even if the video is mostly talk, it is
helpful to have a classmate explain the visuals to a blind or visually impaired
student; again, even though it might not be essential to what could be learned
from the video, the students’ learning experience is diminished if they do
not have equal access to all the content.
- When something funny happens in class, a gesture or what happens
when a student comes in late, it is important to explain why the class is
laughing to a student who is blind or visually impaired. This creates a supportive
and inclusive classroom culture.
- We have created a fetish around disability, where somehow students
are expected to feel ashamed or stigmatized that they have a disability and
we can’t make mention of it. I think it is important that we confront our
own potential mistakes and feel comfortable asking the student, “How is it
going?” “Are you getting what you need out of this class?” Similarly, with
respect to “invisible disabilities,” I state on my syllabus, “If you require
any accommodations, talk to me,” which is not saying you have to talk to
me, but feel free to talk to me and if I can be more accommodating, whether
or not ODS would call that an accommodation, let me know. That is not to
say anything goes. There are certain things students must do to get the essential
part of what is being taught. I can’t waive certain requirements, students
have to do the readings, together we have to figure out ways to make this
happen. I have had students approach me over the years who were not identified
as having a disability; however, some of their learning needs are not all
that different from students with disabilities when it comes to their writing,
how they process information, or even how they take humor. Students who don’t
have identified disabilities have some of the same issues, and I have to
- More and more students who have disabilities that require innovative
accommodations are entering universities. For example, they may be sensitive
to lighting or smells or have difficulty with social interaction. Marc Gold’s
motto was “Try another way.” If a person doesn’t learn using this type of
technique, come up with another type of technique. I have been working with
one student with a developmental disability doing an independent study reading
course for years and it is a constant struggle to figure out how to meet
his needs and to make sure he learns what he should from the independent
study. He is very concrete and wants to know what he should get out of the
readings, what he should be looking for, but for a graduate degree it is
essential to read and analyze material, but not with forced choice true-false
answers, even though that might be what is more helpful for him. At this
point he is having a tough time reading, and as this is a reading independent
study, I am trying to come up with alternatives, trying to find videotapes
that cover concepts that would have been in the readings as an accommodation.
I am still trying to find the balance between being too open ended without
being so closed ended that it is defeating the purpose of learning. Fortunately,
he likes corresponding by email and I can readily email him long responses
he needs. Email is much better for him, as personal interaction may be uncomfortable
for him. I am a firm believer that certain things cannot be taught through
distance education. But some students find that interactions in group situations
is sensory overload.
- Faculty should be aware of and sensitive to the fact that students
with disabilities can spend months and months at universities totally alone.
Freshmen are coming right out of high school, and there is a time of adjustment
to new content, a different social life, being away from family, in addition
to addressing disability issues. Faculty should understand and convey to
students that they are not alone, are not off the wall, are not unreasonable,
and do not have to feel ashamed or stigmatized.
What has been exemplary and motivating at the Syracuse University campus
is the Women’s Studies department. The faculty views Women’s Studies not
only as an academic area, but also understands it in the realm of political
and social activism. Women’s Studies has to be concerned about sexual harassment,
women’s safety, and various inequities that women face. This is my vision
of what faculty and academic programs should be: it is not just enough to
study the issues, but to do something about them. One cannot ignore what
is going on in one’s own backyard, for example, the School of Education at
Syracuse University has literally fought battles in school districts around
inclusion. Of course, one is limited when one works for an organization,
especially junior faculty who are coming up for promotion tenure. Junior
faculty have limited abilities to stick their necks out, but if nothing else,
it is important to communicate to students with disabilities-and all students-that
they are not alone.
Faculty members see themselves as advisors, and I have known advisors
to bend over backwards to help students, but when I have personally tried
to involve them in advocacy work for a student with a disability, they refused.
They see the problem and they sympathize with the student, but they don’t
want to take a stand. Faculty should be allies and advocates willing to advocate
personally in meetings, to sign letters, or support their classes to act
If I can be a more effective professor for a student, I will accommodate
my students. I don’t care if it is a disability issue or not. The bottom
line is that a person becomes a professor to help students learn and sometimes
that means that the in order to help a student learn, compliance with the
law is not enough. Sometimes the bottom line is beyond compliance.
Throughout my life, I have had many friends and colleagues who have disabilities.
We have shared classrooms as students and as instructors, and we have shared
countless community experiences. In each setting, I often witness my friends
and colleagues receiving the same acceptance and respect that every citizen
expects from society. I also see many instances of misunderstanding, paternalism,
exclusion, and oppression directed toward these same individuals. At these
times, I am aware of the differences between how the world sees me, a person
with no apparent disability, and my peer, who is marked in some way that
others find important enough to merit different treatment. We all sometimes
find ourselves in the role of ally to our friends, and one might argue that
it is unnecessary to discuss this role as being any different in relation
to people with disabilities. However, I believe that, until my peers with
disabilities receive the same good, bad, or indifferent reception that I
receive, rather than treatment based solely on their disability status, I
need to be clear about my role as an ally. Part of this role requires that
I be clear with others, including students, staff, faculty, and administrators,
about why I believe that people with disabilities must receive the support
necessary to fully participate in the University community. And part of this
role also requires me to act in ways that support, rather than speak or act
for, my colleagues and friends.
Why we need our colleagues in our classrooms
By sharing their perspectives with those of us without disabilities, and
by allowing us into their daily lives, our colleagues with disabilities enrich
our classroom and community experiences and add to our understanding of society
and social justice. For example, I have a colleague who needs texts and printed
materials in alternative formats, and these were not always provided to her
in time (or, in many cases, at all). By watching her negotiate with the office
responsible for providing necessary adaptations, and by observing the consequences
of her not receiving things in time, I see first-hand how our laws (in this
case, the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act) is interpreted and
applied at the local level. I have also learned a lot about time management
and organization from watching her supervise different paid support people
who help her use the library, access research and course materials, and perform
other necessary tasks.
Having peers who have disabilities adds to the depth of our education
in ways that no instructor, gifted as she or he is, can do in the classroom.
Most students in the classes I take have a particular interest in disability
issues. I believe, however, that the value of knowing peers with disabilities
is not limited to students in disability-related programs. Students in every
program gain valuable insight by studying and sharing everyday lives alongside
peers whose experiences might seem different from their own, whether that
peer comes from another culture, or country, or has a disability. As our
society grows in diversity, so should our campuses, and so should our understanding
of the value of diversity. Although we live, work, and study in the same
environments as my peers, my peers’ experiences in these environments are
often different from my own, and I learn a lot about society through their
eyes. For example, my friend Bill uses a wheelchair and an electronic communication
device that others notice when we’re out in public. Physical accessibility,
attitudes of others (we often find ourselves the center of unwanted attention
from others), and graceful but effective ways of making sure one’s rights
are being respected (Bill is a master at gently re-directing a person’s attention
to him, despite that person’s preference for talking to him through me) take
on new dimensions when Bill and I go out.
Our peers bring accommodations to our everyday environments that
enrich all our experiences. For example, I cannot follow a discussion in
class if class members are interrupting and speaking over each other. One
of my colleagues uses a sign language interpreter, which requires that we
take turns speaking in class. This provides us all with the opportunity to
fully hear each other’s ideas, to slow our own voices down (and hopefully
to think before speaking) and to respect each other’s ideas. Others may require
auditory narration of videos, graphic representations of lecture topics,
or class notes from the instructor, and all of us in the class benefit from
these adaptations. Our peers add value to our classes in ways unrelated to
their disability status; for example, my Deaf colleague is also a lawyer,
activist, and expert on Marxism. Finally, our peers with disabilities provide
much-need role models for students, faculty, and employees of our institution.
They demonstrate that, given equal opportunity and respect, people with disabilities
contribute to society in important and, often, in unique ways.
Why we need our colleagues as fellow instructors
I co-teach an undergraduate seminar with a colleague who has autism. He
uses typing rather than speaking to communicate, and has a number of other
characteristics not usually found at the front of the typical university
classroom. The students in our class benefited in many ways from having him
as an instructor. First, he was able to present a perspective, and to ask
hard questions, that I could not. After our first day of class, for example,
he asked our students how they were going to describe him to their friends
when they got home! This question forced students to reflect on their own
stereotypes and assumptions about people with autism. Second, having this
man as an instructor disrupted their old ideas about how competent people
look and behave. It also provided them with sustained, ongoing opportunities
to learn and practice skills developing relationships with, and accommodating
for, people who don’t communicate verbally or who have other characteristics
not common in current classrooms. The spaces of silence required as he typed
his comments and questions to the class gave students time to reflect upon
the topic of discussion. Finally, we provided a model for our students through
our interactions with each other. Our mutual respect for and enjoyment of
each other demonstrated to our students that people like us really aren’t
so different after all.
Why it is important for us to be allies
The university I attend prides itself on being student-centered, which I
interpret as reflective of the consumer-driven ethic that permeates our culture.
We students, in effect, are customers. When I reflect upon the rationales
guiding practices that exclude or dismiss my University colleagues, I try
to imagine the arguments used to justify exclusion. For example, I have heard
it argued that students with disabilities require “extra” work from instructors,
and that some of the accommodations they require to participate are expensive.
I suppose that these arguments, in a student-centered framework, presume
that their value as student is somehow either less than mine, or maybe not
as cost-effective. Perhaps the argument is similar to that heard in some
public school districts about students with disabilities being in general
classrooms–that they “take away” from the education of students without
disabilities. Do students with disabilities consume more than their “fair
share” of the resources? What do we mean by “fair share”? Can we, or should
we, evaluate an individual’s potential worth in financial terms? If not,
how do we assign value against which to determine the “cost?”
As a consumer of the resources available at this student-centered
university, I want to be clear about my own position on the concepts of “fair
share” and “value.” First, I don’t believe that my education, or my potential
to contribute to the post-university world, is more valuable than that of
my colleagues who have disabilities. In fact, as members of an under-represented
and long-oppressed group, they have insights to contribute that I cannot.
Not only do I want their input in my own education (their value to me as
a university consumer), I want their input in my world (their value to society
in general). Second, as to the “extra” time and expense of their accommodations,
I again maintain that we all gain from having these in our classes. They
are not just accommodations for our colleagues; they are our accommodations
for all of us. Instructors are called upon to teach in ways that reach all
learners, not just those whose best learning comes from listening to three
hours of nonstop lecture. This helps instructors use, and model, better teaching
pedagogy. This also makes their courses more rich, accommodating, and interesting
to all students. Finally, it gives us access to the ideas that our colleagues
contribute to the class. I believe the “cost” of these elements cannot be
calculated in monetary terms, or, at least, not assigned solely to my colleagues
for whom those accommodations are developed. All of us share the cost because
all of us share the benefits. In the end, I believe that the “share” my colleagues
contribute is at least as valuable as the share they require.
What does it mean to be an ally?
As allies, we demonstrate that we respect and value our friends. Sometimes
we do this indirectly and other times we use very direct means. As allies,
we have to think carefully about our ally role before we act. Being an ally
is an important, but tricky, thing. It is not the same as being an advocate,
and, in many ways, it is a harder role to take on. Most of us would feel
much better if we could speak out for our friends in the face of the disrespectful
and dismissive treatment they receive. But this means usurping their right
(and ability) to speak for themselves, and reinforces an idea many in society
already have–that people with disabilities are somewhat helpless or incompetent
and need others to protect them. It also presumes that we know what they
want or need. None of these are helpful positions for us to take as allies.
To me, being an ally means asking my friend how I can best support
her or him. It might mean that we brainstorm together about how to address
particular issues. It might mean that I support them as they protest the
unequal treatment they receive. Sometimes I do the busy work that allows
them to more fully participate. Lately, it has meant that I join with a larger
group of colleagues with disabilities and allies to address “bigger picture”
issues on our campus. It often means that I, through my own words and actions,
show others why I want and need my friend to be in the same classroom or
community setting as me. Always, it means that I respect their right to speak
and act on their own behalf.
My friends, thank you for deciding to be supporters, and thank you for being
peers and not bosses or role models. Bosses are a dime a dozen in our lives,
and role models are people we choose, not ones who choose us. But peers
are just what we need.
Peers are people who are in the same boat as we are, and who are
our equals. That means people who must follow the same foul rules that we
do, and who have ways of coping that we need to know about. Role models
are expected to be perfect, but peers can fumble and make mistakes just like
we do. Peers are fully human, and that welcomes us to be our fully human
selves. Do not think you confuse us by telling us about your mistakes and
failures. Those things are what makes us feel close to you. Never fear making
us less than perfect. We have already mastered that before you came along.
And don’t worry about being a bad influence. We all watch TV and have enough
bad influences already.
All we need from you are three things: time, respect, and information.
Time is obvious, and the more the better. We mostly have way too much free
time. Respect is not so observable as time, but is more important and not
easy to establish if it is not there to begin with. My definition of respect
is when one person assumes there is just as much chance that I am right as
that he is. Good peer support is always from people who are eager to learn
and that means people who don’t mind being wrong a lot of the time. My sense
of humor is always tickled by watching people who think they are perfect
not succeed and then still think they’ve got to keep being perfect anyway.
Respect means not getting stuck in that silly dangerous place.
The third thing our supporters provide us with is information.
Most typical people have information I would give anything for, but that
is not what they want to share with us “monsters.” I use that word because
I think of Frankenstein and his monster. He is a good example of what happens
when you try to control how another person grows and learns. Really, monsters
are made with the good intentions of wise doctor Frankenstein to make a perfect
man. Because each person needs a different set of facts to base his or her
decisions on, each person also makes work for the support people to find
out what pieces are missing. Not everyone needs to know what time it is,
but some people base their whole lives on that fact. Not everyone needs to
know how to ask politely for a bathroom, but some people have used gestures
that got them in big trouble. And not everyone cares about football, but
some people have opened doors to friendship with Super Bowl comments. So
what information do you peer supporters have that we need? My guess is that
if you want to find out, we can tell you if you ask us. If that doesn’t work,
give us some choices. Real support will include lots of stories about you
and your friends and your loves and your parents. And real support will
help us in ways that will amaze you both.
STUDENTSAT THE POSTSECONDARY LEVEL:A DIALOGUE BETWEEN
JAGDISH CHANDER AND CHERYL SPEAR
Jags: Cheryl, you have just written a paper talking about
issues concerning blind and visually impaired students at the higher education
level–wow, we need to take care of some of the very subtle things, which
we experience with the accommodation processes.
Cheryl: Yes, those descriptions I e-mailed to you were some
of my initial thoughts regarding the needs of students at the postsecondary
level, who live with sight impairments. In any case, I believe our conversation
today will take up some of those thoughts, Jagdish, What are your initial
thoughts on the topic?
Jags: Well, we all need accommodations in some way or other.
Yet, due to some sort of visible or invisible disability, some accommodations
are considered “special.”
Cheryl: True to the nature of their specialness, those accommodations
and the folks who use them, have as a result of this need the experience
of living with unforgivable labels. Just because a person wishes to understand
the characters on a page which they experience as untranslatable, or to hear
what is being spoken, or see that which is being written, or write down what
is on their minds, the accommodations that would certainly satisfy any of
these need are called “special” and thus may be denied her or him because
these persons are given the label slow and retarded.
Still, every person living needs to be considered as having both
similar and particular needs in order to interact with their different environments.
Think for a moment. When people ask that the quality of CDs be improved
for a more crystallized sound, they are asking for a technological accommodation.
As well, when someone asks that a lecturer make use of the microphone or
sharpen the viewer on the overhead projector, they are asking for a series
of accommodations and adaptations due to an inability to hear or see. Or,
when people ask for a glossary at the end of a text that has different language
or symbols or rely on spell check, they too are being accommodated. Clearly,
neither of these person’s request deserves the label “special,” nor do they
need or want the stereotypes that define them. What may be understood here
is that individual needs do vary across a wide continuum and so do accommodations
requested and received in order to satisfy such diverse needs.
Jags: The problem of accommodations for a particular group
of students, the blind or visually impaired, is a relatively complex one.
Cheryl: The range of seeing is great.
Jags: Yes, of course. For instance, there are various categories
of blind students namely: blind, visually impaired, legally blind, low vision
and so forth. Within these categories are still other differences. Two students
with a similar loss of vision might have different ways of seeing and thus
different daily needs for accommodations; for example, a totally blind student
who acquires blindness during her or his adulthood in most cases does not
find her or himself very comfortable in reading a great volume of literature
in Braille. By contrast, someone who has been reading Braille since childhood
would find large volumes of text welcoming. Therefore, it is erroneous to
prescribe singularily one particular form of accommodation for students with
Cheryl: I came into the conversation about appropriate accommodations
for the visually impaired when, what was then called Adaptive Technology
(AT) was beginning to be explored as a viable resource for our population’s
academic needs. As a result of coming to the technology late in my academic
career, I have now entered my fifth year of doctoral studies heavily relying
on the skills of Readers/Research Aids. This is not to say that I did not
have some remedial skills to use AT, or, the skills to use audio recorded
text, or, the skills to read Braille. What having this many skills meant
was that I had to do so much memory work. So much so, that these skills collided
with the memory work I had to do in order to perform well within and outside
the classroom. Besides, as I recall Braille became cumbersome even though
I was proficient in Grade Two Braille that is its contracted form.
Jags: Yes, Cheryl. Louis Braille invented Braille in the
first half of the nineteenth century, and Braille remained the primary source
of having access to information for hundreds of years. The invention of tape-recorders
enabled blind people to have speedy access to information and it speeded
up the process of storage of information through recorded texts. Thus, Braille
was supplemented with the recorded texts on tapes. Then, the invention of
computers and the development of access technology (which was earlier described
as “assistive technology” or “adaptive technology”) revolutionized the process
of storage and access to information.
For those who are proficient in the latest technology, availability
of the text in the e-format (electronic text) is definitely most preferred,
but, it does not eliminate the importance of Braille or the recorded text
on tape. In other words, one form of accommodation may be preferred in a
particular situation, but, that does not make the other forms of accommodation
redundant and so nothing should be taken for granted as “the only form of
accommodation.” The form of accommodation should depend upon the requirements
of the student, depending upon her or his skills of using Braille or audio
books or books in e-format among many other possibilities for accessing printed
and electronic text.
Cheryl: Proficiency in the earlier as well as the latest
technologies is an important consideration in creating accommodations that
will actually support students with disabilities in their academic studies.
But, I know there are additional academic concerns to be considered alongside
that of proficiency.
For example, the work of being a student requires multiple tasks
besides that of reading and writing. At our level of academic achievement,
we must begin to enter the spaces where we can engage with the scholarship
that has already begun and is ongoing; that is, gain access to the scholarship
within our particular fields of study. To do this, we must go into the corridors
of libraries, resource centers, lecture halls, science laboratories, and
so forth. As you well know, to physically enter spaces where knowledge is
available is but one accomplishment. Another accomplishment would be to enter
such spaces and have this available information be made accessible to us.
Let me give you two instances of what I am talking about.
In the library when I am conducting “first level” research and
I want just to browse in order to assess and access what has already been
written I get into big trouble. Once I move past the basement of the Bird
Library, and approach the first, second, or third floors, the knowledge within
those corridors there becomes prohibitive. On what shelves can I find my
books? What are the possible range of topics may I explore? How will I
retrieve the books from the shelves? How will I know if the table of contents
or the Introduction of a selected text covers my broad area of interests?
In another instance, at the Society for Disability Studies conference
we attended in June 2002, I received a Braille copy of the conference schedule
and program. But I found I could not read the Braille lettering. Now, I must
admit I had the Braille program turned upside down the whole time. Yet, the
point I wish to make is that the Braille print was so bad that I could not
discern upside down or top side up, its characters. In either situation,
entering the library corridors and the conference hall, I gained access to
printed text only because a human person, in the form of a Reader/Research
Aide was there to provide visual supports.
Jags: Yeah, I mean, dependence on other people can be minimized
with the maximization of the use of the assistive technology and with the
ability of creating material in accessible format. To some extent, the role
readers or role of human help is always needed and needed not only for students
with disabilities, its needed for everyone in some form or other actually.
So that would remain to some extent. But then the point is, to what extent
can that be minimized to make it, to make a student with disabilities as
much independent, as much as possible?
Cheryl: I wonder, to consider the question of independence
versus that of dependence is a topic for which we would need another conversation.
Here, in the North American social and political contexts, one form of behavior
is clearly privileged over the other depending on a host of conditions. For
instance, dependence becomes gendered and disability scripted when the persons
described in this way is either female or requires human services to accomplish
daily activities or perhaps both.
So as not to entirely close this conversation about utilizing readers
as a viable accommodation, I’d like to add another comment. In general, making
use of support persons, which includes readers, requires a lot of independent
negotiating and strategizing on the part of the student. But these skills
typically are not acknowledged or valued by service providers, counselors
and professors, those persons concerned with our academic output. Therefore,
the connections that readers/support persons and students make must be so
concise. It must be the case that the work that gets accomplished comply
with the academic standards set by the university. Sometimes, just knowing
how to make appropriate decisions and communicate with those who support
us becomes a move towards greater “interdependency.”
For example, I worked with someone today and she said, “You know
sometimes I don’t know which direction to go when I’m doing library research
for you.” I responded in a light manner, “Yeah, it’s all a guess. You can’t
read what’s in my head.” And, if we had more to go on, like we had telepathy
or something that would be great, but we don’t. And she said, “Well you
know, all we have between us is good communication yeah and all we have is
the faith in each other that we’ll hear each other’s requests and concerns.”
And I thought that was real important because that’s what we have. And that’s
the only way we are going to get the work done.
Jags: Accommodations must be tailored to meet both general
and specific needs of the student. Apart from the efficiency and skill of
a student to use a particular form of accommodation, the form of accommodation
should also depend upon the context. For example, a student might prefer
to get his or her books in e-format when it comes to the voluminous books.
But if he or she is attending a conference, it might be preferable to have
the program in Braille rather than getting it in e-format. Similarly, in
case of the readings for the class, the texts, which need to be read, in
advance it might be preferable to have them available on tapes or e-format
(depending upon the preference of the concerned student). However, if there
is a handout, which needs to be read along with other students in the class,
it might be preferable to have it in Braille so that one can read it at the
same time with the other classmates.
Hence, there cannot be a clear, black and white picture of accommodations
for the blind and the visually impaired students. It will be not proper to
say that this is what is needed and this is what is not needed actually.
It has to be taken into account depending upon the skills of the students
whose going to be using these accommodations. What he or she is more equipped
to deal with. At the same time, it would also depend upon the contexts in
which these accommodations are being used.
Cheryl: Without consideration of the context in which an
accommodation will be used, the possession of that accommodation can become
virtually meaningless. Jagdish, you continue to assert that, “the skill of
the student when using an accommodation must also be taken seriously.” Yes,
you and I agree about the necessity for students to have an adequate amount
of training with access technology in particular before we began to assimilate
it into our academic work. I know this competency we are describing has been
You know I see problems in accessing technology for students with
disabilities. One of the major problems is that the technology changes so
quickly. We are easily behind our colleagues, a good six months or more.
Mainstream and adaptive technologies are in a battle to achieve compatibility
with each other. And we remain in the middle of that confusion. I mean it’s
six months by default. Not to mention that even with the compatibility issue
being addressed, Colleges’ and Universities inability to become informed
about the new technologies in order to bring them forward does not set well
with the work that must get done by us. Such consistent delays result in
an unfortunate lag for students with disabilities.
But then another issue that must get attention is learning. Jagdish,
I know you taught me something about becoming immersed in the operation of
the technology and being with it alone. That is, not necessarily working
with the technology in context with academic work, although the contextualization
helps to reinforce the learning of the technology. I’ve been listening to
the tutorial tapes and it’s a lot of memory work. There’s no doubt in my
mind that if one already has a lot of coursework to do in addition to learning
the keyboard commands that literally drive our access to the multiple screens
within, no less, a Windows/viewing environment, is nearly impossible. It
becomes complicated and it slows down all learning processes. Either the
learning, the contextual learning gets slowed down or the academic work gets
Jags: Yeah that lags behind.
Cheryl: Yeah that lags behind so we have a problem here.
One of my colleagues, who’s a damn good technology specialist and he’s totally
blind, said, “Cheryl, one of the things I’d like to see you do is look at
the issue of `readiness’ for students who come into the academy in terms
of their ability to effectively use the technology.” He said, “We try to
train them but we only give four to eight, weeks of training at the most.”
And we know that when the folks with sight impairments leave the technology
centers, they are not prepared to use the technology at their colleges or
universities. But it’s what the state allows. And so we need to find another
way to make sure that students are more technologically literate and ready
when they leave our centers. But will they get into the academy somewhere
in-between? Ready but not really ready? Because once you get into the academy
there’s no space to learn.
Jags: I agree. I somehow find myself slightly fortunate that
I first tried to make myself comfortable with technology and then came to
this school. Otherwise I don’t think I would be able to keep up. It took
me an entire three months altogether, full-time, day to night, to be fully
computer trained, in terms of computers in general–learning the basics of
computers and then the use of assistive technology.
So, if I had to spare these three months now, I would never be
able to do it in the next five years during my Ph.D. I can never take all
those months off now. And, well that’s about the basics, that even now actually
if I could keep up I would be very happy to take a month off and really concentrate
on making myself updated on technology. Though my knowledge, when I came
I had the upgraded knowledge of technology a year ago actually. But this
one year has again made so much more difference and I would really be happy
to take one month’s break and update myself and that becomes a challenge
for blind students or students with disabilities who are using assistive
technology. Because the technology is moving so fast, the challenge for us
is to keep up with the work or keep up with the technology. This definitely
complicates the pursuit of academic work, and I understand, Cheryl, you joined
this work first, and then you got into the technology. For me, it would be
impossible to keep up with that. You would really require so much time to
get out of it. You know just to get into it was a quite frustrating process
start with, the three months was really dedicated to learning the skills
of computer and JAWS.
Cheryl: But, in order to learn the technology, students must
have the commitments and support of both community and university members
who will open up opportunities and spaces to experience new learning, which
is another layer added to the general technology discussion. I know that
universities as educational centers or as institutions of higher learning
can help to support our connection to access technologies in different ways.
Furthermore, they can bridge the gap between themselves and community agencies
in meaningful ways in order to provide necessary supports. Now in terms of,
helping to make that connection to community, universities must consider
the following: one, take an interest in the agencies like VESID and CBVH
have technologies in their inventories. The technologies used in the home/
community could then be duplicated within the academic context. Two, universities
could share with agencies their few, but skilled specialized technologists.
Three, agencies could conduct “first level” trainings while the university
conduct “advanced level” technology trainings.
Unfortunately, my experience in the first two to three years as
a doctoral student was that I was trying to explain what I didn’t know.
But also I became part of the university’s experiments. Maybe the technologies
would work and maybe they would not? And I would have to just wait to see
if the adaptive technology would cause the network failure. So much of our
success in getting universities to institute the technology depend on our
use of it, whether it is in poor or good working condition. We are the experimenters
in computer development and design, the Beta Testers as it were. Our understanding
of how configurations. Of the hard and software work at various levels is
And so, someone who could just come in, and I’ve been around a
few skilled and trained technicians who can come in and who can look at the
system and can identify, pretty soon where the concerns are and where they
need to make some adjustments to the system or viable recommendations to
the administration. So I know that’s another way. The university can help
support students with disabilities to connect with access technology by creating
demonstration sites where we’re able to, where they are able to seriously
problem solve with the technologies upfront. That is, where they can work
on the computers first and then download everything to the network and then
the students can use them. So the students are never involved behind the
scenes in the problem-solving phase and they’re never involved in the actual
implementing phase of the general technology installations, upgrade and maintenance.
It should be ready for them; it is a part of the contract that comes with
being a student here at the university.
Jags: I guess the point that you are trying to emphasize
here is that one of the accommodations is that technology needs to be kept
updated. There should be a strong technical support in terms of having the
people who are skilled to be with assistive technology which is generally
missing in most universities. Especially in our university, it has been missing
so far. And when you talk about accommodations, you know accommodations in
general as you were saying, when anything new comes up it’s downloaded on
the network and every student has access to it. A student doesn’t have to
be bothered by it, whether it’s going to be broke or not. If a student gets
stuck, there is a technical staff to take care of it. The only thing that
the technical staff of the university would know is how to install the software,
nothing beyond that if anyone is stuck, they’re not in a position to help
in the process. And that’s a lack of the commitment of the university to
ensure accommodation. Because accommodation will not mean just getting the
software, but also to take care of the problems in the software. So, where
do we go to take care of these problems, really?
Jags: Actually, that’s the thing. So it’s your problem.
Either you make it or you just keep quiet.
Cheryl: From the time that I’ve been here there has been
literally no one who has known how to effectively intervene. How I got through
was involving myself in with what is has been termed “communities of practice.”
Within this community framework people who I work with literally help me
get information and skills through their own experience with the general
technology. And so it’s a practice that is voluntary and that has been reinforced
over and over again…. In terms of faculty, I know what’s important is that
faculty at some point in their career, if they should have but one student
with a disability, they should be in active consultation with that student
about their accommodations to access technology. If they only meet once or
twice, it’s worthwhile because if for God’s sake the technology is not coming
through, well then faculty too are affected. They are affected by the quality
of the work of that student. For sure, faculty do not get to see the progress
that they intended on witnessing through their student.
And the faculty is one of the better advocates. They have some power
within their departments. At the very least you know they can say, “I want
my student to have equality in my classroom.” They can also petition to the
university who can in turn intervene in the process. But somehow many faculty
feel removed from the process totally. And so when the student is in crisis,
they don’t understand what to do and they don’t know where to go. And by
that time it’s too late.
Jags: It is a well-known fact that millions of Americans,
who are more than fifty years old, do not find themselves very comfortable
with computers and they remain computer illiterate. Does that mean that these
people in the older generation should be deprived of the access to information?
This generation of people has the equal right to have an access to the information
even if they are not comfortable with computers in this era of I.T. revolution.
This category of people will require accommodations and one of the major
accommodations that they need is that they would need the information and
the literature in the alternative format than the one in e-format.
Similarly, in the context of accommodations for blind and the visually
impaired students, we need to recognize that technology has been changing
or developing rapidly. While they have the right to have an access to the
accommodations made possible through the latest developments in the technology,
no particular form of accommodation should be imposed.
For the past two years, a partnership between Syracuse University’s School
of Education and the Syracuse City School District has brought several city
school students who are between the ages of 18 and 21 and who have a variety
of developmental disability labels to the SU campus. These city school students
audit classes, work, and socialize every day alongside their University peers.
Most people can easily imagine the benefits of this arrangement to the city
school students. For example, city school participants have the opportunity
to learn in classes to which they wouldn’t otherwise have access, to practice
social skills with same-aged peers who don’t have disabilities, and to spend
each day in the same environments and having similar experiences as their
same-aged peers. What is equally important to recognize is that the University
community, including students, staff, and faculty, also benefit from having
the OnCampus students as a daily presence at Syracuse University.
Benefits to the SU Community
OnCampus students add to the diversity at the University. They help
us broaden the definition of diversity from the traditional boundaries of
ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation. They provide us with opportunities
to learn the value of many kinds of diversity. OnCampus students provide
the campus community with opportunities to question old ideas about who belongs
in higher education. They show us that, given adequate support, they are
successful students, friends, and members of the University community. They
cause us to examine ideas about social justice and the meaning of disability
labels in society.
OnCampus students show us the many ways that competent people
look, behave, and communicate. They help us develop skills conversing with
people who don’t speak, or who communicate in unique ways. They help us learn
how to develop relationships with people who seem quite different from us.
They help us learn that there are many important ways that we are all the
OnCampus students help faculty think differently about how,
and who, they teach. OnCampus students bring the class a variety of
[not curricular, but more like strategies, I can’t find the word] adaptations
that demonstrate innovative ways to teach all students. They make unique
contributions that add to the richness of the course for all students. They
demonstrate the many ways that competent students look, behave, and communicate.
They demonstrate to faculty that learning, and intelligence, are expressed
in many ways.
FOR STENOGRAPHIC TRANSCRIPTIONby Michael A. Schwartz and Steven J. TaylorJanuary 2003
Imagine yourself staring at a single focal point for three hours, with two
five-minute breaks during that time. Imagine a stream of information flowing
through that focal point toward you. Imagine concentrating on receiving that
information in one language and mentally translating it to another language.
Imagine formulating a response in your mind, then finding the right words
in another language to express that response, all the while still processing
the stream of information continuously flowing through the focal point of
your concentration. Imagine all that, and you’re close to visualizing the
experience of a deaf student sitting with a team of two sign language interpreters,
receiving the information in a complex and difficult academic class that
meets for three hours once a week. It is a fatiguing, draining, and not very
efficient process of learning.
I have been profoundly deaf since birth. My first language was
spoken English; I did not grow up with sign language, whether American Sign
Language (ASL) or Signed English. I did not use sign language interpreters
in an academic setting until I was 25 years old and a first-year law student.
In the three years of law school, my classes were no more than one hour
long. Given the one-hour duration, I could process the information and glean
something from class, despite my fatigue.
However, when I entered the doctoral program in the Cultural Foundations
of Education, a program within the School of Education, at Syracuse University
in the fall of 2001, I discovered that all of my courses were three-hour
classes that met once a week. As a Disability Studies major, I took a number
of courses in disability-related areas. Having worked as a disability rights
attorney, I was familiar with the material, and the pace of the classes was
moderate so that despite my fatigue from the three hour classes, I could
follow and participate in the discussion with the aid of interpreters.
One class, however, was a different story. It was a course in
Marxist cultural studies taught by Professor Don Mitchell who spoke rapidly,
asked many questions, and pushed us long and hard during our three hours
together. Professor Mitchell’s teaching style was Socratic; he liked to fire
questions, stimulating a rapid and free-wheeling discussion. The material
was conceptually difficult, completely unfamiliar to me, and every week I
left class exhausted and frustrated. Despite two breaks, I found myself struggling
not to tune out after the second hour. After the first hour with the interpreters,
my ability to process information declined. By the third hour, I found myself
working very hard to stay focused on what the interpreters were signing.
This fatigued me even more. It was hard not to daydream. I estimated that
I missed up to 40% of the discussion because of fatigue. Indeed, I was shocked
to receive the notes from a class notetaker:
I’ll tell you what is real: my amazement in realizing from
the notetaker’s notes one night that I could not, for the life of me, recall
the interpreters conveying that information that was appearing in the notes.
I read the notes carefully, and based on a rough estimate I figured that
about 40% of the notes were new to me (Schwartz E-mail to Dr. Taylor, 3/10/02).
It became quite obvious to me that the process of interpreting three hours
of rapid-fire discussion involving complex and difficult material has its
From my perspective, reading signs (translating the signs into
English in my head) requires cognitive effort, which, over three hours, with
short breaks, degrades my ability to grasp complex information. This is a
big source of mental fatigue. According to an E-mail message I sent Dr. Taylor:
I spend my time processing signs into English and thinking
over the concepts. It is a lot of work, and with sign interpreters the margin
for responding is razor thin. It is like trying to jump aboard a fast train
while holding a tray with a raw egg on it. CART, on the other hand, presents
to me the written English inside a screen; I don’t have to do any translating,
I can get right into the meat and potatoes of the ideas, and the screen is
large enough so that I can ponder for approximately 30-45 seconds or check
my notes (Schwartz E-mail to Dr. Taylor, 3/11/02).
From the interpreters’ standpoint, most are not expected to be well-versed
in, or to master, the subject matter of the course they interpret. They do
not learn or study the concepts-and may not understand what is being discussed
in class. Interpreting a dense and difficult course can be just as exhausting
for the interpreter.
The following semester, Professor Mitchell offered a course
on Karl Marx’s magnum opus, Capital, and I desperately wanted to take it.
Yet, I was deeply concerned about the problem of fatigue in this course.
I wanted to try something new, something different, something with the potential
to reduce my fatigue and enhance my learning from class discussion: CART.
CART stands for either “Communications Access Realtime Translation”
(U.S. Department of Labor, National Court Reporters Association) or “Computer-Aided
Real-time Translation” (Caption Advantage). CART involves in-class (on-site)
transcription by a trained court reporter or stenographer using a stenographic
machine, a laptop computer, and specialized software, which are provided
by the reporter or stenographer. The reporter requires nothing more sophisticated
than an electrical outlet. CART can also be provided from a remote location;
this, however, would require the hard-wiring of classrooms.
According to the National Court Reporters Association, CART
is a word-for-word speech-to-text interpreting service for people who need
communication access. Unlike computerized notetaking or abbreviation systems,
which summarize information for the deaf consumer, CART provides a complete
translation of all spoken words and environmental sounds, empowering the
consumer to decide for herself what information is important to her. CART
consumers include people with hearing loss; individuals with cognitive or
motor challenges; anyone desiring to improve reading/language skills; and
those with other communication barriers. Caption Advantage, a national company
that provides closed captioning and real-time translation, describes CART
as an acronym for Computer-Aided Real-time Translation, referring to the
use of stenographic shorthand skills to produce real-time text on a computer
screen. As Caption Advantage describes it, CART involves a reporter with
a notebook computer and a stenographic keyboard, sitting next to a deaf or
hard of hearing person. The CART reporter types everything that is spoken
(as well as nonverbal conduct), and the screen on the notebook is turned
so that the deaf or hard of hearing person can read it. In contrast with
a computer keyboard, a stenographic machine is silent. I have seen CART
at several national deaf conferences and appreciated the immediate access
to real-time English with little or no attendant fatigue. Based on what I
saw of CART, I requested the provision of CART services for Professor Mitchell’s
class on Marx’s Capital. I foresaw that an in-depth discussion of Marx’s
magnum opus would be complex and difficult, and I wanted to test the efficacy
of reading the verbatim English dialogue scrolling up on a computer screen.
Initially Syracuse University denied my request. The Office of Disability
Services (ODS), responsible for crafting accommodations under the law for
students with disabilities, rejected my request, claiming that CART would
require “hard-wiring” all the classrooms on campus, to the tune of $400,000.
ODS also claimed that there were no CART providers in the Syracuse area.
I pointed out that I was asking for on-site CART, which did not require “hard
wiring,” only an ordinary electrical outlet for the stenographer’s equipment.
I also furnished the names of two CART providers in Syracuse. After some
internal deliberations within the university administration, the School of
Education agreed to provide CART for my Marx course and established it as
a pilot study to be evaluated by Dr. Steve Taylor. Dr. Taylor filed an evaluation
plan, “How Does Stenographic Transcription Work in a University Course?”
Pursuant to the pilot study, a certified court stenographer with experience
in the state and federal courts in Syracuse brought her stenographic machine
and a laptop to the class and provided me with CART in Professor Mitchell’s
class for the duration of the semester. In addition to CART, I had one sign
language interpreter in class in order to “voice” for me during class discussions
and conversations with the professor and classmates before and after class
and during the breaks.
The Educational Benefits of CART
CART offers deaf and hard of hearing students a number of benefits: greater
access to and comprehension of class discussion; a verbatim transcript more
detailed than the notes of any notetaker in the class; and less stress and
fatigue for the deaf student.
Professor Mitchell’s teaching style, highly effective for teaching
the course content, was fast-paced and interactive. He worked closely with
the textual material, often referring to passages when talking about ideas
and asking questions. The students did likewise. I found that sign language
interpretation in Professor Mitchell’s class did not lend itself well to
this teaching style (e.g., it was extremely difficult to both follow the
signing and read text at the same time). With CART, however, I was able to
check my notes, review passages in the textbook, jot down ideas, and confer
briefly with a colleague sitting next to me, all while keeping tabs on the
class discussion. How? The laptop screen was large enough (approximately
20 lines) so that scrolling text remained on the screen long enough for me
to read it and do other things. With sign language interpreters, I could
not look away for an extended period of time (to look around the room, take
notes, refer to textual material, or even rest my eyes) without losing track
of the discussion.
The transcripts of the Marx class show that the professor’s
class covered material that was intellectually challenging, requiring a high
level of concentration on what was being said in “real-time” (i.e., as it
was being said). Here is an example:
Professor: So any commodity is its use-value, its exchange
value, it is dead labor, it is labor that has been ossified. In the act of
production those commodities are given new life. Right? By being used up
and transferred into a new commodity. There is a wonderful mystery to all
of this, what he is talking about…. [Marx] is always playing with that
language in here, but he does want to point out and says it at one point,
in fact, at the top of [page] 179, labour uses up its material forces, its
subject and its instruments, consumes them, and is therefore a process of
consumption (Transcript, 2/11/02).
Highly theoretical and abstract, Marx’s Capital used concepts, words, and
proper names that posed a challenge for Anne Messineo, the CART captioner.
Accordingly, under the professor’s supervision, I prepared a 14-page “List
of Marxist Terms” for Ms. Messineo to include in the dictionary contained
within her software so as to improve her ability to type accurately. The
list included such terminology as “anarcho-syndicalism,” “Bonapartism,” and
“congelation of homogeneous human labor.” There are no accepted signs for
these concepts in American Sign Language, and sign language interpretation
would require the time-consuming process of fingerspelling each word into
English. Take “anarcho-syndicalism,” for example: it is an eight-syllable
word, and in the hands of an interpreter, it would take approximately six
seconds to fingerspell the word (assuming the interpreter knew how to spell
it), but for Ms. Messineo, typing the word would take the same amount of
time it took to pronounce it (about two seconds). Put simply, CART entails
the ability to capture rapidly word for word the complex discussion, a feat
very difficult to replicate with sign language interpreters.
CART transcripts of Professor Mitchell’s class, ranging in
length from 75 to 100 pages per class, provided a verbatim record of classroom
discussions. The transcripts were posted on Professor Mitchell’s course web
site several days after class and were available for review by all students:
Professor: Okay. The first thing to note is if you
look to my web page on the department site there is now a thing that says
“GEO 500 transcripts.” You can, if you so desire, read the transcript of
everything we talked about in here. Not instantaneously, but within a few
days after each class. It’s raw, unedited, and so you get to hear us at our
most inarticulate…last week’s was a hundred pages, something like that
Because all the students in my class could access the transcripts, CART
benefited for these students who needed to check on a point raised in class.
Even those students who missed class had a record of the class discussion.
As researcher Aaron Steinfeld points out in an article titled, “The Case
for Real-time Captioning in Classrooms,” …the inclusion of captions in
a classroom dramatically increases a deaf or hard-of-hearing person’s ability
to comprehend the speaker. In addition, providing captions to hearing people
also seems to enhance verbal comprehension. The increased comprehension for
both hearing and deaf students will likely lead to a better learning environment
and improved information transfer between the teacher and the students.
When asked whether any other students made use of the CART
transcripts, Professor Mitchell said:
Yes. I know of at least two, plus me. While I do
not re-read all of my own words-that would be horrible-I have liked being
able to go back and look at how I developed an answer to a particular question…especially
since I am working on a chapter right now that relates to some of the things
we discuss in class. I know that students look at it before they write their
next week’s analytical paper, as a means of reminding themselves of key ideas
and issues… (3/13/02).
Even the professor noticed a difference between CART and sign language
The most noticeable aspect is how much less tired
and more alert Michael is as the class wears on. At the end of two hours
of signing, Michael was shattered, and it was apparent that he often more
or less checked out for the last part of class. It was just too taxing. This
has not been the case with CART. He is as fresh and alert as any of us by
the end now. Michael still does not talk as much as I would like him to,
but he talks more than he did (Mitchell to Taylor, 3/13/02).
A sign language interpreter who observed me in the professor’s fall and
spring courses confirmed this observation:
I have noticed Michael appears to be less “wiped
out.” I am assuming that he understands the content better with CART. He
is able to rest his eyes and not miss what was said, now that CART captures
everything that is said. Watching two interpreters switch ever 20-30 minutes
for three hours, in the last course must have been tough (Decker to Taylor,
This is not to argue that interpreters are not capable or qualified; rather
the process of reading signs over three hours breaks down, and I could not
remember up to 40% of what had transpired. My mind was tired, and my ability
to retain information and to think was a casualty of that fatigue.
Anecdotal evidence from my class suggests that CART
may have had a positive effect on the classroom atmosphere. Students expressed
great interest in Ms. Messineo’s equipment, with one student exclaiming,
“CART is ‘cool’.” Once the professor introduced Ms. Messineo in the first
class, the students accepted her as part of the class. Occasionally the professor
joked with Ms. Messineo, and because she took it with good humor, everyone
was relaxed with her. Indeed, according to the professor, both Ms. Messineo
and the interpreter were accepted by students in his class:
The effect is salutary. Very quickly Anne
became part of the class, as do interpreters. The difference is that we do
not have to back up as frequently to go over a point that an interpreter
either may have missed, since interpreting by definition means interpreting
(emphasis) or just because interpreting is necessarily fairly slow. Students
very quickly begin to take both the interpreter and the transcriber for granted
in the class and do not mind when either asks for a clarification (Mitchell
to Taylor, 3/13/02).
In short, CART was appropriate for Professor Mitchell’s course on Marx.
The difficulty of the material, the rapid-fire nature of the class discussion,
the duration of the class session, and the complex vocabulary of the participants
established a case for me using CART in Professor Mitchell’s classroom. CART’s
ability to capture verbatim English met my need for access to the spoken
English, and in doing so, afforded me effective communication access. CART
not only reduced my fatigue and enabled me to process the information more
readily in class; it also benefited the other students by providing them
with a transcript of the class discussion. Everyone benefited from the common
bridge of communication supported by CART.
Syracuse University’s Defenses
Like most institutions faced with a novel request for an accommodation,
Syracuse University initially resisted the idea of CART. ODS administrators
put forth four arguments: first, a request for CART would open the floodgates,
leading to a demand for CART from each and every deaf or hard of hearing
student; second, the number of CART providers was too small to meet the anticipated
demand; third, CART was too expensive; and fourth, there were less costly
alternatives such as C-Print technology. I now turn to these defenses.
Defense No. 1: The Floodgate Theory
University administrators argued that arranging
CART for one student would open the floodgates, with deaf and hard of hearing
students clamoring for CART, thereby draining the school’s budget. This argument
is misplaced. For the 2002 spring semester, only two deaf students, an undergraduate
in Engineering and me, requested CART. The undergraduate used cued speech
transliteration (in contrast to sign language, this is a speech-based communication
tool for hearing-impaired people that was developed to make lip-reading easier)
in other courses. There was another undergraduate, a user of cued speech
transliteration, who expressed an interest in CART services for one or more
classes. The problem for these two students was that cued speech transliterators
are rare in Syracuse. The two students often went to class without a cued
speech transliterator; for them, CART would have filled the void.
The ODS floodgate argument mistakenly assumes that
all deaf students think alike, and that all would want CART. A deaf master’s
level student about to graduate told me that he preferred sign language interpreters
over CART. A deaf graduate student in Business Administration is satisfied
with his interpreters. Even I did not demand CART for my other two courses
because, as I explained earlier, I knew the material well, the pace was slower,
and the interpreters were effective as communicators.
Thus I propose a guideline to help the university
determine the appropriateness of CART. In order to decide whether CART would
be effective as opposed to sign language interpretation or cued speech transliteration,
the university needs to engage in an individually-based assessment of need
which would take into consideration the following factors:
- The needs of the student;
- Other accommodations available to the student;
- The nature of the student’s classes.
For example, the students who would benefit from
CART in all their classes would be those who had not yet acquired an alternative
communications means such as sign language or lip-reading, with or without
cued speech (an example might be someone who experienced severe hearing loss
later in life). Another example is a difficult and complex course like my
Marx course, for which CART proved effective in documenting the class discussion.
Most deaf or hard of hearing students appreciate a mix of accommodations;
assuming interpreters and cued speech transliterators are available, students
would be satisfied with that kind of accommodation in a class that was short
in duration, offered familiar material, and enjoyed a slow to moderate pace.
As the ADA stresses, the university has to evaluate CART on a case-by-case
basis; there is no room for a floodgate theory that by its very nature ignores
the individualized nature of each person’s request.
Defense No. 2: The Low Availability of CART
ODS argued there were no CART providers in the
region, and this relieved the university of the obligation to consider CART.
Contrary to this claim, because Syracuse is home to a number of state and
federal courts, there were a number of CART captioners who were available
to work at Syracuse University. The CART captioner in the Marx course knew
of two other persons in the Syracuse area who were capable of providing CART
services. Instead of making a blanket claim that no one existed to fill the
need for CART services, the university had an obligation to research the
availability of these CART captioners to Syracuse University. The availability
might depend on different factors (e.g., personal considerations, a current
commitment to other projects, the possibility of a long-term arrangement
with Syracuse University).
Since court stenographers and television closed-captioning
transcribers can learn to provide CART in an academic setting, there ought
to be a substantial pool of potential CART providers in Central New York.
A web search under “Communications Access Realtime Translation” yielded the
names of 32 court reporters in the immediate Syracuse area. To provide CART
services, a stenographer needs access to equipment and special software.
According to Ms. Messineo, a court reporter providing CART in an academic
environment like Syracuse University needs to feel comfortable in that kind
of environment (most have experience providing stenography in the courtroom).
The Department of Labor predicts that the demand
for real-time translating and broadcast captioning will result in employment
growth of court reporters. Not only does federal legislation mandate that
by 2006 the captioning of all new television programming for the deaf and
hard-of-hearing; the ADA gives deaf and hard-of-hearing students in colleges
and universities the right to request access to real-time translation in
their classes. Both of these factors are expected to increase demand for
trained stenographic court reporters to provide real-time captioning services.
Defense No. 3: The High Costs of CART
Syracuse University claimed CART was too expensive.
True, CART does not come cheaply. For the Marx course, the School of Education
paid $125 per hour for CART services. This covered Ms. Messineo’s in-class
time, equipment and updated CART software, and out-of-class time entering
vocabulary into her software and editing the transcripts after class. Given
Ms. Messineo’s high level skills, equipment and software costs, work in class
and outside class, flexibility to work both during the day and evenings,
student-friendly approach, and willingness and ability to provide CART in
courses with diverse content (e.g., Marxist theory, physics), Ms. Messineo’s
fee was reasonable.
For a 3-hour course in a 14-week semester, the
captioner’s fee totaled $5,250 for CART services for the semester. According
to a local interpreter referral agency that provides sign language interpreters
for Syracuse University, sign language interpretation is charged at approximately
$40 per hour starting in January, 2002. Two interpreters are normally assigned
for each class. For a 3-hour, 14-week semester course, the total would come
to $3,780. CART would be $1,470 more per course than sign language interpretation.
For a CART stenographer and one sign language interpreter, the cost would
be $6,930, a total of $3,150 more per course over the usual provision of
sign language interpretation. If Syracuse University needs to retain one
or two interpreters from out of town, the interpretation costs would rise
because travel is included.
Syracuse University is a multimillion-dollar institution,
and these sums are but a mere pittance for the university coffers. The Internal
Revenue Service offers private institutions like Syracuse a certain level
of tax relief. Clearly in this case, the costs of CART cannot support an
undue financial hardship argument. What the university needs to do is to
budget adequately for CART; this requires proactive planning and fundraising.
As the old adage goes, it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
Defense No. 4: Other Computer-Based Systems
Syracuse University claimed C-Print was just as
effective as CART. That is not the case. C-Print is a “Computer-Aided Speech-to-Print
Transcription System” developed at the National Technical Institute for the
Deaf (NTID) in Rochester. C-Print uses two laptop computers (one for the
student and one for the transcriber). C-Print training requires 50-60 hours
of training through a manual and audiotapes, followed by participation in
a five-day workshop (this can be offered at a host institution). C-Print
provides a summary of lectures and discussions (it can be thought of as an
extensive note-taking system), rather than a verbatim transcript. The advantage
of C-Print is that since it uses two laptop computers, the student can make
comments by typing on the laptop and having the transcriber read the comments
The disadvantages of C-Print are: (1) the transcriber
filters class materials and makes decisions about which information to record;
(2) since the transcription is not verbatim, C-Print is not conducive to
classroom interaction and discussion; and (3) it is not intended for three-hour
courses. C-Print transcribers do not have nearly the level of training of
CART reporters. Moreover, according to a representative at NTID, C-Print
would not be appropriate for a three-hour course. A document from NTID states,
“Captionists cannot type using C-Print for more than an hour without risking
physical harm to wrist and hands” (stenography machines are designed differently
than computer keyboards; a court reporter can caption or translate for up
to three hours at a time).
State of the art technology is always changing, improving, and becoming
cheaper. That is a fact of life in technologically sophisticated America
of the 21st century. Indeed, NTID recently received federal funding to adapt
new speech recognition technology to provide real-time speech-to-text transcription
as a support service to deaf and hard-of-hearing students. In this system,
a hearing intermediary dictates words into a voice-silencing microphone in
a steno mask as a teacher speaks, and the computer software converts the
dictated words into text. Stanford University is a test site for a voice-activated
computerized transcription system called the Liberated Learning Project developed
in Canada. The software converts a lecturer’s words into print flashed on
a large screen. With the development of voice-recognition software, this
kind of cost-effective technology will be widely available in the relatively
near future. For many, but not necessarily all, students and classes, new
systems might serve as a replacement for the CART and C-print technologies.
CART may be cutting edge today, but ordinary and routine tomorrow. Moreover,
CART will continue to evolve. Universities have a responsibility to remain
open to these changes, and to seek to exploit them for the benefit of their
students. The ADA also demands flexibility in imagining and crafting an accommodation
for individual student. The law tells us that we need to consider each request
on its own merits, evaluating it in the light of the student’s needs, the
circumstances of the class, and the effectiveness of various accommodations.
CART must be included in this evaluation, not just automatically ruled out.
Indeed, universities do not need reminding that regulations issued by the
United States Department of Justice interpreting Title III of the Americans
with Disabilities Act (ADA) specifically include “computer-aided transcription
services” among the examples of appropriate auxiliary aids and services that
can provide effective communication access.
Finally, CART challenges us to push the envelope-to
go beyond compliance with the law. Why settle for just one kind of accommodation
when state of the art technology can maximize the scholastic experience of
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities
Act require that universities provide reasonable accommodations that afford
equal opportunity for students with disabilities. However, accommodations
for students with disabilities are sometimes perceived by faculty and administration
as costly modifications that have the potential to disrupt the classroom
environment. Although accommodations provide disabled students the equal
opportunity to fully participate in a course, accommodations also have the
potential to provide for all students the opportunity for both richer modes
of instruction and the benefit of important and diverse perspectives from
the experiences of disabled students in the classroom.
The following dictionary is based on the principles
of universal design of instruction. These accommodations are not a “laundry
list” from which student and office of disability services staff choose;
rather, they are a listing of modifications that can be used in the classroom
to accommodate impairments and differences-in many cases these accommodations
can also enhance the classroom environment and experience and provide for
the full participation of all students in that classroom.
Accessible classroom: Accessing the classroom
is one of the most important issues in accommodation. A student should not
modify his or her schedule because a classroom in inaccessible; the class
should be moved to an accessible room.
Adequate illumination: Too harsh or too
little lighting in the classroom can affect students with and without visual
Advance notice of schedule/syllabus changes:
This modification is necessary for students with visual impairments and
learning disabilities who rely on recorded or electronic format texts for
course readings. Any changes to the schedule or syllabus should be made
in a timely manner (at least four weeks) so that their texts can be made
available through the office of disability services to meet the schedules
changes. Also, this affords all students in the class the opportunity to
adjust their own reading/work schedules for the course.
Alphasmart: This is a small keyboard/display
device the size of a notebook that does not require an outlet. Students can
use it to take notes in the classroom and can then upload their notes into
a word processing program on their computers.
Alternative/electronic format: Students
might require course material in a variety of formats at different times
(e.g., course readers in electronic format, but class handouts in Braille).
Print material is usually provided in three formats: Braille, on tape, and
electronically. The electronic format materials can be accessed through
a computer monitor, either in the original font or in large print through
a screen magnifier or through a screen reader program such as JAWS. Although
persons with visual impairments usually use Braille, persons with visual
impairments and learning disabilities use recorded and electronic formats.
Electronic formats can benefit many students who do not wish to waste paper
to print material.
Assistance with “bubble sheets”: Students
with orthopedic/mobility impairments, learning, or psychiatric disabilities
might require amanuensis when taking a mechanically graded test (“bubble
sheet”). Some learning disabilities affect tracking skills, which might
make it difficult for students to keep track of lines and bubbles. The same
thing might happen with students who are taking medications for psychiatric
illness or other health impairments.
Braille: Named after its inventor, Louis
Braille (1809-1852), Braille is a system of printing or writing in which
the characters consist of raised dots to be read by the fingers.
Breaks during class (or examinations): Although
breaks during class are beneficial for Deaf students who use interpreter
services, it is also beneficial for all students, as they are able to focus
their concentration because they know when breaks will occur. This accommodation
is also beneficial to students with learning disabilities, mobility impairments,
psychiatric disabilities, and other health impairments, as it permits students
to recover from fatigue, re-focus on the test, and sustain attention in shorter
time increments. Breaks could potentially be offered to all students, and
those who wish to forego the break continue taking the exam.
Captions/Subtitles: Captioned videos/films
in class (or films that are subtitled) are beneficial not only to students
who are Deaf or have hearing impairments and students with some learning
disabilities, but also to students for whom reading the captions reinforces
CART: Communication Access Real-Time
Transcription (CART) is a communication system in which a stenographer produces
real time text on a computer, which is either projected onto a screen, or
is read from the computer monitor. This technology benefits not only the
student for whom this accommodation is being provided, but also the other
students in the class, as they are able to use the transcript for their notes,
as well as the professor, as he or she is able to evaluate his or her teaching
and save the transcript for future use.
Chart program: This software provides
graphic organizers that can be used in the classroom for the benefit of all
students, including students who might find it difficult to follow handwritten
charts/graphic organizers, and for independent study.
Comfortable temperature in the classroom:
Like adequate lighting and reduced noise in the classroom, a comfortable
temperature in the classroom is important. Too cold or too hot temperatures
in the classroom may exacerbate fatigue in students with health impairments
(and in all students) or may impede concentration on course material.
Computer: Computers in the classroom are
useful in many ways. In “smart classrooms,” a computer can take the place
of a chalkboard or dry erase board, as the instructor can use it for notes,
which benefits all students in that the notes are completely legible. Students
can use notebook computers to take notes; and students who have visual or
mobility impairments and learning disabilities can use a computer for exams.
Dictation/voice recognition software: Students
with visual and mobility impairments can use this software, as well as students
with learning disabilities. People who find it difficult to sit in front
of the computer and start composing at the keyboard can also use this software.
Display control: When creating PowerPoint
presentations or any class material to be displayed in the classroom from
a monitor, be mindful of color contrast, font and font size, background color,
etc. Also, these materials should be provided to students with visual impairments
in advance, and it is helpful to limit unnecessary graphics in these materials
for students who access them through screen readers.
E-mail: While e-mail can be a tool to disseminate
class information (e.g., a class listserv), it can also be a tool for providing
feedback to students for classwork (for students who might have difficulty
reading handwriting) and a vehicle through which student and instructor might
conference on class issues. E-mail is a good way to communicate with students
who are uncomfortable with interpersonal interaction.
Ergonomic desks, chairs, study carrels and computer
stations: While ergonomic furniture has obvious benefits for students
with orthopedic and mobility impairments, it also benefits everyone in the
class, including non-traditional students who might have been at work all
day and find that ergonomic furniture is more comfortable and makes it easier
Examination alteration: Examinations should
evaluate what students know, not how a disability impacts their taking a
particular type of test. Some students with memory difficulties might do
better at multiple-choice than at fill-in-the-blank or short answer tests.
Other students with reading difficulties might find it difficult to discriminate
among multiple-choice items and might prefer short answer or essay questions.
Oral exams instead of essay exams might be beneficial to some students. Cooperative
examinations are creative ways that instructors can evaluate students on
their knowledge base through their strengths.
Extended test time: Like breaks during
tests or exams, extended test time allows students to focus their attention
without anxiety over running out of time when taking a test.
Grammar Check: Like Spell Check, all
students can use this software for class assignments. Some students with
learning disabilities can use this software to reduce errors on exams.
Interpreters: Students who are Deaf
or have hearing impairments might use interpreters in the classroom. Interpreters
in the classroom can provide benefits for all students. Moderate instructor
speaking pace reduces interpreter error and benefits notetaking and comprehension
of all students. Interpreters can inform the instructor of the quality of
captioned videos. The instructor should provide a list of jargon and difficult
vocabulary in advance so as not to impede their work, which in turn benefits
all students if that list were made available to the class. Instructors should
provide visual cues (but should also be mindful that students do not always
access visual material well, so the visuals should also be read).
Lecture notes from instructor: Lecture notes
from the instructor are beneficial to students with learning disabilities
in which their auditory processing is affected. Lecture notes can also benefit
all students, as like CART transcripts, they can use the notes to reinforce
their own class notes.
Handouts: Any handouts that an instructor
gives to students must be pre-prepared and given to all students at the same
time (including in alternative format). The instructor should confer with
the disabled student to find out how the student prefers handouts (e.g.,
in advance electronically or in Braille at the same time as the rest of the
class). Lists of proper nouns, jargon, and difficult vocabulary provided
to interpreters should also be provided to the rest of the class to assist
with notetaking and class participation.
Multiple modes of instruction delivery:
Instruction should be multi-modal when there are students with disabilities
in the classroom. It might be quite difficult for a student who is Deaf,
has a visual, mobility, or other health impairment, or a learning or psychiatric
disability to sit and listen to a lecture for three hours. In fact, this
is difficult for most students. Differentiated instruction is beneficial
to all students.
Narration: When showing a video in the
classroom, the instructor should be mindful of students with visual impairments.
It is important that the instructor or a classmate narrate the video to the
student with the visual impairment so that the student is able to fully participate
in the class activity.
Notetaker: Notetakers are beneficial for
students who are Deaf, have visual, mobility, or other health impairments,
or learning or psychiatric disabilities. Notetakers can be obtained confidentially
through the office of disability services.
Oral examinations: An oral examination
can be an alteration of an essay exam, or an essay exam could be substituted
for an oral examination. This modification might be beneficial to all students,
as they would have a choice between exam formats.
Peer editing: As part of a cooperative
assignment, peers might edit each other’s work. While some students might
edit for mechanics, other students (including students with reading or writing
disabilities) might edit for content.
Print quality: It is very important
that the print quality of instructors’ readers be good. When texts are used
in readers year after year, the print becomes blurred. Not only is the text
difficult to scan for students who require material in electronic format,
but it is also difficult to read for students with and without learning disabilities.
Printed version of verbal instructions:
Printed instructions benefit not only students who are Deaf or have hearing
impairments, but also students who have auditory processing learning disabilities,
attention-deficit disorder, psychiatric disabilities, or disabilities that
cause fatigue or shortened attention spans. Printed instructions could be
provided to the entire class (or emailed to the class), so that students
may clarify the assignment while they are doing it by referring to the text
of the instructions.
Reader for examinations (and/or course materials):
Readers are beneficial to students who have visual impairments, some learning
disabilities and orthopedic/mobility and other health impairments.
Recorded books/course materials: Recorded
books and course materials are beneficial to students who have visual impairments,
reading disabilities, and attention difficulties due to fatigue from orthopedic/mobility
or other health impairments, or psychiatric disabilities.
Reduced noise level: Like adequate illumination
and comfortable classroom temperature, it is important that the noise level
be reduced in the classroom to facilitate the concentration and subsequent
participation of all students.
Screen magnification software: This
software is beneficial to students who have visual impairments as well as
students who have perception difficulties.
Screen reader software: This software is
beneficial to students who have visual impairment and students who have reading
difficulties. This software reads a document in electronic format, which
some students prefer over recorded materials, readers, or Braille.
Scribe: A scribe is like a notetaker, but
different. A scribe is someone who writes for a person who cannot or who
has difficulty taking written tests or in answering “bubble sheet” questions
(e.g., if they get distracted, can’t follow the order of the lines, etc).
Students who have visual impairments, some learning disabilities and orthopedic/mobility
and other health impairments benefit from this accommodation.
Separate room/reduced distraction testing environment:
Some students with learning disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, or other
health impairments can benefit from taking examinations in a separate room
with an environment where there is reduced distraction. This also could happen
in the classroom, if there is sufficient space to provide students with a
reduced distraction environment.
“Smart classrooms”: “Smart classrooms” are
classrooms that are technologically enhanced. These classrooms provide instructors
and students with a computer that feeds into an LCD projector, which can
then project large-print notes onto the chalk or dry erase board. The classroom
also provides uber-overhead projectors that can enlarge and focus transparency
images better than typical overhead projectors. These classrooms typically
have video capabilities and ports into which notebook computers can be attached
to facilitate student and instructor presentations.
Speaker facing class during lecture:
It is important for all students, particularly students who are Deaf or
have hearing impairments and students with oral language and auditory processing
learning disabilities, that the speaker face the class during a lecture.
It is imperative that students are able to both hear the speaker clearly
and see the facial expressions of the speaker during the time he or she is
Speaker repeating questions asked in class (or
repeating student comments): For the benefit of all students, particularly
students who are Deaf or have hearing impairments and students who have learning
disabilities or other difficulties discriminating among voices, that the
speaker or instructor repeat any questions asked in class. Students often
speak softly and do not project their voices, and it is oftentimes difficult
for all students to hear or clearly understand the question or comment.
Spell Check: Like Grammar Check,
all students can use this software for class assignments. Some students with
learning disabilities can use this software to reduce errors on exams.
Substitutions for oral class reports:
Like alternative examination formats, instructors should allow students
with disabilities to choose their preferred mode of reporting or presenting
an assignment to the class. As in multi-modal, differentiated instruction,
providing all students with a choice among presentation/report modes would
be beneficial to all students. Take home examinations: This type of examination
can be done at a pace that is comfortable for each student.
Tape recorders: Students who have visual
impairments, some learning disabilities, and psychiatric, orthopedic/mobility
or other health impairments whose concentration is affected might find recording
class lectures beneficial. Many students might find taping the class lectures
beneficial, as in CART or instructor’s lecture notes, the recording reinforces
Unfamiliar vocabulary written on board
or handout: Regardless whether there is an interpreter in the classroom
or not, providing all students with proper nouns, jargon, and unfamiliar
or difficulty vocabulary is beneficial to all students.
Visual aids: When using visual aids
in the classroom (e.g., overheads, charts, graphic organizers, videos, notes)
it is imperative that these aids be accessible to all students. Visual aids
should be verbally described to students with visual impairments, they should
be clearly constructed for students with perception and discrimination difficulties,
and they should be large enough to be seen by all students in the classroom.
Please note that we are unable to produce all of
the reprints here on our web site. We have indicated contact information
for each resource, or hyperlinks if applicable. You can obtain a complete
print copy of this information package by contacting the Center on Human
Policy via email at email@example.com
or by phone (315-443-3851 or 1-800-894-0826).
Making Accommodations: The Legal World of Students with Disabilitiesby Paul D. Grossman
- Colleges Can Do Even More for People With
Disabilitiesby I. King JordanReprinted from The Chronicle of Higher Education, 47(40),
B15, June 15, 2001
For more information, visit http://chronicle.com/
- Integrating Disability Studies into the
Existing Curriculum: The Example of “Women and Literature” at Howard University
by Rosemarie Garland ThomsonReprinted from Radical Teacher 47 (Fall), 1995For more information, visit http://www.wpunj.edu/radteach/
Incorporating Disability Studies into American Studiesby Rosemarie Garland Thomson
Whose Field Is It, Anyway? Disability Studies in the Academyby Leonard Cassuto
Pioneering Field of Disability Studies Challenges Established Approaches
and Attitudesby Peter Monaghan
Universal Design of InstructionBy Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D.
TITLE: ACCESS: How to best serve postsecondary
students who are hard of hearing
AUTHORS: Self Help for Hard of Hearing People,
Inc. and the Northeast Technical Assistance Center
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: no date available
National Technical Institute for the Deaf
Northeast Technical Assistance Center (NETAC)
52 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623
This is a training packet for postsecondary faculty,
staff, and administration. It contains a PowerPoint presentation (and overhead
alternatives) that overviews hearing loss and access to communication. The
packet includes presenter’s notes, a tape that the presenter can use in order
for participants to experience different degrees of hearing, and useful and
informative Teacher Tipsheets on a variety of topics (Nondiscrimination in
Higher Education, Cued Speech, Working with Students Who Are Late-Deafened,
Teaching Students Who Are Hard of Hearing, The Role of Assistive Listening
Devices in the Classroom, Computer Aided Realtime Transcription, Serving
Deaf Students Who Have Cochlear Implants, C-Print, Considerations When Teaching
Students Who Are Deaf-Blind).
TITLE: Accommodations in higher education under
the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): A no-nonsense guide for clinicians,
educators, administrators, and lawyers
AUTHORS: Gordon, M., & Keiser, S. (Eds.)
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: 1998
72 Spring Street
New York, NY 10012
This book is divided into two sections: essential concepts for administrative
considerations and documentation of clinical conditions. The editors and
authors focus on the language of the law in advising administrators (disability
service providers) and diagnosticians on both whether or not to provide accommodations
and how to write reports to increase chances of receiving accommodations.
The primary discussion of the language revolves around whether or not a student
has a “substantial limitation” when “compared with the abilities of the average
person.” The authors point out the “thorny question” that by virtue of being
in university, students are high functioning relative to the average person,
but then move into a discussion of substantial limitation relative to the
university population. The book touches upon controversial issues, for example,
a student who received accommodations in high school might not be eligible
for accommodations in college, ADHD, entitlement, and “minimal effective
accommodation.” The second section offers advice to clinicians on how to
prepare reports more effectively to maximize the potential of the client
to receive accommodations. The book focuses on learning, psychiatric, and
physical disabilities. The authors approach the topic from a compliance mindset;
however, they present case studies and actual diagnostic reports that should
be helpful to clinicians and to students who request accommodations.
TITLE: ADA Q & A: Section 504 and postsecondary
AUTHOR: Leuchovius, D.
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: 1994
8161 Normandale Blvd.
Minneapolis, MN 55437
Because many parents of students with disabilities
have learned the basics of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
(IDEA), they often find they are less familiar with the protections provided
by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation
Act. The questions answered in this web-based document reflect those most
commonly asked of PACER staff regarding the ADA and postsecondary institutions
and provides information about the ADA and Section 504 for students and their
advocates who are exploring postsecondary education.
TITLE: Americans with Disabilities Act:
Responsibilities for postsecondary institutions serving deaf and hard of
AUTHORS: Kincaid, J., & Rawlinson, S.
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: 1999
Midwest Center for Postsecondary
Saint Paul Technical College
235 Marshall Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55102
This publication is set up as a series
of questions and answers that deal with the ADA, Section 504, and reasonable
accommodations. It is divided into the following sections: literacy; interpreting;
notetaking; captioning; vocational rehabilitation; administration issues;
residence halls; and equipment.
TITLE: Blindness enters the classroom
AUTHOR: Michalko, R.
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: 2001
Disability & Society,
In this article the author uses his own
experience as a blind professor to explore the ways in which blindness, sightedness,
and knowledge intersect. Michalko, a sociology professor, discusses that
not only does he teach an introductory sociology class, but he also introduces
his students to the way they think about reading, seeing, and knowing. At
the end of the article, he briefly enters into a discussion of disability
as a social identity in relation to his classroom.
TITLE: A closer look: Perspectives and
reflections on college students with learning disabilities
AUTHORS: Adelizzi, J., & Goss, D.
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: 1995
1071 Blue Hill Avenue
Milton, MA 02186
This book is a collection of personal accounts by teachers and students
describing their teaching and learning experiences. The authors are teachers
and learners from the Curry College Program for Advancement of Learning (PAL),
an internationally renowned support program for college students with learning
disabilities. Collectively, they bring a wide spectrum of experience and
perspectives to this work.
TITLE: College students with disabilities:
A desk reference guide for faculty and staff
AUTHORS: Thompson, A., & Bethea,
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: 1996
Department of Counselor Education and Educational Psychology
Mississippi State University
P.O. Box 9727
Mississippi State, MS 39762
This is a slim, but fairly comprehensive
guide geared specifically toward faculty and staff at Mississippi State University.
The authors break down Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and
explain what universities can and cannot do and provide a partial list of
modifications and accommodations. They also put university responsibilities
in the context and under the heading of recent legal decisions (although
they do not cite the specific case). Student and faculty/staff responsibilities
are outlined. The largest part of this reference guide is the section on
types of disabilities and reasonable accommodations. Orthopedic/mobility
impairment, blindness/visual impairment, learning disabilities, attention-deficit/hyperactive
disorder, traumatic brain injury, deafness/hearing impairment, speech and
language disorders, psychological disorder, and “other” disabilities that
do not fit into these categories are defined, characteristics of the disability
are listed, and potential accommodations are provided. A section entitled
“Tips for Disability Awareness” provides useful strategies for appropriate
language and interaction with students with disabilities.
TITLE: Deafness 101
AUTHOR: Brooks, P.
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: 1999
Center on Deafness
Claxton Complex A507
The University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996-3454
This practical booklet covers many
aspects of what faculty and staff might need to know in order to support
students who are deaf or hard of hearing. The booklet provides a short discussion
of the spectrum of hearing loss and various communication modes used by individuals.
The author outlines support services and assistive listening devices available
to students and then moves into testing and classroom accommodations for
students who are deaf or hard of hearing. There is a separate section for
accommodating college students, although the previous section is also applicable.
Responsibilities for students, instructors, and disability service providers
are delineated along with advice for hiring interpreters, information about
secondary disabilities, and institutional responsibility.
TITLE: Democracy in teacher education:
Equality versus excellence
AUTHORS: Karickhoff, M., & Howley,
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: 1997
The Teacher Educator,
This article explores issues
encountered at a college of education teacher preparation program around
serving at-risk students and students with disabilities. The article presents
how the college of education developed plans to accommodate at-risk and students
with disabilities, faculty responses to these plans, and the various meanings
that “equality of educational opportunity” and “democratic practice” have
for teacher educators.
TITLE: The Developing English
Skills and Knowledge Program handbook
AUTHOR: Rohloff, J.
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: no date
Center on Deafness
Claxton Complex A507
The University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996-3454
The DESK (Developing English
Skills and Knowledge) Program is currently offered to high school English
classes at the Louisiana School for the Deaf in order to prepare high school
students to transition to postsecondary education. This program is structured
around a series of workshops that address English writing skills issues.
The author has devised activities to improve the writing skills of deaf and
hard of hearing students, but these activities would be appropriate for any
student who needs to work on writing skills in order to transition to postsecondary
TITLE: Digest of educational
AUTHOR: National Center for
National Center for
Education Statistics (NCES)
Institute of Education Sciences
U.S. Department of Education
1900 K Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20006
The 2002 edition of the Digest
of Education Statistics is the 38th in a series of publications initiated
in 1962. Its primary purpose is to provide a compilation of statistical information
covering the broad field of American education from pre-kindergarten through
graduate school. The Digest includes a selection of data from many sources,
both government and private, and draws especially on the results of surveys
and activities carried out by the National Center for Education Statistics
(NCES). The publication contains information on a variety of subjects in
the field of education statistics, including the number of schools and colleges,
teachers, enrollments, and graduates, in addition to educational attainment,
finances, federal funds for education, libraries, and international education.
Supplemental information on population trends, attitudes on education, education
characteristics of the labor force, government finances, and economic trends
provides background for evaluating education data. The Digest contains seven
chapters: “All Levels of Education,” “Elementary and Secondary Education,”
“Postsecondary Education,” “Federal Programs for Education and Related Activities,”
“Outcomes of Education,” “International Comparisons of Education,” and “Libraries
and Educational Technology.” Preceding these chapters is an introduction
that provides a brief overview of current trends in American education, which
supplements the tabular materials in chapters 1 through 7. The Digest concludes
with an appendix that is divided into several sections. For example, information
on the structure of the statistical tables is contained in the “Guide to
Tabular Presentation.” The “Guide to Sources” provides a brief synopsis of
the surveys used to generate the tabulations for the Digest. Also, a “Definitions”
section is included to help readers understand terms.
TITLE: Disabled students
in higher education: Administrative and judicial enforcement of disability
AUTHOR: Milani, A.
College and University Law, 22, 989-1043.
This article summarizes
cases administrative and court decisions that have interpreted the phrases
“reasonable accommodation,” “otherwise qualified,” and “substantial modification”
in order to clarify issues for students with disabilities pertaining to admissions,
accommodations, aids, and access. Some issues with which this article deals
include standardized testing, readmission, documentation, class waivers,
testing, attendance, and fees for auxiliary aids. The author concludes that
while the ADA and Section 504 encourage full participation of students with
disabilities, the imprecise nature of the laws require that students and
schools work together for the student to achieve full participation.
TITLE: Essentials of college
living: Curriculum guide
AUTHOR: Kelly, C.
Center on Deafness
Claxton Complex A507
The University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996-3454
The author offers a curriculum
guide to colleges so that they may develop a semester long orientation/transition
course with the intent to assist Deaf and Hard of Hearing students in adjusting
to the transition to postsecondary education. While the objective of the
curriculum guide is to assist students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing,
it is not made clear in the publication whether the intention of the course
is to enroll only students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing or if the course
is structured in such a way that hearing students could take the course also.
The guide is arranged around nine topics (the college structure, rules, and
resources; time management; study and test taking skills; stress management;
self-esteem; healthy lifestyles; personal finances; diversity; and leadership)
and each topic includes resources and activities. The author indicates that
handouts and videos should be used, but does not provide copies of them,
nor does she provide publication information for the videos. There are some
general activities in this guide that might be useful to instructors, but
this is definitely a college orientation curriculum.
TITLE: Everybody in?
The experience of disabled students in colleges of further education
AUTHORS: Ash, A., Bellew,
J., Davies, M., Newman, T., & Richardson, L.
Essex, IG6 1QG
This is a research study by Barnardo’s, a British charity that examines
the experiences of students with disabilities at three British universities
and their relationships with non-disabled peers. The study also investigates
the opinions of non-disabled students of their peers with disabilities. Both
groups of students responded to questionnaires and were interviewed by the
researchers. The student without disabilities were surveyed about friendships,
leisure time spent with peers with disabilities, and opinions on anti-discrimination
laws. They were interviewed about what they felt the meaning of “disability”
to be, relationships, inclusion, and laws. The students with disabilities
were interviewed about friendships, access, disability policies, interactions
with staff, problems, inclusion, choice, and attitudes. The heart of the
study is an emphasis on inclusive education at the postsecondary level and
attitudes around this issue. While almost every subject endorsed inclusion,
it is interesting to note that both non-disabled students and students with
physical disabilities doubted that student with “learning difficulties” (intellectual
disabilities) would be included successfully at the postsecondary level.
TITLE: Extreme court
AUTHORS: Snyder, S.,
& Mitchell, D.
University of Illinois at Chicago
1640 W. Roosevelt Rd., Room 207 (M/C 626)
Chicago, Illinois 60610-626
Framed in the context
of the Alabama v. Garrett Supreme Court decision, this video chronicles
the backlash to this decision at the University of Illinois Chicago-the formation
of the National Disabled Students Union (NDSU). The video is organized speeches
given by rally and NDSU organizers; the speakers consistently make comparisons
between disability issues and civil rights (comparing the reaction to the
with the SNVCC and the Deaf President Now movement). Speakers also address
issues such as tokenism, the history of institutionalization, eugenics, and
sterilization, federal intervention in states’ rights (e.g., comparison between
the Garrett decision and the Pierce veto of a federal land grant for Dix’s
establishment of an asylum), the Independent Living movement, Not Dead Yet,
and access to the general public education curriculum for students with disabilities.
TITLE: Faculty development
in higher education: Training products and resource information
AUTHOR: Office of
Postsecondary Education Demonstration Projects
Professional Development Academy
1314 W. Main St.
P.O. Box 842011
Richmond, VA 23284-2011
This resource packet
for higher education faculty presents 21 projects at universities nationwide.
Each project summary includes the contact information, project website, title,
a brief description of the project, major areas of focus, and products that
the projects offer.
disability services handbook
Lawton & Associates, Inc.
P.O. Box 1847
Sagamore Beach, MA 02562
contains a summary of the legal responsibilities of faculty members as well
as colleges and universities to provide accommodations to students with disabilities.
The handbook’s analysis of the law is comprehensive and helpful. As a legal
summary, the handbook focuses on the compliance with Section 504 and the
ADA and on what is not required under the law.
TITLE: The faculty/staff
guide: Optimizing the learning environment for students with disabilities
51 Mannakee Street
Rockville, MD 20850
This is a
comprehensive on-line guide from Disability Support Services at Montgomery
College in Rockville, MD. This document was initially produced in print in
1998 by Montgomery College Disability Support Services (DSS) through Project
JOBTRAC, a federally funded three-year grant to increase faculty and staff
awareness about the needs of students with disabilities. Since its original
publication, the text has been modified for Internet use and is enhanced
with new ideas as the inspiration arises.
on faculty: Effective pedagogy with students who are deaf and hard of hearing:
Questions and answers
Region Outreach Center & Consortia
National Center on Deafness
California State University, Northridge
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge CA 91330-8267
is comprised of questions faxed during a live satellite teleclass in which
five faculty members at California State University, Northridge participated
in a moderated discussion. The panelists and other faculty members responded
to the questions. This is a constructive booklet, as the instructors share
both their successful teaching strategies and strategies/issues that they
have had to re-think. Each question has a response by at least two instructors,
which provides more than one perspective. The booklet is helpful as it stands,
but as these questions were faxed in during a teleclass, being familiar with
the videotape of the class might be more useful in understanding the context
of the questions.
to college! Postsecondary programs for students with moderate and severe
M., Kleinert, H. L., & Kearns, J. F.
INFORMATION: 2000, January/February
Teaching Exceptional Children, 32(3), 58-65.
is an account of a pilot project at Asbury College in Jessamine County, Kentucky.
Through a partnership with the local school district, several transition-aged
students with disabilities spend part of each school day on campus at Asbury
College and are paired up with college students in education and related
IMPACT: Feature issue on postsecondary education supports for students with
on Community Integration
INFORMATION: Spring 2000
Institute on Community Integration
University of Minnesota
109 Pattee Hall, 150 Pillsbury Drive SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
issue features a wide variety of information on postsecondary education for
students with disabilities. This includes: four articles that provide overview
of major issues related to postsecondary education; profiles of various educational
institutions, agencies, and other organizations that are successfully promoting
postsecondary education opportunities for students with a broad range of
disabilities; profiles of diverse individuals who are pursuing postsecondary
education; resources for further information; and a listing of demonstration
projects related to students with disabilities in higher education.
IMPACT: Feature issue on young adults with disabilities and Social Security
Administration employment support programs
T., O’Mara, S., & Johnson, D. (Eds.)
INFORMATION: Spring 2002
Institute on Community Integration
109 Pattee Hall
150 Pillsbury Drive SE
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455
issue of Impact explores educational and employment matters for young adults
that are impacted by the Social Security Administration (SSI and SSDI). Articles
in this issue discuss the role of SSI in transition from school to work or
postsecondary education and provide resources to students, parents, and schools
on how to utilize SSI benefits. The issue also outlines a number of existing
programs at institutions in various parts of the country and provides students’
personal experiences with SSI and postsecondary education, including a college
student and his PCA using SSI and vocational rehabilitation funds to study
the trenches: What works in higher education instruction
Commonwealth University’s Professional Development Academy
Virginia Commonwealth University
Professional Development Academy
1314 W. Main St.
P.O. Box 842011
Richmond, VA 23284-2011
This packet offers an overview, outline, and handouts that accompany the
March 26, 2003, Supported Employment Telecast NETwork telecast in which faculty
discuss effective strategies for teaching students with disabilities. The
telecast featured instructional products, methods, and resources, presentation
of universal design principles and accessible technology, and an opportunity
for viewers to interact with faculty presenters, and this resource packet
follows the outline of the telecast.
Inclusion goes to college: A call for action
C., Taschie, C., & Rossetti, Z.
TASH Connections, 27(9), 14-16.
The authors challenge the dangerous assumption that post-secondary education
is not a choice for those with labels of severe disabilities and dispute
the exclusionary practices of many colleges and universities. They declare
it is imperative that the equality of opportunity and expectation found in
inclusive education follow these students to college. Lastly, they warn of
the possibility that universities and colleges may accept students with labels
of severe disabilities but then only offer them the “special” version of
college life. This article represents a strong call to action in support
of inclusive post-secondary education for all.
TITLE: King Gimp
AUTHORS: Hadary, S. H., & Whiteford, W. A.
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: 1999
2049 Century Park East, Ste.#3600
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Provides vignettes of the life of Dan Keplinger, an artist and (now) graduate
student in art, from his childhood in a segregated school, to an inclusive
school, to college, and to his entrance into graduate school. Dan Keplinger
has cerebral palsy.
TITLE: Learning technologies: Students with disabilities in postsecondary
AUTHOR: Fichten, C., Marile, M., & Asuncion, J. (Eds)
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: Spring 1999
3040 Sherbrooke St. West
Montreal, PQ H3Z 1A4
The Adaptech Project, a Canadian study carried out in partnership with the
National Education Association of Disabled Students (NEADS), examines and
evaluates how postsecondary students, college and university faculty and
staff, policy makers, and developers and suppliers of adaptive technologies
use these technologies. This two-year, countrywide, and bilingual study explores
both the benefits and limitations of adaptive (computer and information)
technologies for postsecondary students as well as the needs and concerns
of service providers and technology developers. This comprehensive study
discusses student technology use and performance, describes the various technologies
that students use for specific disabilities, and institutional evaluations
of adaptive technologies in postsecondary education.
TITLE: Listening to student voices about postsecondary education
AUTHORS: Lehmann, J. P., Davies, T. G., & Laurin, K. M.
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: 2000
Teaching Exceptional Children, 32(5), 60-65.
The authors of this article share their experiences with “Aiming for the
Future,” a project developed collaboratively between a community college
and university school of education. This project brought together a support
team that included students with a variety of disability labels for a “summit”
meeting to identify and address elements needed by students for successful
post-secondary experiences. The group identified four broad barriers to success:
lack of understanding and acceptance from others in the college community,
lack of adequate support services, lack of sufficient financial services
and guidance, and lack of self-advocacy skills and training. The authors
include ideas for eliminating or lessening these barriers, and share general
information about the subsequent steps Aiming for the Future took to address
issues identified by students.
TITLE: Moving on: A guide for students with disabilities making the transition
to post-secondary education
AUTHORS: Faba, N., Whaley, B., Smith, F., & Gaulin, C. (Eds.).
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: 2002
National Educational Association of Disabled Students
4th Level Unicentre
Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6
A web-based publication of the National Educational Association of Disabled
Students (NEADS) for high school students with disabilities as they plan
for transition to postsecondary education. This guidebook, specific to Canada,
seeks to assist youth with disabilities in making informed decisions when
pursuing higher education with respect to academic options, available financial
aid and accommodations that support their studies. The book also provides
excellent descriptions of model transition programs and non-governmental
organizations that can provide assistance.
TITLE: Negotiating identities, negotiating environments: An interpretation
of the experiences of students with disabilities
AUTHOR: Low, J.
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: 1996
Disability & Society, 11(2), 235-248.
This paper explores the experiences of nine Canadian university students
with disabilities. Through in-depth interviews and focus groups, the researcher
examined issues related to accessibility, negotiation of disability identities,
and interacting with members of the university community who don’t have disabilities.
While the author does not offer recommendations for change, she does suggest
that future change efforts be aimed at sociocultural as well as individual
levels of society.
TITLE: OSERS News in Print: Postsecondary education for individuals with
AUTHOR: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Service, U.S. Department
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: Summer 1991
OSERS News in Print
Room 3129, Switzer Building
330 C Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20202-2525
This 30-page issue deals with postsecondary education and employment preparation.
The issue contains six articles: 1) “Supported education for people with
psychiatric disabilities: Issues and implications;” 2) “Postsecondary education
for students who are deaf: A summary of a national study;” 3) “Developing
a sense of community for students with disabilities at a tribally controlled
college;” 4) “Project Employment: A model for change;” 5) “HEATH Resource
Center: National clearinghouse on postsecondary education for individuals
with disabilities;” and 6) “Assisting young adults with TBI to get and keep
employment through a supported work approach.”
TITLE: Pah! I’m in college… Now what?
AUTHOR: Western Oregon University’s Northwest Outreach Center
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: no date available
PEPNet Resource Center
National Center on Deafness
California State University, Northridge
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge CA 91330-8267
This 28-minute video chronicles the first semester experiences of Sarah,
a deaf freshman. With a combination of acted scenarios and lecture in ASL
(all of which are captioned and have voiceovers), the video explains what
a deaf student’s responsibilities are when he or she enters a university,
and what the responsibilities of the Office of Disability Services are. Topics
covered in this video include the differences between what an interpreter’s
role is in high school and what an interpreter’s role is in college, how
a student can obtain services (with a definite stress on student responsibility
and timely/early submission of required forms in order to obtain services
for the first class or activity), and school resources available to the student.
TITLE: Postsecondary education: A choice for everyone
AUTHOR: Institute on Disability
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: no date available
Institute on Disability/UAP
University of New Hampshire
10 Ferry Street, Unit 14
Concord, NH 03301
A four-part series of informational brochures that provide brief informational
tips on high school preparation, the differences between high school and
college, collaboration, and selecting a college.
TITLE: Postsecondary education and individuals with disabilities: Recommendations
to New York State for strategies to increase access and opportunity
AUTHORS: The Board of Regents and the State Education Department et. al.
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: 2000
The Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with
Postsecondary Education Unit, Room 1613
One Commerce Plaza
Albany, NY 12234
This report of the Task Force on Postsecondary Education and Disabilities
focuses on equal educational access and opportunity for all New York state
postsecondary students. The task force stresses the preparation of high school
students for transition planning to postsecondary education and the active
recruitment of students with disabilities by education institutions. The
report outlines nine goals (preparation for postsecondary education opportunities,
institutional commitment within postsecondary education, capacity of all
campus personnel and students to work with and teach students with disabilities,
universal design and access through assistive technology, career development
and full employment opportunity, regional coordination and partnerships,
accreditation and review, funding and financial mechanisms to enhance the
educational opportunity for students with disabilities, and management structure
for continued collaboration and implementation) and provides a discussion
of the goal, specific strategies to meet the goals, and expected outcomes.
The report also includes appendices on background/rationale of the importance
of postsecondary education for students with disabilities (including the
fiscal benefits, both for the student and the state) and characteristics
and enrollment statistics of students with disabilities.
TITLE: Postsecondary education for individuals with multiple sclerosis:
Issues and strategies
AUTHORS: Yagodich, N., & Wolfe, P.
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: 2000
The Journal for Vocational Special Needs Education, 23, 34-41.
This article presents the etiology of multiple sclerosis and the implications
that symptoms might have for postsecondary education (e.g., fatigue and ambulation
difficulties). The article also explores environmental considerations, medical
needs, insurance and financial support, and self-advocacy issues. A postsecondary
checklist is included in the article.
TITLE: Postsecondary options for students with significant disabilities
AUTHORS: Grigel, M., Neubert, D., & Moon, S.
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: 2002
Teaching Exceptional Children, 35(2), 678-73.
This article describes the On-Campus Outreach grant that funds programs
that serve students with disabilities as they transition from public schools.
On-Campus goals include participating in college classes; obtaining employment;
navigating adult service agencies, self-determination, developing friendships,
and developing age-appropriate leisure and recreation endeavors. This article
provides detailed steps to school and community agents can work together
to explore options for students in their final years of high school. A needs
assessment chart of students and current services is included.
TITLE: Preliminary findings: Faculty, teaching assistant, and student perceptions
regarding accommodating students with disabilities in postsecondary environments
AUTHORS: Burgstahler, S., Duclos, R., & Turcotte, M
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: 2000
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-5670
206-685-DOIT (3648) – voice/TTY
Focus groups of faculty, teaching assistants, and students with disabilities
were conducted at 23 post-secondary institutions to explore the experiences
of each group in supporting students with disabilities (or being supported)
in post-secondary education. Groups discussed understandings of related legal
issues, perceptions of additional knowledge or responsibilities needed, and
problems encountered. Preliminary findings indicate that faculty and staff
would like access to accommodation methods (rather than categorical, disability-specific
information), and that a variety of training models (workshops, reference
materials, and seminars) are needed to meet these needs. The authors suggest
that campuses undertake needs assessments in order to tailor accommodations
to address their individual needs.
TITLE: Program for Deaf Adults: A multicultural model for deaf and hard
of hearing students
AUTHOR: Northeast Technical Assistance Center
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: 1999
Rochester Institute of Technology
National Technical Institute for the Deaf
52 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623-5604
This pamphlet outlines the Program for Deaf Adults, an outgrowth of the
Task Force on Pluralism of LaGuardia Community College in New York City.
The Program for Deaf Adults (PDA) is a part of the Division of Adult and
Continuing Education and offers basic courses (in the LaGuardia academic
division) and a college preparatory course, a preparatory program for deaf
foreigners, Adult Basic Education, Regents test preparation, GED prep, pre-vocational
skills and computer training, and support services (interpreting, tutoring,
notetaking, and supplemental instruction). The program also offers ASL/English
Interpretation courses and has proposed a Deaf Studies Associate Degree program.
LaGuardia is committed to multicultural education and stresses multicultural
curriculum and the PDA, which has a multicultural student body, is an intrinsic
part of this pluralistic institution.
TITLE: “R U Ready?” Helping students assess their readiness for postsecondary
AUTHORS: Babbit, B., & White, C.
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: 2002
Teaching Exceptional Children, 35(2), 62-66.
This article presents a brief literature review of transition issues for
students with disabilities; areas include social skills, self-advocacy, accommodations,
financial concerns, and responsibility. The article also includes a transition
tool that students can use in consultation with their high school teachers
to prepare for their postsecondary education.
TITLE: Responding to disability issues in student affairs [New Directions
for Student Service No. 64]
AUTHORS: Kroeger, S., & Schuck, J. (Eds.).
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: 1994
989 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94103-1741
This book is a compilation of articles and essays about students with disabilities
and disability services in higher education. Includes information about students
of color, trends in higher education, preparing students for employment,
and more. Essays address how colleges can begin to focus on student development
issues for students with disabilities, in addition to providing access and
accommodations under the Americans With Disabilities Act.
AUTHOR: Joenro Productions, Inc.
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: 2002
Joenro Productions, Inc.
111 Schuler Street
Syracuse, NY 13203
This video was produced as a senior thesis by two SU students and shows
Ro Vargo, a young woman who has Rett Syndrome, as she audits class at Syracuse
University, volunteers at a local day care center, and engages in social
and family activities.
TITLE: The stress of the university experience for students with Asperger
AUTHOR: Glennon, T.
PUBLICATION IFORMATION: 2001
Work, 17, 183-190.
This article explores specific social and academic stressors for university
students with Asperger syndrome and presents strategies and interventions
to alleviate anxiety and stress in order to ease the transition to independence.
TITLE: Student with disability meets college challenges
AUTHOR: Wohlberg, B.
PUBLICATION IFORMATION: 2002
Pacesetter, 25(3), 7.
This short article outlines the Professional Assistant Center for Education
(PACE) program at National-Louis University in Chicago through the experiences
of a student, Nick Baltins.
TITLE: Students with disabilities preparing for postsecondary education:
Know your rights and responsibilities
AUTHOR: U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights
PUBLICATION IFORMATION: July, 2002
Education Publications Center
U.S. Department of Education
P.O. Box 1398
Jessup, MD 20794-1398
This pamphlet provides information about the rights and responsibilities
of students with disabilities who are preparing to attend postsecondary schools.
The information is conveyed in the form of questions and answers.
TITLE: Succeeding in postsecondary ed through self-advocacy
AUTHORS: Lock, R., & Layton, C.
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: 2001
Teaching Exceptional Children, 34(2), 66-71.
This article is intended for students with learning disabilities and outlines
a process for developing a Self-Advocacy Plan to be shared with course instructors.
The process suggested by the authors is based on a survey instrument, the
Learning Disabilities Diagnostic Inventory (LDDI) (Hammill & Bryant,
1998), with is designed to assist individuals with learning disabilities
in identifying their strengths and learning needs. The authors include a
sample Self-Advocacy Plan that was developed from the LDDI, and bulleted
lists of suggestions about communicating with professors and using campus
TITLE: Survival guide for college students with ADD or LD
AUTHOR: Nadeau, K.
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: 1994
19 Union Square West
New York, NY 10003
This short book (56 pages) is primarily a listing of what students with
ADD, ADHD, and/or LD need to be aware of both before they choose a college
and when they enter college. The book is divided into four sections: choosing
a college; help on campus; help in the community; and helping yourself.
The author is very thorough in writing about how a student can maximize his
or her college experience. Advice is given on many topics, including suggestions
of what requirements to look for when choosing a college, how to self advocate
with the Office of Disability Services, time management skills, and how to
plan long-term projects.
TITLE: Symposium on supporting students with disabilities in postsecondary
AUTHORS: Stodden, R. A., & Dowrick, P.W. (Eds.).
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: 2001
Disability Studies Quarterly, 21(1). Available online at:
This issue consists of a symposium of articles on supporting students with
disabilities in postsecondary education edited by Robert A. Stodden and Peter
W. Dowrick of the Center on Disability Studies at the University of Hawaii
at Manoa. In the “Introduction” to the symposium, the editors state: “While
data indicate a consistent positive correlation between level of education
and valued career or employment prospects, participation by adults with disabilities
in postsecondary education remains low in comparison with nondisabled peers.
Even with reasonable access to higher education, people with disabilities
encounter significantly more barriers than other students resulting in slower
progress and less satisfactory grades and graduation rates.” Since its establishment
in 1998, the National Center for the Study of Postsecondary Educational Supports
(NSCPES) has conducted research on a wide variety of issues related to postsecondary
education for students with disabilities. This issue of the DSQ provides
a sample of emerging work supported by and related to the efforts of the
national center. In the articles, topics addressed include: improving the
quality of higher education for students with disabilities, implication of
the Workforce Investment Act, postsecondary education services and employment
outcomes with the vocational rehabilitation system, a comparison of services
offered by university centers for disabled students, and perspectives from
disabled and nondisabled faculty members.
TITLE: Transition and post-school outcomes for youth with disabilities:
Closing in on post-secondary education and employment
AUTHORS: Hawkins, G., & Camacho, C. (Eds.).
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: 2000
National Council on Disability
1331 F St., NW, Suite 850
Washington, DC 20004
This report analyzes 25 years of research on transition outcomes and post-secondary
education for students with disabilities. A number of laws and initiatives
are examined, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act,
the Youth Opportunity Movement, Youth Centers under the Workforce Investment
Act, the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act, and demonstration
projects. Recommendations are made for the disability community and for national,
state, and community entities.
TITLE: The transition from high school to postsecondary education for students
with learning disabilities: A survey of college service coordinators
AUTHORS: Janiga, S., & Costenbader, V.
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: 2002
Journal of Learning Disabilities, 35(5), 462-468.
This study explores transition services for students with learning disabilities
who pursue postsecondary education in New York State from the perspective
of service providers at postsecondary educational institutions. The article
presents difficulties that high schools might have in assisting students
as they plan to transition to postsecondary education and how college service
providers assess such transition services. Through a survey, the authors
found that postsecondary service providers were not satisfied with students’
self-advocacy skills and with transition services provided by high schools.
The authors also found that postsecondary service providers desired improved
communication between themselves and high schools in order to improve services
TITLE: Twins transition… And leave behind a changed school system in their
AUTHOR: Apel, L.
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: 2002
Exceptional Parent Magazine, 9, 32-35.
This is a brief account of the educational histories of Anastasia and Alba
Somoza, twins from NYC who both have cerebral palsy and are starting their
freshman year at college.
Special Interest Groups (SIGs)
American Bar Association, Commission on Mental and Physical Disability
This is the primary entity within the American Bar Association focusing
on the law-related concerns of persons with mental and physical disabilities.
Its mission is “to promote the ABA’s commitment to justice and the rule of
law for persons with mental, physical, and sensory disabilities and their
full and equal participation in the legal profession.” The Commission’s members
include lawyers and other professionals, many of whom have disabilities.
American Education Research Association (AERA) SIG: Disability Studies
Purpose: To encourage Disability Studies in education; to provide an organizational
vehicle for networking among Disability Studies researchers in education;
and to increase the visibility and influence of Disability Studies among
all educational researchers.
American Psychological Association, Disability Issues Office
The Office provides information about and referrals to disability organizations,
offers technical assistance, and develops and disseminates reports, pamphlets,
and other written materials on student, professional, and consumer issues.
The office also supports the Committee on Disability Issues in Psychology
whose primary mission is to promote the psychological welfare of people with
Association for Computing Machinery, Special Interest Group on Computers
and the Physically Handicapped
ACM’s Special Interest Group on Computers and the Physically Handicapped,
SIGCAPH, promotes the professional interests of computing professionals interested
in the research and development of computing and information technology to
help people. The SIG membership (from both academia and industry) focuses
on the application of technology to all kinds of disabilities, including
but not limited to: sensory (hearing and vision); motor (orthopedic); cognitive
(learning, speech, mental); and emotional personnel with physical disabilities
and the application of computing and information technology in solving relevant
disability problems. The SIG also strives to educate the public to support
careers for the disabled.
Association of American Geographers (AAG) Disability Specialty Group
(DSG): The Disability and Geography International Network (DAGIN)
To foster communication among members and to encourage research, education,
and service that addresses issues of disability and chronic illness. The
group will provide support and advocate with disabled members of the Association
while working closely with other specialty groups to promote common interests
and develop intradisciplinary and interdisciplinary projects.
Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) SIGs
The Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) is a national
organization for disability service providers in higher education. AHEAD
SIGs, or Special Interest Groups, are AHEAD members organized around an interest
or concern. SIGs provide leadership to the AHEAD membership by providing
information and referral, organizing professional development opportunities,
and networking around a particular topic. AHEAD has had SIGs on Disability
Studies and Women with Disabilities; however, these SIGs are currently inactive.
Disability Studies in the Humanities
DS-HUM is intended to serve as a forum and bulletin-board for those interested
and involved in disability studies across the broad range of humanities scholarship,
not just American Studies. In addition to serving as a connecting point for
scholars, teachers and students in this field of study, this website contains
announcements, directories, bibliographies, syllabi and other relevant materials.
Graduate and Professional Students (GAP)
The purpose of this AHEAD special interest group is to help bridge the GAP
experienced by many service providers and students with disabilities in graduate
and professional programs. The group’s goal is to help answer questions about
identification, accommodations, licensure and certification issues, transition
issues and faculty awareness. Contact: Jane Thierfeld-Brown,
Modern Language Association, Committee on Disability Issues in the
Considers the needs and interests of scholars who have disabilities
and addresses a variety of related issues, including access to the convention
and scholarship in the field of disability studies.
National Women’s Studies Association, Disability Caucus
NWSA supports and promotes feminist/womanist teaching, learning,
research, and professional and community service at the pre-K through post-secondary
levels and serves as a locus of information about the inter-disciplinary
field of Women’s Studies for those outside the profession. There are several
NWSA caucuses whose major goals involve representation of point(s) of view
currently recognized by NWSA, with one focusing on disability.
Society for Medical Anthropology, Disability Research Interest Group
The Society for Medical Anthropology supports several committees
and caucuses which address the unique interests and needs of its membership.
These Special Interest Groups offer linkages to scholars with shared concerns
and sponsor informational newsletters, award competitions and projects. The
Disability Research Interest Group is still in the process of forming.
Organizations and Resource Centers
General Disability Information
The Arc of the United States
1010 Wayne Avenue, Suite 650
Silver Spring, MD 20910
(301) 565-3843 – Fax
(301) 565-5342 – Fax
The Arc of the United States works to include all children and adults with
cognitive, intellectual, and developmental disabilities in every community.
The Center for An Accessible Society
2980 Beech Street
San Diego, CA 92102
Funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation
Research, The Center for An Accessible Society is a national organization
designed to focus public attention on disability and independent living issues
by disseminating information developed through NIDRR-funded research to promote
The Center on Human Policy, Syracuse University
805 South Crouse Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2280
1-800-894-0826 Toll Free
Based at Syracuse University, this policy, research, and advocacy
organization works to further inclusion and equal rights for people with
disabilities. The site includes links to their publications and resources,
as well as other disability resources.
Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder
8181 Professional Place, Suite 150
Landover, MD 20785
CHADD is a national organization which has numerous publications
and other resources for people with attention deficit disorder. This Web
site includes online fact sheets about attention deficit disorder.
Equal Access to Software and Information (EASI)
PO Box 818
Lake Forest CA 92609
EASI’s mission is to serve as a resource by providing information
and guidance in the area of access-to-information technologies by individuals
National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities
P.O. Box 1492
Washington, DC 20013
NICHCY is the national information and referral center that provides information
on disabilities and disability?related issues for families, educators, and
other professionals. Among the list of numerous free resources, they provide
publications on post-secondary education and transitioning to adult life.
Office of Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
Customer Service Team
Mary E. Switzer Building
330 C Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202
“The mission of the Office for Civil Rights is to ensure equal access
to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation
through vigorous enforcement of civil rights.”
Office of Disability Employment Policy
U.S. Department of Labor
Frances Perkins Building
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210
ODEP is an agency within the U. S. Department of Labor. ODEP provides national
leadership to increase employment opportunities for adults and youth with
Clearinghouse on Adult Education and Literacy
U.S. Department of Education, 4090 MES
Office of Vocational and Adult Education
400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC 20202-7240
The Clearinghouse on Adult Learning and Literacy provides referral
services and disseminates publications of state and national significance
and other reference materials on adult education and literacy?related activities.
Resource publications include information on English as a second language,
adult basic education, family literacy, workplace literacy, adults with disabilities,
technology, volunteers, and the homeless.
The ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education (ERIC
The Council for Exceptional Children
1920 Association Drive
Reston, VA 20191
800-328-0272 or 703-264-9449
ERIC EC gathers and disseminates literature, information, and resources
on the education and development of individuals of all ages who have disabilities
and/or who are gifted.
Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology (DO-IT)
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-5670
206-685-DOIT (3648) – voice/TTY
DO-IT is a resource center that promotes opportunities, internetworking,
and technology for young people with disabilities and provides resources
and programs for young people with disabilities, parents, employer, and educators.
Organizations and Resource Centers
on Inclusive Postsecondary Education and Transition
The Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)
P.O. Box 540666
Waltham, MA 02454
781-788-0003 – voice/TTY
AHEAD was founded in 1977 to address the need and concern for upgrading
the quality of services and support available to persons with disabilities
in higher education. The Association provides education, communication and
training to promote full participation in higher education for persons with
Center on Postsecondary Education and Disability
Department of Educational Psychology
Neag School of Education
Hall Building, Ground Floor
362 Fairfield Road, Unit 2064
Storrs, CT 06269-2064
The Center on Postsecondary Education and Disability is committed
to promoting equal educational opportunities for adolescents and adults with
disabilities, and seeks to educate and support preprofessionals and professionals
in acquiring knowledge and skills and developing state-of-the-art practices
in disability services, especially the concept of Universal Design for Instruction.
Equity and Excellence in Higher Education
Institute on Disability/UAP
University of New Hampshire
10 Ferry Street, Unit 14
Concord, NH 03301
Equity and Excellence in Higher Education is a project designed to address
the interrelated problems of poor educational outcomes for college students
with disabilities and college faculty’s lack of knowledge in the area of
effective curriculum and instruction for diverse learners. The goal of this
project is to ensure that students with disabilities receive a quality education
through the development, implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of
a model of comprehensive professional development for college faculty and
support personnel. Due in part to an OSERS-funded project entitled, “Postsecondary
Education: A Choice for Everyone,” the Institute has a collaborative relationship
with over 70% of colleges and universities in the state. Through a leadership
series for disability support coordinators, a Consortium of New Hampshire
Colleges was developed, composed of key representatives from New Hampshire
institutions of higher education. The Consortium, along with students and
recent graduates with disabilities, will act in an advisory capacity for
the project. The project involves work with four model demonstration sites;
additional technical assistance and information dissemination; as well as
on examples and strategies to promote postsecondary education opportunities
HEATH Resource Center
National Clearinghouse on Postsecondary Education for Individuals with Disabilities
The George Washington University
2121 K Street, NW, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20037
202-973-0904 – Voice/TTY
800-544-3284 – Toll free
The HEATH Resource Center of The George Washington University, Graduate
School of Education and Human Development, is the national clearinghouse
on postsecondary education for individuals with disabilities. Support from
the U.S. Department of Education enables the clearinghouse to serve as an
information exchange about educational support services, policies, procedures,
adaptations, and opportunities at American campuses, vocational-technical
schools, and other postsecondary training entities. HEATH participates in
national conferences, training sessions, and workshops; develops training
modules; publishes resource papers, fact sheets, directories, and website
information; and fosters a network of professionals in the arena of disability
National Center for the Study of Postsecondary Educational Supports
Center on Disability Studies
University of Hawai’i at Manoa
1776 University Avenue, UA 4-6
Honolulu, HI 96822
The National Center for the Study of Postsecondary Educational Supports
is funded as a Rehabilitation Research and Training Center by the U.S. Department
of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.
The vision of the Center is to move beyond what has and has not worked in
the past, towards a new system of educational supports for people with disabilities
in the 21st century. Postsecondary programs of the future must foster high
expectations, build self-confidence, and develop an understanding of strengths
and weaknesses of all students. All teachers, support persons, and agency
providers must focus upon the use of individualized supports and technology
to meet each student’s needs and promote a successful transition to chosen
career. The collaborative members of the National Center for the Study of
Postsecondary Educational Supports are The University of Massachusetts/Boston;
the Virginia Commonwealth University; the University of Minnesota; Association
for Higher Education and the Disabled (AHEAD); with the University of Hawaii.
The consortium members of the National Center are The DO-IT Project of Washington
University; the Ohio State University; and the Bridges Project of Holt High
School/Lansing Community College. Based on its research, the Center has
many reports available on its web site; in addition, the conference sponsors
institutes and conferences.
National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET)
Institute on Community Integration
University of Minnesota
6 Pattee Hall, 150 Pillsbury Drive SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
NCSET develops and promotes research-based secondary education and
transition models that integrate academic, career development, work-based
and community learning, and increasing school retention and completion rates.
The Center’s goals specifically focus on youth with disabilities and families,
policymakers, professionals at all levels, and the service delivery system
as a whole to ensure all students with disabilities, including those with
significant needs, have access to the full range of learning experiences
in the general education curriculum. The Center is a collaborative effort
between the Institute on Community Integration and five organizations nationwide.
It is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education
and Rehabilitative Services. Among various transition projects are two specifically
related to postsecondary education and American Indians with disabilities,
with a focus on: (1) supporting and preparation and transition of high school
American Indian students with disabilities; and (2) supplying technical assistance
to high school and college faculty and staff to meet the needs of students
with disabilities and at risk in transition. NCSET produces a wide variety
of information briefs (e.g., policy updates, parent briefs, issue briefs,
what works data briefs), some of which focus on postsecondary education and
transition to postsecondary education.
National Disabled Students’ Union
430 North East 16th Avenue
Portland, OR 97343
The National Disabled Students Union (NDSU) is a nationwide, cross-disability,
student organization concerned with civil rights. They work to ensure that
all disabled students have the opportunities they need to learn, the opportunities
they need to live and work, and the opportunities they need to be full participants
in their communities and full members of American society.
National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS)
4th Level Unicentre
Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6
A Canadian self-advocacy/self-empowerment organization that publishes a
regular newsletter and conducts research.
National Transition Alliance for Youth with Disabilities (NTA)
The Academy for Educational Development
1825 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20009-5721
The NTA was funded from 1995 to 2001 by the U.S. Departments of
Education; the mission of the NTA was to promote the transition of youth
with disabilities toward desired postschool experiences, including gainful
employment, postsecondary education and training, and independent living.
Online versions of NTA products not found elsewhere on the Internet can be
found on the web site of the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition
PEPNet, the Postsecondary Education Programs Network
PEPNet, the Postsecondary Education Programs Network, is the national
collaboration of the four Regional Postsecondary Education Centers for Individuals
who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The Centers are supported by contracts
with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative
Services. The goal of PEPNet is to assist postsecondary institutions across
the nation to attract and effectively serve individuals who are Deaf and
Hard of Hearing. The mission of PEPNet is to promote opportunities for the
four Regional Postsecondary Centers for Individuals who are Deaf and Hard
of Hearing to coordinate and collaborate in creating effective and efficient
technical assistance to postsecondary educational institutions, thereby providing
access and accommodation to individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.
The objectives of PEPNet are: (1) to improve postsecondary access and transition
opportunities for individual who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing; (2) to develop
a national design for technical assistance and outreach service delivery
to assure that postsecondary institutions and the students they serve will
benefit from PEPNet’s collaboration and coordination efforts; (3) to expand
the knowledge and skill of postsecondary institutions related to the provision
of educational support services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students; (4)
to increase networking among postsecondary educational institutions; and
(5) to increase the postsecondary enrollment, retention, graduation and employment
rates of students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
(PACER’s Rehabilitation Act Information & Disability Education)
8161 Normandale Blvd.
Minneapolis, MN 55437
952-838-9000 – Voice
952-838-0190 – TTY
Toll-free in Greater Minnesota: (800) 537-2237
952-838-0199 – FAX
Project PRIDE provides information about the Rehabilitation Act
and the other programs and services it affects, which include: supported
employment, independent living services and Centers for Independent Living,
Transition Planning for youth, and rehabilitation services.
From their web site: “The mission of Beacon College is to offer degree
programs to students with learning disabilities. The College offers Associate
of Arts and Bachelor of Arts degree programs in Human Services and in Liberal
This site describes the College Connection program at Grant MacEwan
Community College. College Connection is an effort to include students with
developmental disabilities at the college.
Curry College, Program for the Advancement of Learning (PAL)
The Program for Advancement of Learning (PAL) is a structured support
program providing assistance to college-able students with specific learning
Landmark College is a liberal arts college designed specifically
for students with dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, and other learning
disabilities. This Web site gives more information about the college, the
student body, and current programs.
PACE Program: National-Louis University (Chicago)
Two-year postsecondary program for young adults with learning disabilities,
it recently included its second student with Down syndrome.
OnCampus Program (Syracuse University)
Syracuse University’s School of Education and Syracuse City Schools, using
the College Connection Program as a model, currently includes six city school
students between the ages of 19 and 21 in academic, vocational, and social
experiences on campus, and partners them with SU students in education and
related fields. OnCampus students spend their entire school day at
SU. Contact Cheli Paetow or David Smukler, 370 Huntington Hall, Syracuse
University, Syracuse, NY 13244, 315-443-9683
On Campus (University of Alberta)
This program has been in operation since 1987 at the University
of Alberta. Although the program initially sought social integration of young
adults with developmental disabilities in the campus community, the focus
has more recently shifted to include academic inclusion as well.
Threshold Program, Lesley University
Lesley University offers a comprehensive, non-degree campus-based
two-year program for students with diverse learning disabilities and other
special needs. This program serves approximately 50 students per year.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Home Page
Extensive web site containing information about the Americans With
Disabilities Act, as provided by the U.S. Department of Justice. Includes
the phone number of a toll-free ADA information line.
Apple Special Needs Resources
This comprehensive site provides not only assistive technology links, but
also links to support groups, professional organizations and associations,
and resource centers. No direct links to postsecondary issues, but there
are many technology links.
DAIS: Disability Access Information and Support
Website with a variety of information and links related to post-secondary
education and students with disabilities.
Disability-Related Resources on the Internet
This comprehensive booklet (available both in print and electronic formats)
offers resources for many areas related to disability, including not only
websites, but also discussion lists, and Usenet groups. Not limited to postsecondary
education, the websites, lists, and groups in this packet cover general interest
categories, technology, education, legal, social, and political issues, as
well as sites relating to specific disabilities.
Disability Studies Quarterly
This is a web-based academic quarterly for disability-related research done
within the socio-political model of disability.
The Disabled Student in Doctoral and Postdoctoral Internships By Anju Khubchandani,
MA, Disability Issues Officer
American Psychological Association
This site provides information to students applying to internships. The
site also provides links to professional organizations and information on
Handling Your Psychiatric Disability At Work And School
This site offers links to resources about how mental illness affects school
functioning, academic adjustments and accommodations, information (and FAQs)
about reasonable accommodations and the law, and a list of websites pertaining
to psychiatric illness and education, law and policy, and research. This
website is part of a larger project of Boston University’s Center for Psychiatric
Help For College Students With Disabilities From Wrightslaw.Com
This online pamphlet provides 19 websites concerning Section 504, planning
and preparing for college, and keys to success in college.
Office of Services for Students with Disabilities, Teachers College at Columbia
Teachers College at Columbia University maintains this website, which has
a variety of useful resources and links.
Open Directory Project: Society: Disabled: Education
Vast website maintained by volunteers that contains numerous links to a
variety of disability and postsecondary education-related sites.
Teaching College Students with Disabilities, Center for Teaching Effectiveness,
University of Delaware
This is an extensive collection of links to information about the ADA and
Section 504, resource centers, faculty and student guidebooks, articles,
information on specific disabilities, and technology.
TransitionLink is an on-line community for sharing ideas, strategies, resources,
and information concerning the transition to life after high school for adolescents
>3According to federal regulations governing
the protection of human subjects, “research” designed to yield “generalizable
knowledge” is subject to Institutional Review Board (IRB) review. Although
the purpose of this evaluation was not to generate “generalizable knowledge,”
but rather, to assess the efficacy of stenographic transcription in a particular
context, Dr. Taylor applied for, and received, a formal exemption from IRB
4Another factor is likely to increase demand.
A subcommittee of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Courts
of Appellate Jurisdiction has recommended a rate of $1.375 per page for court
reporters. Even taking into account equipment and software costs and out-of-class
time, a CART reporter can earn more than a court reporter. This suggests
that there would be a pool of potential CART providers if steady work were
available from the university.