Advancements in technology and increased job specialization have resulted in career opportunities in fields that were once considered unattainable for individuals who have disabilities. Many of these careers require knowledge and skills obtained through postsecondary education. Although the number of individuals with disabilities seeking postsecondary education continues to increase, these students experience lower success rates than their non-disabled peers. Individuals with disabilities continue to be underrepresented in many challenging academic and career fields.
Federal legislation mandates that academic accommodations be made to ensure that qualified postsecondary students with disabilities have educational opportunities that are equivalent to others. Faculty and staff members who are familiar with disabilities, accommodation strategies, and resources are better prepared to make arrangements that will ensure that students with disabilities have equal opportunities to participate in their programs.
Since 1992, DO-IT has promoted the success of individuals with disabilities in postsecondary education and employment through direct work with students who have disabilities, and through professional development for educators, service providers, and employers. DO-IT has been recognized for its efforts through many awards, including the 1995 National Information Infrastructure Award in Education; the 1997 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring; the 1999 Golden Apple Award for excellence in education; the 2001 exemplary program award from the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD); a 2001 Bright Ideas Award from the Professional and Organizational Development Network; the 2004 Sloan Consortium Award; the 2004 BizTech Accessibility Award; several Achievement Awards from the Washington Association for Postsecondary Education and Disabilities; the 2006 Trace Research and Development Center's Catalyst Award; and the 2007 Greenberg Award for Innovation from Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities.
Educators who are familiar with universal design principles and accommodation strategies are better prepared to make arrangements that will ensure that students with disabilities have equal opportunities to participate in their programs. The purpose of this training binder is to increase awareness of:
- the rights, potential contributions, and needs of students with disabilities
- educators' responsibilities for ensuring equal educational opportunities for all students in their programs
- strategies for accommodating students who have disabilities in science and mathematics classes
I hope that you find these materials useful in your efforts to ensure that all students have equal opportunities to learn, explore interests, and express ideas.
Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D.