Are you in your first three years of disability resource work? Are you hiring staff new to the field? Do you notice gaps in your knowledge that a foundational experience would help to fill? If so, this is the event for you!
The AHEAD Start Academy will offer a foundational experience to disability resource professionals just acquiring or continuing to build fundamental knowledge and skills. With a team of highly experienced, nationally-respected presenters and three days, you’ll have the chance to explore, discuss, and apply concepts important to building equity on college campuses. The Academy is designed to orient, refresh, and engage those newer to the field. The curriculum is based on, but expanded from, the AHEAD Start workshops that have trained over 500 disability resource staff members over more than 10 years. This event, now in its second year, takes the comprehensive goals of that workshop and expands them to prepare participants with the knowledge and skills to address disability-related barriers and engage campus stakeholders.
Disability resource staff enter the field with a variety of backgrounds, from student affairs to the K-12 system to vocational rehabilitation and the law. While each of these fields provides pertinent information, in isolation they cannot provide the breadth of knowledge and critical judgement necessary to analyze barriers, apply consistent principles, and impact established systems.
Disability resource professionals set the tone for how a campus frames and responds to disability. Therefore, we’ll begin the Academy with a foundation in disability studies, social justice, and civil rights. After framing disability, we’ll cover essential legal principles, documentation considerations, and reasonable accommodation decision-making. We’ll consider common and emerging issues, service coordination, and outreach. Topics include:
- Disability studies: critical analysis of disability in society and how it informs service delivery
- Legal concepts from Section 504, the ADA, case law, and settlement agreements: the interactive process, “reasonableness,” fundamental alteration, undue burden, and direct threat
- The interactive process: student interview, documentation, and decision-making in context
- Accommodation design and coordination: test accommodations, note-taking, document conversion, etc.
- Assistive technologies, access in online spaces
- Hot topics: animals on campus, attendance and assignment flexibility, housing, leaves of absence,
- Stakeholder interactions: faculty, administrators, parents
- Outreach and consultation: campus leadership and influence in the instructional, physical, technology, and policy environments
Unlike online trainings and other forms of distant education, the AHEAD Start Academy provides the opportunity for attendees to engage with each other and develop a professional network, the most valuable professional development tool available. Whether you work alone, with a large staff, or address disability as one component of a larger role, join us for this comprehensive, 16-hour introduction to a dynamic field.
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