How can universal design be applied in postsecondary education?

Universal design is an approach that strives to make products and environments welcoming, accessible, and usable for everyone. Universal design principles were developed at the Center for Universal Design. They can be tailored to specific applications such as curriculum, instruction, career service offices, multimedia, tutoring and learning centers, museums, computer labs, and web pages.

Reconsidering Policies: A Case Study on Hardship Withdrawals and a Student with a Psychiatric Disability


Suzanne is a junior with a psychiatric impairment. She had an episode of depression, which resulted in her inability to attend classes for several days. Due to her absence, she fell behind in her coursework and petitioned to drop one of her three classes as a "hardship withdrawal."

Mnemonics for All: A Case Study on Tutoring Centers and a Student with a Learning Disability


My name is Jen. I am a freshman majoring in Fashion Merchandising and enrolled in a Retailing I course. I have Dyslexia and a visual-processing problem.

Access Issue

In order to pass my midterm exam, I needed a way to memorize information about fashion designers and the materials with which they work.

How can I communicate with colleagues regarding making our library accessible to patrons with disabilities?

Internet-based electronic discussion lists provide opportunities for collaboration with librarians and other colleagues about accessibility issues.

In the ADAPT-L listserv group, librarians discuss assistive technology for making electronic resources accessible to all patrons. To join, send email to with no subject but one line of text: "subscribe adapt-l Firstname Lastname".

Who is responsible for providing accessible transportation to a postsecondary student's internship or co-op?

The policy regarding transportation should be the same for students with disabilities as it is for students without disabilities. It is most often the case that students arrange their own transportation to and from internships. The student with special needs should look into options for accessible transportation (e.g., accessible bus, van service). The campus disabled student services office may be able to assist with this process.

Should admissions office staff refer all students with disabilities to the disabled student services office?

You should assist students with disabilities as you would other students. It is their responsibility to disclose information about their disabilities and request accommodations. Some students do not require accommodations and/or choose not to disclose their disabilities. Other students may have invisible disabilities (such as learning disabilities or health impairments), which may be difficult or even impossible to recognize.

The Equestrian Team: A Case Study on Access to Student Organizations


Susan is a sophomore who is blind. She has joined several campus organizations and would also like to join the equestrian team.

Access Issue

The advisor and trainer of the equestrian team called the disabled student services director to discuss whether this student should join the team. She was concerned about how Susan could handle this type of activity, as well as the liability of the university if she had an accident.

Reduced Course Loads: A Case Study on Financial Aid Eligibility


Sam is a sophomore with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). He is having difficulty managing a full-time preengineering course load. He does not have enough time to keep up with all of his courses.

Access Issue

Sam wants to take a reduced course load but needs to remain eligible for financial assistance and campus housing. He was told by student services staff that he would be ineligible for financial aid and campus housing if he was not registered as a full-time student.

What can disabled student services offices do to help students with disabilities successfully transition from two- to four-year colleges?

Students with disabilities often face challenges as they transfer from two-year to four-year institutions of higher education. There are many things that the institutions can do, individually and cooperatively, to ease this transition. Forty-six staff and faculty from two- and four-year institutions representing a total of twenty-four states made suggestions as part of five focused discussions hosted by DO-IT at the University of Washington. Listed below are some of their ideas.