It is important for programs that serve to increase the participation of women, racial/ethnic minorities or other underrepresented groups in fields such as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to be welcoming and accessible to students with disabilities. After all, there are people with disabilities within any of these underrepresented groups.
Programs can do a number of simple things to make their activities inviting and accessible to individuals with disabilities, such as those described below.
- Actively encourage students with disabilities to participate in activities.
- Provide information about how participants can request accommodations in all promotional materials.
- Ensure that websites are accessible and that videos are captioned.
- Include pictures of people with disabilities on websites and in publications.
- Budget for accessibility. This might include funding to hire sign language interpreters for events, creating documents in alternative formats, or other unexpected costs associated with accommodations or accessibility.
To provide further guidance to project leaders who strive to make their activities and resources welcoming, accessible, and usable, the DO-IT Center created a checklist that can be found in the publication Equal Access: Universal Design of Your Project.