The Pathways to Success for Students with Invisible Disabilities CBI took place in Putney, Vermont. Landmark College Institute for Research and Training and AccessComputing worked together to organize the event. Its overall purpose was to promote cross-campus collaboration to increase the number of students with learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) successfully pursuing higher degrees and careers in computing fields. Taking place at an AccessComputing institutional partner school, attendees included postsecondary faculty, disability service providers, and instructional technology personnel. Featured speakers included AccessComputing PI Richard Ladner and Co-PI Sheryl Burgstahler.
Participants in this two-day event included postsecondary faculty, disability service providers, and instructional technology personnel from multiple colleges and universities as well as guest speakers who presented on relevant topics. The CBI provided a forum for discussing recruitment and access challenges, sharing successful practices, developing collaborations, and identifying systemic change initiatives for increasing the participation of students with learning disabilities, ADHD, and ASD in computing fields. There were seven specific goals of this CBI:
- to increase their understanding of the profiles of students with disabilities
- to expand their collective knowledge of best practices for students with invisible disabilities (learning disabilities, ADHD, and/or autism spectrum disorders), including strategies for applying universal design (UD) principles to instruction
- to form collaborations with each other to address common access challenges and share successful practices
- to coordinate their efforts to develop strategies for increasing the success of students with invisible disabilities and the capacity of their institutions to serve these students
- to learn about Landmark College’s comprehensive approach to addressing the access needs of students with invisible disabilities
- to discuss evidence-based practices to increase the numbers of students with invisible disabilities moving through critical junctures during their undergraduate tenure to successfully pursue higher degrees and careers in computing fields
- to create a strategic plan or task list(s) that incorporates the best practices to improve accessibility options at attendees’ own campuses
Speakers and panelists were also CBI participants. Many had disabilities and/or were practitioners with direct experience in serving students with disabilities. Broad issues that were discussed included
- universal design of instruction (UDI);
- the future of accessibility;
- assistive technology and accessible web design; and
- best practices for students with learning disabilities, ADHD, and/or ASD.
In this CBI
- all participants contributed to its success;
- experts in all topic areas were in the audience; and
- although some predetermined professional development was presented, new content was delivered as the meeting unfolded and participant interests were expressed and expertise was made known.
The CBI was comprised of individual presentations and group discussion. Individual presentations included information about universal design, profiles of invisible disabilities, accessibility, and assistive technology. The group discussion offered participants an opportunity to disability support services, faculty, and information technology personnel can work together to support students with invisible disabilities.
The agenda for the CBI and summaries of the presentations are provided on the following pages.