DO-IT is Institutionalized?

Sheryl Burgstahler

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has provided DO-IT with a special three-year grant to institutionalize and replicate successful practices by securing alternative funding and incorporating practices into other programs. The goal is to maximize the impact of NSF funds to increase the success of people with disabilities in academic programs and careers in science, engineering, mathematics, and technology (SMET).

DO-IT helps:

  • children and youth with disabilities learn strategies to participate in SMET and develop skills using computers, the Internet and adaptive technology
  • students with disabilities transition to college and careers
  • teachers and faculty become more receptive and capable of including students with disabilities in their courses
  • campus programs become more accessible to individuals with disabilities
  • library staff and administrators understand how to make their electronic resources accessible to patrons with disabilities
  • camp directors learn how to incorporate Internet activities into their curriculum and accommodate campers with disabilities
  • adult students and professionals with disabilities mentor students with disabilities
  • parents, service providers, and the public become more aware of the potential contributions and special needs of students with disabilities in SMET fields
  • identify factors leading to college completion and employment in SMET

Specific DO-IT activities have included:

  • summer study programs which allow high school students with disabilities to explore SMET fields and develop college and career transition skills and strategies
  • a mentoring program that matches high school students with disabilities with successful role models in SMET academic programs and careers
  • Internet communication and information retrieval for students with disabilities
  • an electronic community for those interested in SMET and disability-related issues
  • disability awareness presentations to faculty and staff
  • college transition, library access, Web page design, and adaptive technology workshops
  • dissemination of program and disability-related information through electronic resources, printed materials, and videotapes

The Institutionalization of DO-IT project follows logically from DO-IT's previous activities. It continues efforts to empower individuals with disabilities, make programs and careers more accessible, and explore strategies and implement activities to institutionalize successful practices nationwide. Project strategies include seeking state, federal, corporate, and private funding and sponsorship; selling project products; and incorporating practices into existing services. If you have suggestions for institutionalizing DO-IT practices into existing programs across the country or for funding sources, please contact DO-IT.