The articles published in the ALERT represent the opinions of the authors and are not an endorsement by the Association or necessarily representative of the views of the Association.
— From the Editor
— Reframing Disability - Role of Information and Communication Technologies in Reframing Disability: A Question of Human Rights
— One University’s Approach to an Ever-Changing Student Population: The TECHniques Center at Texas Tech University
— Professional Development Calendar
— Collaboration Toward Academic Justice
— The Wright Stuff (Integrating Veterans into Campus Life)
— 2007 AHEAD Award Recipients
— Whats the Hubbub about Remote CART?
— WGBH Receives Grant to Develop Solutions for Captioning Handheld Media for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Citizens
— Athletic Competition for Individuals with Disabilities
From the President
I hope you are all comfortably phasing into the new school year as you read this. About a month ago many of us had the opportunity to attend AHEAD’s 30th annual conference where we found numerous opportunities for professional growth and reinvigoration. Keynote presentations by Dr. I. King Jordan and Dr. Michael Stein provided the introduction and culmination of an exciting program in a welcoming setting. Once again, great thanks to Gene Chelberg, Alice Hugi and Diane Majewski for their tireless work over the last year to create the quality experience that was AHEAD 2007. If you were able to attend, I hope you found the keynote and concurrent sessions to be dynamic, thought-provoking and useful. If you were unable to attend, I hope you are beginning to plan for Reno, Nevada next July… the Call for Proposals is just out; we’re excited to receive your innovative proposals!
As every year, the Board of Directors met just prior to the annual conference. A number of important steps were taken that I want to share briefly.
As AHEAD’s Board has evolved its work
in the direction of policy governance, we have come to recognize
that a vision statement would provide an important touchstone
for major decisions. As such, we worked to create a statement
that, in conjunction with the mission statement and strategic
goals, would both lead the Association in a direction consistent
with its founding and challenge us to continue to grow to
impact issues of inclusion and social justice. We are pleased
to announce the following vision statement that will be incorporated
with other AHEAD association materials:
AHEAD envisions educational and societal environment that value
disability and embody equality of opportunity
The Board met with members of the Curriculum
Advisory Committee (CAC), the group that was created several
years ago to research the essential components of disability
service work in higher education and describe a curriculum
designed to teach it. Originally, this effort began with
an interest in AHEAD actively pursuing a certification program,
but over the years, it has evolved into a project in its
own right. With input from all five of the current CAC members,
the Board asked the committee to finish up its work over
the next year, culminating in an outline of recommended competencies
and courses… many of which may already exist in AHEAD’s
professional development portfolio.
In conjunction with the decision to ask the CAC to continue in its work, the Board resolved to pursue professional development as a goal in itself but to remove certification as a current objective. This decision was shared with the membership during two conference concurrent sessions and, while some in attendance were supporters of a certification program, was supported with the recognition that AHEAD is not currently ready to begin aggressive movement toward certification.
- The Board also had the opportunity to meet with George Kerscher,
a representative of the international DAISY Consortium, who
presented AHEAD with an offer of full, voting membership to
the Consortium. Unfortunately, the timing and budget did not
support AHEAD’s acceptance of the invitation, but it
is a positive signal of how AHEAD is perceived as a player
on the international stage in the area of immediate, meaningful
access to print media for persons with disabilities.
- AHEAD has historically had the goal of filling an international role, a goal that has taken on different forms over the years. In his keynote presentation at the Charlotte conference, Michael Stein, an internationally recognized disability rights attorney who is participating in the implementation of the United Nations disability human rights treaty, challenged AHEAD to play a more active role in the world community. In responding to that challenge and to a similar one that Judy Heumann discussed at the 2006 conference in San Diego, the Board has organized a group of international members to explore opportunities for international collaboration, sharing and learning. We hope to make some strategic steps over the next year.
As always, I encourage you to be in touch with any of your Board members with any ideas or concerns. The Board will be meeting again in October… with the welcome additions of Mary Lee Vance, from the University of Wisconsin, Superior, and Emily Singer, from The Catholic University of America, your feedback, suggestions and/or attendance is always welcome.
From the Editor
Greetings AHEAD Colleagues,
It was wonderful to see so many of you at the AHEAD conference in July. As President Carol Funckes notes in this issue, the conference was a remarkable success and provided us with many opportunities for growth and revitalization. One highlight for me was the final keynote presentation, in which Dr. Michael Stein relayed his experiences with and involvement in the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006. The good news, noted Dr. Stein, is that we ran the marathon. The Convention was adopted. The bad news is that it’s a triathlon. The convention has yet to be signed and ratified. Many thanks to those who shared their experiences and knowledge, and to those who brought to the forefront new questions and trends.
In this issue of ALERT, we recognize a number of our colleagues who received AHEAD achievement awards at the conference, are presented with an innovative approach to foreign language requirements for students who are Deaf or HOH, and spotlight several areas for improvement and participation. Among other great articles and announcements, don’t miss this issue’s column on “Reframing Disability,” in which the role of accessible information and communication technologies is viewed through the lens of human rights, and a short piece about the integration of veterans into campus life.
Enjoy this issue of ALERT, and please continue to send your contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reframing Disability - Role of Information and Communication Technologies in Reframing Disability: A Question of Human Rights
Maria Barile, Catherine S. Fichten, Jennison V.
Adaptech Research Network, Dawson College
Montréal, Québec, Canada
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) provide many accessibility benefits for students with disabilities. But ICTs also pose some human rights challenges. One of these relates to social inclusion for people with disabilities. It goes without saying that when ICTs are accessible, these have a positive impact on the well- being and social inclusion of individuals with all sorts of disabilities. Different types of ICTs have, in the past, provided opportunities for people with disabilities to secure employment, get an education, and live independently. The issue is one of equal access and equal opportunity. The Canadian Charter of Rights (undated) states:
“Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability”. (Chapter 15.1).
But how can one be equal under the law if the tools required for participation in Canadian society, in this case ICTs, are not available (e.g., there is no computer on campus) or accessible (e.g., there are computers on campus but these are not usable by the student).
In addition, recently 96 countries, including Canada,
UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (United Nations General Assembly, 2006) which states that all signatory states must:
"…. undertake or promote research and development of, and to promote the availability and use of new technologies, including information and communications technologies, mobility aids, devices and assistive technologies, suitable for persons with disabilities, giving priority to technologies at an affordable cost" (Article 4.g).
The social model of disability (Oliver, 1990) has allowed us to look at disability in a new way. This model focuses on inequities caused by lack of access to the resources available to non-disabled persons and by the unequal distribution of opportunities in society. This includes postsecondary education and the means and tools to achieve it (Barnes, 1996). The model maintains that these inequities create discrimination, poverty, and segregation. It refers to a “disabling environment” (Oliver, 1993), which includes both physical and environmental conditions as well as the social and cultural forces that shape the life of a person. One of the outcomes of a focus on social factors has been the increasing number of students with disabilities in postsecondary education (Shaw, 2001).
Here, we apply the principles of the social model to our research on ICTs and Canadian campus disability service providers and college and university students with disabilities (Adaptech Research Network, 2007). During the past 10 years the Adaptech Research Network has carried out empirical research on ICTs and postsecondary students with visible and invisible disabilities. This research has involved over 5000 participants - mostly two to three year junior/community college and four year university students with various disabilities and campus disability service providers. The research methods used include qualitative, quantitative, and archival techniques.
Recurring findings link the need for accessibility, availability, and affordability of ICTs. Our research shows that when these three key elements are provided, college students with disabilities achieve academic success - and obtain jobs - at the same rate as their non disabled peers (Fichten, Jorgensen, Havel, & Barile, 2006; Jorgensen, Fichten, Havel, Lamb, James, & Barile, 2005). When these three elements are provided, ICTs are technologies that are enabling and that allow students with disabilities to prepare for - and to participate in –- all aspects of the learning process. But, alas, these three elements are not always present.
Finances are Among Key Barriers Identified
The most outstanding finding of our studies relates to concerns over the cost of ICTs, both to the students themselves and to the institutions they attend. Nevertheless, the majority of the 725 students in one of our samples who had computer equipment at home indicated that they (34%) or their families (30%) had paid for these and for hardware/software updates (Fichten, Asuncion, Barile, Fossey, & Robillard, 2001). In addition, a recent study by our team which surveyed 156 Canadian campus disability service providers found that funds to ensure the availability of adaptive computer technologies in general use computer labs and technical support for adaptive technologies posed problems on campus (Fichten, Asuncion, Barile, Fossey, Robillard, Judd, et al., 2004).
The Expensive New Campus-Wide ICTs are Largely Inaccessible
From an institutional perspective, our studies suggest that when campus-wide information technology purchases and computer infrastructure improvements in Canadian colleges and universities are planned the needs of students with disabilities are simply overlooked. It is frequently discovered, often much too late, that the expensive new campus-wide ICTs are inaccessible (Fichten, Asuncion, Barile, Fossey, & De Simone, 2000). This is through lack of forethought, rather than malice, and reflects the lack of both college-wide awareness and easy availability of accessible ICTs for campus use.
Questions of Rights and Participation: Universal Design for Instruction as an Important Facilitator
To enable postsecondary learners with disabilities to participate in Canadian society and postsecondary education, on an equal basis, they need to have access to the same ICTs as nondisabled postsecondary learners. This is where universal design and universal instructional design need to be implemented on campus. Purchasing accessible ICT products results in better, less expensive and more timely solutions than retrofits. Implementing accessibility features in the initial design of campus wide information and instructional technology results in fewer design, construction and legal costs and difficulties down the line.
Universal design is consistent with and responsive to the notions set out by the social model of disability and other non–medical/individualistic models. Social models identify environmental factors as the primary issues that need to be addressed so people with disabilities can participate as equals. In effect, universal design takes this idea one step further by stating that all environments need to be useable by the largest number of people with diverse abilities. In other words, universal design can create ‘access for all,’ human rights, and equitable access to ICTs on and off campus. For further information, check out the three excellent universal design brochures on the AHEAD (2007) web site.
In Canada, we lack the kind of robust legislation found in the United States, which clearly sets out obligations around accessibility of ICTs for persons with disabilities in schools, government, and the workplace. Therefore, we rely on American legislation to produce accessible ICTs, which we can then purchase. The American legislation has introduced the concept of accessibility into general awareness in the broader ICT community and has produced many tangible changes. Nowhere was this as forcefully evident as when one of use enthusiastically wanted to demonstrate the then new exciting accessibility features of Microsoft Office. "Look, you can now use dictation to enter your information!" Well, this was certainly true if one wasis writing in English. But in Québec, where the majority of postsecondary learners and disability service providers speak French, Microsoft Office lacked this accessibility feature. Why? We can only assume that there is no business case to make French versions accessible to meet the requirements of American ICT access-related legislation. As well, Québec’s French language charter, which requires all software sold in Québec to be available in French, does not take accessibility for persons with disabilities into account.
ICT accessibility is a key requirement of contemporary postsecondary education. We must all work together to ensure the accessibility, availability, and affordability of ICTs to students with disabilities. To this end, in Canada, individuals with disabilities and persons who work to provide access services to them can try to make use of the Canadian Charter of Rights and other mechanisms that will probably soon be in place as a result of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We sincerely hope that this will result in availability, accessibility, and affordability for all!
- AHEAD (2007). Publications. Retrieved June 1, 2007, from http://www.ahead.org/publications/index.htm
- Asuncion, J., Fichten, C.S., Fossey, M., & Barile, M. (2002). Dialoguing with developers and suppliers of adaptive computer technologies: Data and recommendations. Universal Access in the Information Society, 1(3), 177-196.
- Asuncion, J.V., Fichten, C.S., Barile, M., Fossey, M.E., & Robillard, C. (2004). Access to information and instructional technologies in higher education II: Practical recommendations for disability service providers. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 17(2), 134-137.
- Barnes, C. (1996). Institutional discrimination against disabled people and the campaign for anti-discrimination legislation. In D. Taylor (Ed.), Critical social policy: A reader (pp. 95-112). London, UK: Sage Publications
- Canadian Charter of Rights (undated). Retrieved June 1, 2007, from http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/charter/index.html#egalite
- Fichten, C.S., Asuncion, J.V., Barile, M., Fossey, M.E., Robillard, C., Judd, D., Wolforth, J., Senécal, J., Généreux, C., Guimont, J.P., Lamb, D., & Juhel, J-C. (2004). Access to information and instructional technologies in higher education I: Disability service providers’ perspective. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 17(2), 114 - 133.
- Fichten, C.S., Jorgensen, S., Havel, A., Barile, M., with the Collaboration of Landry, M.E., Fiset, D., Juhel, J.C., Tétreault, S., Ferraro, V., Chwojka, C., Nguyen, M.N., Alapin, I., Arcuri, R., Huard, G., Amsel, R. (2006). College students with disabilities: Their future and success - Final report presented to FQRSC / Étudiants ayant des incapacités au cégep : Réussite et avenir - Rapport final présenté à FQRSC. Montréal: Adaptech Research Network, Dawson College. ERIC (Education Resources Information Center) (ED491585).
- Fichten, C.S., Nguyen, M.N., Barile, M. & Asuncion, J. (in press). Scale of Adaptive Information Technology Accessibility for Postsecondary Students with Disabilities (SAITAPSD): A Preliminary Investigation. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability.
- Oliver, M. (1990). The politics of disablement. Basingstoke: Macmillan Press.
- Oliver, M. (1993). Social work, disabled people and disabling environments. London: Jessica Kingsley Publisher.
- Shaw, S.F. (2002). postsecondary supports for students with disabilities. Proceedings of the National Capacity Building Institute. Honolulu, Hawaii,
- United Nation General Assembly (2006, December 13) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Retrieved June 3, 2007, from http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/convtexte.htm#convtext
One University’s Approach to an Ever-Changing Student Population: The TECHniques Center at Texas Tech University
By Rebecca Daly
Texas Tech University
One of the prominent trends in higher education is the increase of students with disabilities attending colleges, whether large four-year universities or smaller two-year community colleges. Students are now realizing more and more that college success can be a goal for anyone, even those with learning differences. This once overlooked group is maintaining a stronger presence in colleges across the United States. With this presence is the beginning of specific programs created to work with this population outside of the required Student Disability office or Accommodations office. Texas Tech University offers the TECHniques Center for students with learning disabilities and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.
While all campuses are required by law to provide academic accommodations to students with disabilities, Texas Tech University wants to provide additional services and target an even more specific and very prevalent portion of this population. In the fall of 1999, Texas Tech created the TECHniques Center, a fee-for-service academic enhancement program for students with learning disabilities and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. This unique program is part of the Student Disability Services (SDS) office and offers additional services to students enrolled in the main SDS office at Texas Tech.
The TECHniques Center began with a very small group of approximately twenty students and two academic counselors. Since then, it has increased in both its size and the amount of services it offers. The TECHniques Center, exactly eight years after its inception, has 125 students and six counselors. Not included in these numbers are those put on a waiting list to become part of the unique program. Our counselors provide specialized services to this population with the goal to provide individualized service and attention. Academic counselors meet with students once every week for anywhere from fifteen minutes to sometimes over an hour, depending on the student’s particular needs. TECHniques academic counselors not only focus on academic issues, but also on life skills such as organization and time management, two skills these particular students often struggle with in and out of the classroom. Students are given an academic planner, which counselors urge their students to use, so as to find the student’s own way of time management. Counselors do not want the program to become “cookie cutter” in its approach, so each student is viewed as an individual with his/her own specific academic needs. The program is intentionally capped at 125 students.
In addition to academic assistance with counselors, the Center also provides assistive technology beyond what may be offered as a classroom accommodation. Students are offered programs that allow information to be absorbed in the most effective manner for that student. One such program offered to TECHniques students is Read and Write Gold, which reads texts aloud to a student so that he/she can absorb the information in another manner. Rather than only reading it from a textbook, students can both read the information and also have it read aloud to them. Another program the TECHniques Center provides its students is Inspiration, a mind mapping software.
Often said to be the backbone of the program, though, are the peer tutors that are trained to work with students with learning differences. Tutors are certified through the College Reading and Learning Association. The training includes a two-day session before the semester begins and weekly training sessions throughout the semester. New tutors are required to complete fifteen hours of training, while returning tutors are required to complete ten hours of training. No matter how experienced the returning tutors are, the TECHniques Center strives for constant learning and growth of these tutors. Tutors learn about specific learning disabilities they may encounter in this job and how to handle a student with ADHD. Guest speakers are also brought in to discuss such relevant topics as academic integrity, medications the Center’s students may be taking and campus resources available. The Center prefers to use peer tutors because students tend to feel more comfortable working with a peer. Peer tutors also provide priceless experience for the student, as they are paired based on common courses and may have even had the same professor. Tutors must meet the Center’s requirements to hold this position. Each tutor has to have at least a 3.0 grade point average, have earned at least forty credit hours and two letters of recommendation, one from a university professor and one from a supervisor. They typically tutor classes in which they have earned an A or B over the course of their academic career. TECHniques Center students are so influenced by their tutors that on occasion former students have even gone on to apply for and then offered a position as a peer tutor.
TECHniques Center students, too, have responsibilities as participants. Each student signs a Statement of Understanding, which lays out his/her specific responsibilities in the Center. These responsibilities include, but are not limited to, attendance at every tutoring session and weekly counselor meeting. When unable to attend meetings with his/her tutor or counselor, a student must give notice of at least six hours so as to not count the absence as a “no show”. Three “no shows” can mean suspended services in the Center. Participants must also maintain good academic standing. Students are expected to earn at least a 2.0 semester grade point average. Students also must attend tutoring sessions each week and are allowed up to 5 hours a week. Many of the students’ responsibilities revolve around the Center’s philosophy of self-advocacy. Counselors want their students to be independent adults, so many of the rules work towards this philosophy. They must also pay the program fee each semester they participate.
The TECHniques Center is one of only a few programs in the nation that works specifically with students with learning disabilities and ADHD. While the Center does have more students request admittance to its program, the department wishes to keep its numbers small, with a ratio of twenty-five students to every counselor. The goal of the program is not only to help students achieve success in college, but also to achieve success beyond college, again ensuring a philosophy of self-advocacy. The success rate of the students in the Center is a somewhat challenging to measure, though, because not all students remain with the Center until graduation. Some students leave for a year and come back when they need the help again; other students stay with the program for three years and still others are only enrolled in the TECHniques Center for a semester before they graduate. The Center wants to be what each student needs from its program, so statistics regarding enrollment and success rates are somewhat skewed because of the variety of ways and times students use the program. Having said that, statistics of grade point averages and returning attendance at the Center clearly show the positive impact this program has on its students. Of those that had participated since 2002, seventy-three of them have already graduated. Student grade point averages are indicative of the benefit of the TECHniques Center. In the spring of 2006 about 15% of all students had a 3.5 or higher GPA. Of the Center’s students, about 45% had a GPA of 3.0 or better.
Retention rates, another measure of the program’s success, since the fall of 2002 have only been going up each year. Beginning with a 62% retention in the 2002/2003 year, retention increased to 76% the following academic year and then to 79% the year after that. The 2005/2006 academic year saw a retention rate of 81%.
Currently, the TECHniques Center is acquiring additional space and cutting-edge technology to facilitate the increasing number of students coming into the program. The numbers for the Center have increased drastically for this fall, partly because of the marketing of the Center but also because of the status of TECHniques as being unique in the college setting. The staff in the TECHniques Center is also working with the Student Disability Services Office on a new retention initiative for its students, which includes frequent contact with students and workshops on academic issues. Texas Tech SDS staff, which includes the TECHniques Center counselors, strives to be a major resource for students with disabilities to turn to upon applying to college.
September 2007 Calendar
Professional Development. Take advantage of these upcoming events, conferences, and other opportunities to increase and share your knowledge.
Calls for Presentations and Articles
ALERT submission and publication dates:
The ALERT is now being published every 2-3 months. Here is the schedule for submissions:
November 9, 2007
November 16, 2007
January 25, 2007
February 1, 2007
AHEAD and Affiliate Events
AHEAD Fall WORKSHOPS: October 26-27, 2007
Workshop #1: Ensuring Equal Opportunities: A Whole Student Approach The traditional "access-only" model of campus Disability Services doesn't always meet the needs of students with Asperger's Syndrome, or cognitive, intellectual, psychiatric or multiple learning disabilities. Accommodations or conventional academic skills training are often not enough; an integrated approach addressing life skills, social interaction and career planning is often needed.
This workshop offers an overview of student demographics and trends, service provision models, practical approaches and program planning strategies for open-enrollment and other institutions.
Workshop #2: Equality of Access in Campus Environments: Weaving a new Philosophy into Campus Planning For years, college campuses have taken up the charge to meet accessibility requirements under disability law. Today the call is to ensure that all environments - information, programmatic, attitudinal and physical - anticipate the needs of an increasingly diverse campus population. This essential training will help you move from a code compliance approach to isolated construction projects toward a universal design approach integrated into institutional planning. The principles of universal design provide a platform from which to address the demands placed on campus infrastructure by changing technology, sustainability and diversity initiatives while providing a bridge to strategic and instructional planning that can be anchored to institutional mission and core values.
Complete registration information is available on the AHEAD website at: http://www.ahead.org/training/reg_training/index.php
We hope you'll take time to thoroughly review the registration information and join your colleagues for one of these important professional development workshops.
Questions? Please feel welcome to contact AHEAD's Director of Professional Development, Richard Allegra, at mailto:Richard@ahead.org or by telephone at 704-947-7779 (v/t).
Other upcoming Conferences,
Trainings and Expositions
Check out these offerings from our colleagues in the fields of disability and higher education:
September 29-30, 2007
Midwest Regional Disability Lifestyles Conference and Expo 2007
“Sharing Our World with You”
The Ohio State University Campus In Columbus Ohio
For session information, go to: http://ada.osu.edu/conferences/MobilityConf2007/SessionDescriptions.html
Conference to be held at:
The Ohio State University, 337 W. 17th Ave. Columbus, OH 43210
Contact Information: L. Scott Lissner, ADA Coordinator
Address: ADA Coordinator's Office, The Ohio State University,
2054 Drake Center, 1849 Cannon Drive, Columbus, OH 43210
(Voice) Phone: 614-292-6207 (TTY) 614-688-8605 (Fax) 614-688-3665
November 5, 2007
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm EST
The National Clearinghouse on Disability
and Exchange and
American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
Foreign Language and Disability TeleTraining
Learn the Tools to Create Inclusive Classrooms
and Overseas Study Programs
Foreign language professors will share their knowledge and experiences on:
Historical and theoretical overviews of disability
Methodologies inclusive of Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing students
Adaptive technology for teaching blind, low-vision and sighted students
Overseas programs designed to accommodate wheelchair users alongside non-disabled
Resources to increase the ability of foreign language teachers and administrators to
address the broad spectrum of language learners
For more information and to register, go to:
Relay conference captioning services provided
The Clearinghouse is sponsored by the United States
Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
and administered by Mobility International USA
April 22 & 23, 2008
Multiple Perspectives on Access, Inclusion, & Disability:
Looking Back & Thinking Ahead
“Congress acknowledged that society's accumulated
myths and fears about disability and disease are as handicapping
as are the physical limitations that flow from actual impairment.”
Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. 480 U.S. 284
CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS (Proposals are due October 31, 2007)
The Eighth Annual Multiple Perspectives conference continues the university’s efforts to bring together a diverse audience to explore disability as both an individual experience and social reality that cuts across typical divisions of education & employment; scholarship & service; business & government; race, gender & ethnicity. This year's theme "looking back and thinking ahead" is meant to encourage presenters and participants to consider topics, methods and programs from fresh perspectives.
Two decades ago Congress investigated the status of individuals with disabilities in society. Their findings lead to the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act in 1990. How relevant are those findings today?
As we approach the second decade under the ADA let’s take stock in the status of disability. Papers addressing the themes of Access, Inclusion and Disability are sought for the Eighth Annual Multiple Perspectives Conference.
Collaboration Toward Academic Justice
By Amy Free, BS, CI & CT, Staff Interpreter, McBurney Disability Resource Center at the University of Wisconsin – Madison (email@example.com)
*This is a summarized, edited version of a McBurney document. Please contact Amy Free if you would like to receive the original, full document.
A traditional foreign language curriculum at the UW typically assumes that students enrolled in foreign language courses are able to hear, speak, read, and write. When a student with a hearing loss enrolls in this kind of class, accommodation alone (such as an interpreter or captionist) may not be enough to permit the student to effectively participate and demonstrate acquired knowledge of course material.
During the 2006-07 academic year, a deaf student at the UW opted not to request a foreign language substitution, and she enrolled in Italian 101. A team of sign language interpreters was the accommodation provided in the Italian 101 classroom. Notetaking services were also approved as an accommodation for this student but were not used. McBurney did not have any accommodations staff who had previously studied Italian.
By the conclusion of first semester Italian, the student and interpreters had identified some unique challenges. While the goal of academic accommodation is to allow the student to have access to course material in order to participate fully and equivalently to the course standard, the accommodation for this class (a team of sign language interpreters not fluent in the language of study) did not level the learning field for the student. No accommodation that McBurney was able to offer (interpreters, real-time captioning, notetakers) could provide access at a level equal to the deaf student's hearing peers learning Italian. Additionally, the oral exams and listening activities of the standard Italian curriculum were not relevant to the deaf student.
The student was concerned that the way she was tested did not account for her individual skills and abilities in the course. The student sought ideas to make the class more relevant and equitable to her needs and abilities.
Approaching spring semester, the student elected to continue with second semester Italian, and so a collaborative meeting was held. The student, the classroom interpreters, the instructor for Italian 102, and an outside expert held a discussion. A sign language interpreter was also present to work the meeting. The goals of the meeting were to: address the unique challenges faced during first semester Italian; identify and clearly communicate to the instructor the student’s needs and goals for learning; and review the curriculum objectives for the class and the legal and pedagogical parameters regarding reasonable accommodations for the course.
As part of creative brainstorming, ideas from Gallaudet
University -- the liberal arts college for deaf and hard of hearing
students in Washington, DC -- were discussed in terms of potential
efficacy and applicability in a mainstream post-secondary setting.
Gallaudet University incorporates the sign language of the country
of study (i.e. Lenguaje de Señas Mexicanas or
"LSM" in a Spanish class) and emphasizes reading and writing the language of study.
The meeting ended with a plan of action to address
the challenges of the previous semester.
The standard curriculum was adapted in the following ways:
1) Partaking in listening portions of exams was not possible due to disability. In Italian 101 the listening portion was not graded on the deaf student’s exams, and so the weight of the rest of the exam – and likewise, the weight of her errors – was increased as compared with the weight of errors by her hearing peers.
Solution: The student attended the Italian language table at Memorial Union (with an interpreter as accommodation, as requested) and submitted a write-up to her Italian 102 instructor. This replaced and was graded equivalently to the listening portion of the hearing students’ exams.
2) Performing spoken Italian skits and presenting spoken dialogue with a fellow (hearing) student was not feasible and not relevant to the deaf student.
Solution: The student did a class presentation in sign language about LIS (Lingua Italiana dei Segni/Italian Sign Language.) As a result of this presentation, the hearing students in the classroom were exposed to a part of Italian culture that is otherwise unrepresented in the standard curriculum. The deaf student and interpreters were able to incorporate some Italian signs into everyday interaction in the classroom, thereby making the presentation information immediately relevant to the student.
3) Taking oral exams with an interpreter as an accommodation was not equivalent to hearing students’ oral exams. The deaf student’s responses were affected by the interpreter’s understanding of the Italian message, and there was no seamless mechanism to insure that the student herself comprehended the questions being asked.
Solution: The student had a one-on-one “Interaction with a Native Speaker” that was evaluated by the instructor. The student was to employ any necessary communication methods (speechreading, gesture, writing notes, etc.) to make communication effective. Interpreters were not present for this interaction, so there was no doubt that the student’s own comprehension was measured.
As evidenced in this situation, sometimes more than just placing an interpreter (or notetaker or captionist) in the classroom is needed to allow for optimal learning and inclusion within the learning community. Inter-departmental collaboration is also imperative. Accommodations staff and instructors work together to provide professional insight, ideas, and make effort to get creative and adapt standard curriculum where plausible. By following this model, departments across campus can likewise increase the success of students with varying sensory abilities.
The Wright Stuff (Integrating Veterans into Campus Life)
By Simi Linton
The New York Times recently reported that Dartmouth President James Wright has started an important and long overdue program to provide individualized college counseling to seriously injured and disabled veterans.
After visiting wounded veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medial Center, Wright – a former U.S. Marine - realized that to get an education, disabled veterans would need individualized counseling that would be hard to come by once they left active duty.
"Some [of the veterans] said they wanted to go to college, some didn’t. Some said things like, ‘Because I’ve lost my legs, I need a place with elevators, and I don’t know if the school close to my home has them."
Wright started looking for a way meet these veterans’ needs. He contacted David Ward at the American Council on Education, who agreed to help develop the program. Wright helped raise $300,000 and this spring, educational counselors are working at Bethesda, Walter Reed and Brooke Army Medical Center. In the program’s first week, more than fifty veterans asked for appointments with the counselors and now about one hundred wounded veterans are being served.
Because of advances in medical care, the survival rate for service members with serious injuries is far higher in Iraq and Afghanistan than in previous wars. These circumstances have created a group of young men and women who must remake their lives with brain injuries, amputations and other significant impairments.
James Wright has done something important and he is to be commended. Colleges and universities across the country need to evaluate the degree to which they are prepared to accommodate and integrate these returning veterans into campus life.
A good way to start is to utilize the expertise of disabled students, faculty and staff on campus. Administrators should work with disabled people to assure that adaptations to the physical environment and changes in policy and practice are comprehensive and effective. This is the only way that efforts to enhance integration will be successful. In addition to the expertise that may be found on campus, other useful resources are local Independent Living Centers and AHEAD (the Association of Higher Education and Disability).
It is also important to remember that elevators are just the beginning. Colleges and universities must dismantle the physical and institutional barriers that have historically faced - and continue to face - disabled people on campuses across the United States. Coupled with Wright’s wonderful initiative, this type of work can and will make a huge difference in the lives of these veterans.
Simi Linton is the author of My Body Politic. She is currently working on a documentary film based in part on her memoir and writes Disability Culture Watch (http://www.similinton.com/blog/), an on-line commentary about disability and the arts. This entry was posted on July 5, 2007 and is reprinted here with the permission of the author.
2007 AHEAD Award Recipients
People work diligently year after year in order to make an impact, create change, or perhaps leave a legacy. Recognition is seldom sought by those individuals who are invested in the toil. It is simply a side-effect of sincere efforts. Each year at the annual conference AHEAD takes time to thank and recognize such people and their efforts. Here is a snapshot of four people in the spotlight for 2007.
Elaine Ostroff Meritorious Contribution
Grand Mother of universal design. Elaine is described as “one of the seminal thinkers to explicate universal design as a framework for designing for all users across the spectrum of ability and age.”
This award recognizes the contribution of a member of the community whose ideas and efforts have influenced the membership and provided an impact on the work of the Association. AHEAD members have benefited directly and indirectly from Elaine’s tireless efforts in promoting social equity through design. This impact has been felt by all of us who work in higher education as we strive to move from a medical and accommodation model to implement a social model of disability; as we change our focus from individual accommodations to changing campus environments to be flexible, inclusive and usable for all. She was pushing universal design agenda long before we as an Association ever conceptualized what universally designed environments looked like. Elaine co-founded Adaptive Environments as the first NGO in the US dedicated to design and social equity for people across the spectrum of ability and age.
While many AHEAD members may have not met Elaine
or seen her name in print, our membership has benefited greatly
by her knowledge, leadership, experience, and energy.
• She is the current director, editor, and publisher of the Global Universal Design Educator’s Network and on-line newsletter.
• She has facilitated, coordinated, and been keynote speaker at many international conferences on universal design since 1994.
• She became the mentor of the AHEAD Program Committee in 2000, assisting Gladys Loewen, Lydia Block, and Kent Jackson in designing a program that introduced the paradigm on universal design to AHEAD members. She was also a speaker at the first AHEAD symposia on UD.
• Elaine has participated as a facilitator in the AHEAD UD initiative for the past 5 years, assisting with the design and delivery of a module on the built environment, reviewing applications, and mentoring several UD participants.
• She worked with Ron Mace, one of the leaders of UD at NCSU, and was one of the members of the focus group that established the 7 principles of universal design in 1997.
• After the death of Ron Mace in 1998, Elaine created the Access to Design Professions project which she manages as Project Director as a memorial to him. This project seeks to increase the number of people with disabilities who enter and succeed in the design professions.
• She has offered opportunities for AHEAD members the opportunity to participate in the Access to Design Professions project.
• She has published or co-edited several books and handbooks, including Building a World Fit for All People, Designers with Disabilities at Work, Universal Design Handbook and Strategies for Teaching Universal Design,
• Elaine co-founded Adaptive Environments as the first NGO in the US dedicated to the role of design in social equity for people across the spectrum of ability and age.
A lifetime of work toward betterment of society for all its citizens.
Ron Stewart Blosser Award
It is for his vision and tireless efforts to make printed information accessible by people with print disabilities that finds Ron in a prominent role.
Ron worked at Oregon State University outside of the disability support office as an information technology support staff member who “got” accessibility issues. That fact was unique and wonderful. Ron quickly became one of the most respected leaders in the provision of the alternate format to print called electronic text. He realized that technology could be harnessed to turn print books into e-text, and was able to expand his vision of accessibility from the local and national levels to the international level. Ron grasps the importance of building accessibility from the start, which is the essence of universal design, and advocates in sensible ways for equal access to textbooks and other instructional information used in post-secondary education. Currently, he chairs AHEAD’s E-text Solutions Group where he researches and proposes best practices, educates other disability support officers on how to acquire e-text, and advocates with colleagues, students, and publishers for better access to e-text. With a forthright, no-nonsense style, he provides clear communication, and most of the country follows the path he has set for us. He has also managed to put AHEAD in a pivotal role in working with publishers through his ongoing efforts.
In these endeavors he is shaping what disability service officers do in providing e-text—now and with a vision of the future.
Erin Evans Professional Recognition Award
Erin has been working as a disability services professional since 2001. She earned her professional standing by working at both Bunker Hill Community College and Babson College in Massachusetts, and has assumed her new position as of July 07 at Suffolk University Law School dealing with issues of disability and access. She has honed her skills and commitment by working with diverse populations of students with disabilities, faculty, and staff to develop strategic partnerships designed to represent an institutional buy-in toward an inclusive environment.
Described as passionate about professional development, both her own and colleagues’, she concertedly brought professional development up to a higher level in the New England region through her continued development and leadership in the Boston Disability Leadership Consortium. Since 2003, she has sponsored over 40 training events, including guest speakers, teleconferences and workshops on a wide range of current DS topics, all at no charge to the participants. In addition she provides leadership to hundreds of peers and consults on a regular basis to regional colleges on program and policy management issues. Erin is a master networker! Whenever she has an opportunity to do so, she brings people together, in groups as well as individually, and helps them connect around common issues.
Her interest in the benchmarking of disability services in higher education is a topic of national interest. Not only is she an advocate for students with disabilities, she believes that student success will be more sustainable when the "buy-in" comes from more than just the disability professionals on campus.
Most notable in her service to AHEAD are responsibilities she undertook as a volunteer to serve as Program Co-Chair in Milwaukee (2005) AHEAD conference and lead Program Chair in San Diego (2006).
Dr. I. King Jordan, President Emeritus, Gallaudet University. Presidential Award Recipient
Recently retired from Gallaudet University, I. King Jordan made history in 1988 when he became the first deaf president of that institution, the world's only university with programs and services designed specifically for students who are deaf and hard of hearing. That year Gallaudet students, with support from many alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the University, protested the Board of Trustees' appointment of a hearing person to the presidency.
Called Deaf President Now (DPN), the week-long protest was a watershed event in the lives of deaf and hard of hearing people all over the world. At its conclusion, the Board reversed its decision and named I. King Jordan, one of three finalists for the position, the eighth president of Gallaudet and the first deaf president since the institution was established in 1864.
Since DPN, I. King Jordan's leadership has heightened public awareness of the important educational contributions Gallaudet makes to the nation and the world. He serves as an international spokesperson for deaf and hard of hearing people, as well as an advocate for all persons with disabilities.
Much sought after as a public speaker, Dr. Jordan continues to challenge the American public to examine their attitudes toward people with disabilities and to open their minds, hearts and workplaces to them.
Whats the Hubbub about Remote CART?
For goodness sake, we never have to leave our homes anymore if we don’t want to. We can bank at home, buy just about anything we want or need, blog with our friends, and even find a life partner, without ever leaving the comfort of our computer chair.
Fortunately or unfortunately, the above scenario is exactly what has caused companies to begin offering remote CART services. Students as well as providers have recognized that they need not be onsite to offer the services that are needed. Further, with an increasing need and a small decreasing pool of CART providers, the need to maximize the resources has grown dramatically.
There is no question that onsite CART services are in most cases ideal. There is some record of students canceling services because they do not want to attend classes with “their mom sitting next to them,” but this is the rarity, not the norm, even for undergrads. Frequently very positive relationships between the students, service providers and institutions are built. However, the reality is too few writers, too much need, and really expensive gas!
Remote CART services are a very viable option. The process is such that the CART provider needs to hear what is happening in the class, and the student needs to be able to receive the text back.
To get started, the basic need is a laptop with access to the internet, internet access and a wireless microphone. If you have a laptop with internet access, you will need to load a free software called “Skype.” This software will turn your computer into a phone for you. That is pretty much all there is to it. The microphone is given to the professor.
The student goes to a specific URL (website address) to see the text. The student connects to the CART writer via Skype, simply my clicking on the CART writer’s name and Voila – remote CART.
Experience has shown that there are a couple of keys to successful CART. Low bid probably means low quality. There are some sources available that use CART as filler between television captioning jobs. Watch out for this. True CART writers are trained to capture environmental sounds, tone of the event, more than just words! Ask what kind of CART training your company has provided to its staff.
Consistent quality is one of the biggest factors in success or failure of remote CART. Some companies put their “true CART writers” on the frontline for the first part of a semester and then bring out their “B-team.” Get verification that there is redundancy and quality-control measures. Will your student get the same CART writer each class session? If not, why not?
Training is also very critical. If your student can’t find the time to try out the service and practice, then most likely they will be too busy to really use it effectively. Quality CART companies will offer whatever training is necessary to ensure success. Most offer it at no cost. Take the time. Learn the intricacies of it. Remember the first time you put in that 5 ¼” floppy disk? It takes a little time to get comfortable, but then you’ll wonder why you waited so long to embrace it.
For more information about remote CART services, contact the AHEAD office.
WGBH Receives Grant to Develop Solutions for Captioning Handheld Media for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Citizens
WGBH Receives $600,000 Grant to Develop Solutions for Captioning Handheld Media for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Citizens
WGBH has received a $600,000 grant from the Department of Education's National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (http://www.ed.gov), to support its groundbreaking efforts to make handheld media accessible for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, President Henry Becton Jr. announced today.
Titled "Captioning Solutions for Handheld Media and Mobile Devices" (award number H133G070122), the grant provides WGBH's Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) with $600,000 over three years to research and develop technical solutions for delivering captioned content to iPods, cell phones, PDAs and other mobile devices.
"From TV programs to school science experiments to corporate training presentations, more and more video content is being delivered through handheld media," said Larry Goldberg, Director of Media Access for WGBH.
"Yet the 28 million Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing can't fully benefit from this content because it lacks captions."
Currently, Goldberg said, none of the existing technologies for producing and distributing content via mobile devices possesses the technical requirements needed to transmit captions. In addition, the few video-enabled handheld devices that have the technical capability to receive captioned content don't offer any controls that would enable deaf or hard of hearing users to access those captions.
Through the grant, WGBH will research ways of embedding captioning solutions within handheld devices and develop prototypes that will serve as proof-of-concept models for the mobile technology industry and public policymakers. WGBH also will explore and develop strategies for captioning media that is streamed directly to mobile devices via wireless networks, multi-channel DTV distribution or downloaded to desktop computers and then transferred to mobile devices.
Technology partners that will provide development platforms for WGBH's research include AOLR, Hewlett-Packard Company, the Open Media Network and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. Content partners MacNeil/Lehrer Productions (producer of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer) and Hewlett-Packard, meanwhile, will join WGBH in providing a range of video content to be viewed on project prototypes during user testing by people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
WGBH made history in the 1970s when it invented captioning for deaf and hard-of-hearing TV viewers. It later pioneered Descriptive Video ServiceR (DVSR)-which provides blind and visually impaired viewers with an audio narration of a program's visual elements-before developing MoPixR, its patented system that provides captions and descriptive video for feature films. More than 300 theaters in the U.S. and Canada now offer the MoPix technology, enabling patrons with disabilities to enjoy first-run feature films at the same time as their sighted and/or hearing family and friends.
This year, WGBH marked the 35th anniversary of the first-ever captioned television broadcast: an episode of WGBH's beloved cooking series, The French Chef with Julia Child.
"As content continues to migrate from TV to the Web and now to mobile devices," Goldberg said, "it's gratifying for WGBH to receive funding that will support our continuing efforts to make all media accessible to people with disabilities."
WGBH Boston is America's preeminent public broadcaster, producing such celebrated national PBS series as Masterpiece Theatre, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience and more than a dozen other award-winning primetime, lifestyle and children's series. WGBH is the leading producer of online content for pbs.org-one of the most-visited dot-org sites on the Internet-a major producer for public radio and a pioneer in developing educational multimedia and new technologies that make media accessible for people with disabilities. For its efforts, WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors, including Oscars, Emmys, Peabodys and duPont-Columbia Journalism Awards. Visit WGBH on the Web at http://www.wgbh.org.
Athletic Competition for Individuals with Disabilities
A Women’s Sports Foundation® Position
Physical Activity and Athletic Competition for Individuals with Disabilities
August 10, 2007
Our mission at the Women's Sports Foundation is simple: to advance the lives of girls and women through sport and physical activity.
Annually, the Women's Sports Foundation offers assistance to more than 2,000 organizations - helping them with gender equity situations, teaching them how to attract and retain girls in their programs and connecting them with volunteers in their
The Women’s Sports Foundation urges all educational institutions, national sport governing bodies and athletics organizations to adopt policies that protect the health of individuals with disabilities and their right to participate in sports and physical activity. The following guidelines are consistent with civil rights and antidiscrimination laws that protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination and research regarding the physical and psychological development of individuals with disabilities.
For the complete statement go to:
On September 29th and 30th join us for the Midwest Regional Disability Lifestyles Conference and Exposition sponsored by the Ohio Wheelchair Sports Association OSU, Columbus Recreation and Parks, VSA Arts Ohio, The Ohio State University Department of Recreational Sports and the Ohio State University's ADA Coordinator's Office.
This unique conference and exposition will be held at Ohio State University's new Recreation And Physical Activity Center (337 W. 17th Ave Columbus Ohio). Saturday will feature a vendor's area, sports demos such as beepball (blind baseball) and wheelchair basketball, tennis, and rugby and 12 educational sessions for community professionals, athletes and amateurs. The day begins with at 10:00 A.M. opening remarks by Rosemarie Rossetti, includes a lunchtime performance by Dancing Wheels and concludes with a keynote address by Dr. William Bauer, PhD at the Saturday evening reception in the Huntington Club of Ohio Stadium. The conference continues on Sunday with nine more concurrent sessions focusing on swimming, sled hockey, wellness and developing community programs.