High School Students DO-IT To Make Accomplishments

Deb Cronheim

The following article appeared in The Able Informer, Vol. 1, Issue 7.

High school students with disabilities (DO-IT Scholars) are being given opportunities to meet their non-disabled peers on a level playing field thanks to DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology), an innovative program that undertakes activities to increase the participation of individuals with disabilities in post-secondary academic programs and careers.

Winner of the National Information Infrastructure Champions in Cyberspace award in education, DO-IT promotes the use of computers, adaptive technology, and the Internet network for use by individuals with disabilities to provide quick and easy access to people and information resources. Each year, twenty Scholars from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota are loaned computers, adaptive technology, and Internet accounts to venture into cyberspace. Guided by "electronic mentors" (college students and professionals, most with disabilities themselves, who communicate primarily by electronic mail), Scholars seek out information to help with school assignments, further their interests, and make new friends. Scholars meet face-to-face at the University of Washington for a live-in summer study program where they attend labs and lectures in science, engineering, and math and get a taste of real college living while staying in the dorms. When the summer session ends, the program continues, as Scholars continue to work on projects and communicate electronically. A videotape that gives an overview of the DO-IT Scholars program is available free of charge. DO-IT also supports a broader community through workshops, presentations, publications, videotapes, a World Wide Web (WWW) page, and electronic discussion lists. Workshops focus on adaptive technologies for computers and survival techniques for individuals with disabilities who make the transition to college. Disability-awareness presentations are delivered to faculty and employers to foster more positive academic and working environments.

DO-IT has created the "Working Together" videotape series (open captioned) which includes people with disabilities sharing information and successful solutions for accommodating their specific disabilities. A training packet including a videotape and transparencies is available to help staff from Offices of Disabled Student Services and others educate faculty about the abilities of students with disabilities and appropriate accommodations.

Many other information resources are available through DO-IT in alternative formats. The universally accessible DO-IT WWW home page includes most program publications and links to other disability-related resources world-wide. DO-IT electronic discussion lists provide forums for lively discussions of disability-related issues.

DO-IT is funded by the National Science Foundation and other partners and is directed by Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler - Assistant Director, Information Systems, Computing & Communications, University of Washington.

To find out more about what DO-IT has to offer, check out the WWW home page at: http://www.washington.edu/doit/, or contact the DO-IT office directly:

University of Washington
Box 354842
Seattle, WA98195-4842
206-685-DOIT (3648) (voice/TTY)
888-972-DOIT (3648) (voice/TTY)
206-221-4171 (fax)
509-328-9331 (voice/TTY) Spokane