For the past three years, the AHEAD Start Academy has offered a foundational experience to disability resource professionals who are just building or continuing to grow their fundamental knowledge and skills. As we did in 2020, we this will be a virtual experience that includes a year-long mentoring component to again offer newer professionals the opportunity to explore, discuss, and apply concepts important to building equity on college campuses. AHEAD membership through the end of the calendar year is included in the conference registration fee.
As always, the Academy is designed to orient, refresh, and engage. We’ll begin with a foundation in disability history, social justice, and civil rights. After framing disability, we’ll cover essential legal principles, documentation considerations, the interactive process, and reasonable accommodation decision-making. We’ll consider common and emerging issues, service coordination, and outreach. Topics include:
- Disability as a civil right: examination of the history of the disability rights movement, discussion about disability in society today, 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.
- Outreach and consultation: campus leadership and influence.
To build community and provide opportunities for networking and group support, the three-day October component of Academy will be synchronous. Therefore, to be fully immersed in the content, discussions, and activities, we recommend participants connect away from the daily demands of their jobs, from a home office or a private location. While we appreciate the challenge of finding that space and will record sessions for later viewing as necessary, participating in this event as though it were an in-person training will provide the most benefit. Please review the Academy schedule to block your schedule now.
During the Academy week in October, participants will be paired with a small cohort group lead by a long-term AHEAD member mentor. The week’s schedule will include an initial opportunity for engagement with the group mentor and peers to establish relationships that will provide connections and support over the course of the next year in ongoing monthly discussions and Q&A sessions.
If you are in your first three years of higher education / disability resource work, have gaps in your knowledge that a review of foundational concepts would help to fill, or are interested in a sustained cohort/mentoring opportunity, this training/mentoring program may be exactly what you’re looking for. Whether you work alone, with a large staff, or address disability as one component of a larger role, join us for this comprehensive introduction to a dynamic field.
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