In 2003, several undergraduate students taking a class in disability studies at the University of Washington in Seattle discovered that there wasn't a strong student group on campus working to advocate for students with disabilities. The students thought that members of this campus community should have a stronger voice in promoting accessibility and diversity on campus. So, as a class project, they decided to form such a student organization to promote accessibility and disability activism on their campus.
Access For All (AFA) is a student organization at the University of Minnesota-Duluth made up of individuals interested in disability rights and issues. AFA hosts a series called "I am who I am" which features an individual from the community who has a disability speaking at a campus forum each month. The speakers share information about their disabilities, employment issues, accommodations, challenges, and successes.
The speaker series serves to
Podcasts will pose a barrier to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing unless the information is made available in an accessible format. For audio-only podcasts, consider posting a transcript on your course website; this document will also be of value to students who are not deaf. Podcasts that include video can be captioned. Be sure to make transcriptions and captions available in a timely manner.
Length of time and setting are two separate issues. If the student's accommodation is extra time only, rather than extra time and alternative location, then the instructor may have the student take the exam within the regular classroom if the classroom is available for the extended period approved. If the classroom is not available for the extended time or if there are test proctoring issues during the extra time period, the student who needs extra time may need to take the exam at a location that is different than that of other students.
Some postsecondary institutions that promote the development and use of accessible websites on their campuses have institutionalized professional development for their faculty and staff. Reviewing what others have done can help campuses replicate successful practices.
Some campuses send letters to faculty members at the beginning of a term regarding the academic accommodations a student with a disability may require while in their class. Typically, it is best to let a student initiate a discussion regarding accommodations. You should not ask for details about a disability not disclosed in a letter or shared with you by the student.
Some rooms and buildings at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania are inaccessible to people with certain types of disabilities. In the past, when scheduling a room for meetings, events, or programs, information about the accessibility of specific rooms was unavailable. This often created accessibility problems and complaints from event planners and participants.
In the United States, foreign language is often a requirement for college graduation. Many college students have disabilities that impact their ability to see, hear, or process language. As a result, these students may struggle with the oral, visual, and processing tasks of learning a foreign language. However, foreign language classes can be made accessible to students with disabilities through careful planning and implementation of innovative teaching methods, such as those included in the following resources:
My name is Sara and I'm 23 years old, profoundly deaf and in medical school. I use interpreters and speak American Sign Language (ASL) when I can in order to communicate with my professors and classmates. When I have an interpreter in classes I understand the material and I feel well liked by my classmates. I am also a proficient lip reader, a skill which helps me out in many situations, too.