Making STEM Accessible to Postsecondary Students with Disabilities was years in the making. It includes content developed—and routinely updated—from the earliest days of the DO-IT Center—where “DO-IT” stands for Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology. DO-IT began with our first round of funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 1992. Since then, DO-IT has hosted dozens of projects funded externally by federal agencies, corporations, foundations, and private parties. Many of DO-IT’s activities continue to be funded by NSF. Current projects include AccessSTEM, AccessComputing, AccessEngineering, AccessERC, and AccessCyberlearning. You’ll notice the similarity in the titles. Most of our projects are about access—access to education at all levels, access to careers, access to technology, access to physical spaces, access to all life activities for everyone, with a particular focus on individuals with disabilities. The ultimate goal is a more inclusive society where everyone, regardless of their personal characteristics, can participate and contribute according to their abilities and interests. Consult the DO-IT website for information about specific projects along with relevant videos, publications, and other resources.

This publication pulls together resources that are particularly useful to postsecondary educators and administrators who strive to make science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) welcoming and accessible to students with disabilities. This includes computing facilities, science and engineering labs, classrooms, makerspaces, online resources, curriculum, and instruction. Highlighted are strategies that are easy to implement when designing STEM facilities or instructional practices, as well as those that are more difficult but will yield long-term results (e.g., changing the culture of a STEM department to be more inclusive of individuals with disabilities). Although focused on postsecondary institutions, most of the content in this publication is relevant to K-12 STEM courses, labs, and programs as well.

Making STEM Accessible to Postsecondary Students with Disabilities is an online multimedia “book.” It includes links to videos and publications within the "book." The video presentations are particularly useful to those new to the field and to learners who prefer to view images related to the content and hear the perspectives of people with disabilities and practitioners regarding specific content areas.

All of the content in this publication are accessible to individuals with disabilities. Videos are captioned and audio described and publications are available in two formats, fully accessible hypertext markup language (HTML) and Portable Document Format (PDF), which is ideal for creating printed documents that can be used for individual study and presentation handouts. Each document includes permission to make multiple copies for presentation participants and for distribution in other ways. To make individual documents in print-ready format, you’ll notice that there is some repetitive content in some introductory paragraphs and in the resources and credits at the end. DO-IT documents are updated regularly and some videos are occasionally updated as well. Anytime you access this book online you will be linking to the most current version of the products.

The book contains the following chapters.

Chapter 1     Introduction

Chapter 2     Experiences of Students with Disabilities

Chapter 3     Teaching Students with Disabilities

Chapter 4     Making Services Accessible to Students with Disabilities

Chapter 5     Assistive Technology for Students with Disabilities

Chapter 6     Accessible Technology Design

Chapter 7     Access to STEM for Students with Disabilities

Chapter 8     Incorporating UD and Disability Topics Into the Curriculum

Chapter 9     Institutional Change and More Resources

This content is useful to anyone who desires to make STEM learning settings welcoming and accessible to students with disabilities. If you wish to join the effort to support that goal or if you have been in the field for many years, you are likely to  find something useful here—whether you are learning this material for the first time, prefer viewing and hearing content or reading it, wish to focus on only a few content areas or read all of the content from cover to cover, are an administrator of practitioner, are looking for videos and handouts to use in delivering a presentation or workshop, or wish to find related products or projects.

Because content included in this online book is easy to update and it is easy to add new materials, consider it a work in progress. Please share with me your recommendations for updates to individual products currently included in the book as well as for new publications or videos that would make it more complete.

Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph. D.
Director, Accessible Technology Services, including DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology) and UW Access Technology Centers
Affiliate Professor, College of Education
University of Washington, Seattle