2022 Concurrent Sessions

Wednesday, July 20

Thursday, July 21

Friday, July 22

Block A: WEDNESDAY, JULY 20, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

A1: OCR Year in Review

Chandra Baldwin, U.S. Office of Civil Rights, Department of Education
Karla Ussery, U.S. Office of Civil Rights, Department of Education

The Office of Civil Rights assists individuals with disabilities who face discrimination and guides institutions in developing solutions to civil rights problems by investigating complaints, initiating compliance reviews, and providing technical assistance. OCR representatives will review recent, illustrative OCR decisions.

A2: The State of Disability Inclusion and Practice in Health and Allied Health Professions

Lisa Meeks, University of Michigan Medical School
Kristina Peterson, New York Medical College
Grace Clifford, University of California, Los Angeles
Christine Low, Icahn School of Medicine
Emily Magee, Eastern Virginia Medical School
Matthew Sullivan, Washington University in St. Louis

Drawing on recent advancements and triumphs in disability inclusion, the President and President-Elect of the Coalition on Disability Access in Health Science Education will challenge the audience to seize this moment, building on the current momentum and to celebrate the successes and the increased recognition of how critical Disability Resource Professionals are to this space. This talk will also include the recommendations and progressive practices that shape and inform current best practices, reviewing the top five things that every Health and Allied Health program must do now. The session concludes with a 30-minute Q&A with audience members.

Back to Top

Block B: WEDNESDAY, JULY 20, 2:00 – 4:00 pm

B1: Legal Year in Review

Paul Grossman, Hastings School of Law
Jo Anne Simon, New York Assembly

AHEAD’s legal experts will analyze court cases and OCR letters from the past year of great significance to AHEAD members.

B2: Fostering a Positive Office Culture as a Leader

Margaret Camp, Clemson University
Chester Goad, Tennessee Tech University
Enjie Hall, The University of Toledo
Zebadiah Hall, Cornell University
Tiffany McClain, Columbus State Community College
Adam Meyer, University of Central Florida
Kristie Orr, Texas A&M University
Tom Webb, Wright State University

In the past two years, the office environment has changed for many to include some remote and hybrid work. As managers, it is incumbent on us to foster a positive culture for our teams. Non-managers also play a leadership role on their teams and campuses, and have an important influence on how offices function together. A panel of experienced disability office leaders will provide insight about how they encouraged connections between team members, how they help to navigate through changes and conflict, and how fun continues to be incorporated to support a collaborative and positive culture within the team. The panel will share techniques for building cohesive teams and supporting team members through tough times.

Back to Top

Block 1: WEDNESDAY, JULY 20, 4:30 – 5:30 pm

1.1: Getting the Most From Your AHEAD Conference Experience

Jennifer Murchison, The University of Memphis and TNAHEAD
Daniel Nuss, The University of the Pacific

Are you a first time conference attendee? This session will provide a jump-start to help you sort out all there is to offer at an AHEAD Conference, and an opportunity to meet other first-time attendees. This session will facilitate introductions and offer tips for networking--one of the most valuable benefits of an AHEAD Conference experience--as well as offer a template form for take-aways as you attend sessions. Start here to make your conference experience rich and rewarding! 

1.2: The Future of Coaching in Disability Resources 

Christina Fabrey, Virginia Tech
Jodi Sleeper-Triplett, JST Coaching and Training

Coaching in Disability Resources (DR) has been growing in popularity over the last decade with DR providers infusing coaching skills into their work and/or creating disability-specific coaching services. To serve students better, Coaching in DR increases trust and safety with students through embracing a model that keeps the student as the creative, whole, and resourceful. It shifts the traditional service model to a more holistic and equitable student-centered process. In this session, two credentialed coaches and editors of Coaching in Disability Resources: From Transactional to Transformational in AHEAD’s Foundations in Disability Resources monograph series, will share a brief overview of the monograph and highlight the value of coaching within disability resources. This session will explore what is coaching, how to shift interactions with students from transactional to transformational, coaching as an equity approach, case studies of coaching in DR offices, and insights on the future of coaching in the field.  

1.3: With Our Powers Combined: A Cross-Collaborative Approach to Tactile and Descriptive Calculus

Emily Helft, Landmark College
Michael Kerckhove, University of Richmond
Lily Dickson, University of Richmond

This presentation describes a cross-collaborative approach to the transformation of a visually based calculus class for students who are Blind/Vision-Impaired but do not read Braille or use Screen Readers to engage with math content. It covers a case study of a single student who lost their vision in their late teens after the point of covering the majority of their math education. Through partnership, creativity, and problem solving, the calculus instructor, DRO, and learning assistant were able to work collaboratively with the student to create a robust and successful combination auditory and tactile calculus experience. Our session will cover the planning and prep process, approaches to assessment, the creation of a low-cost tactile board, and lessons learned. Participants will walk away energized with ideas around approaches to cross-departmental collaboration, low-tech AT that anyone can make in an afternoon, and a reminder of the power of creativity and teamwork.

1.4: Documenting the Intersection of First-Generation Students with Disabilities in Higher Education

Paul Gregor, The Ohio State University

During this presentation, our team will share findings and results from a study titled “Documenting the Intersection of First-Generation Students with Disabilities in Higher Education.” Using a qualitative research approach, we gained intimate knowledge of the lived experiences of students who identify as first-generation students with disabilities in higher education. We sought to answer two key research questions: 1) How do first-generation students with disabilities navigate college? 2) In what ways could The Ohio State University and other institutions of higher education provide resources to ensure access and retention of these students? We will provide suggestions for higher education institutions recommended by the participants of our study.

1.5: Creating an Inclusive Testing Environment: Partnership Between a Disability Office and a Nursing Program

Jill Mousky, Minneapolis Community and Technical College
Lisa Reid, Minneapolis Community and Technical College
Traci Krause, Minneapolis Community and Technical College

In the Fall of 2021, the Minneapolis College Nursing Department partnered with the college’s Accessibility Resource Center to create and support a fully inclusive testing environment for Nursing students. In collaboration, the two departments created a testing policy that was adopted by all program’s instructors. The project was undertaken in response to the high number of students in this program who also registered with the Accessibility Resource Center to request extended time and private space for testing. This presentation details the process of implementing the partnership, the best practices adopted along the way as well as the results of pre- and post- implementation surveys we sent to our students.   

1.6: Exploring the Current and Long-Term Impacts of Pandemic on Executive Functioning in Autistic Students

Jaime Butler, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Amy Rutherford, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

The pandemic has brought with it many challenges--some that could have been predicted and others that could not. This presentation will seek to explore the specific challenges autistic students have faced with special focus on executive functioning impacts. Presenters will explore these impacts using current research, professional experiences, and practical feedback from those with lived experiences. Participants will be provided with tools for supporting executive functioning impacts including the use of technology, relevant resources, academic and well-being strategies, and programming recommendations. Additionally, presenters will explore the value in cultivating collaborative care through campus partnerships. Finally, presenters will explore self-care strategies for professionals.

1.7: Applying a Curricular Lens to Disability Services

Bonnie Huckaby, Purdue University
Paul Harwell, Dartmouth College
Jackie Heymann, Purdue University
Hunter Duncan, Purdue University

In disability services, it is easy to focus on the everyday issues that are brought to our attention, but how do we start to track patterns in these interactions?  Are there things we could be doing to make our practice more effective?  How can we be more proactive in addressing the issues that our students face? This presentation will apply the curricular mindset--frequently used in housing operations--to our work in disability services. The curricular approach helps us to better align our daily practice with student learning, assessment, and department goals and helps us to make long-term plans for our departments. This framework can be used to hone departmental communication, tell the story of the services and resources we provide to students, and illustrate the need for funding and resources. It can also help our campus partners to better understand the work that we do. In this presentation we will: Discuss the benefits of applying a curricular approach, review campus mission statements, pull actionable goals from mission statements, create objectives for our practice, develop learning outcomes, create strategies that address learning outcomes, and brainstorm assessment ideas.

1.8: Are We Disabled “Enough”? The Journey of Naming Intersecting Identities in Ourselves as Disability Professionals

Vivian Hardison, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Maria Schiano, County College of Morris

As professionals with non-apparent disabilities, it can occasionally feel taboo to disclose our disability in certain professional situations. In this session, two disability professionals with differing backgrounds will address the complexity of multiple identities, including disability, race, gender, and sexual orientation, and how those come up in our work. Topics to be addressed include how to establish methods of self-disclosure as it relates to non-apparent disabilities; structuring a balance between what is “too private” and what can be beneficial to disclose; and moving from a counseling perspective to a more inclusive identification model. We will invite attendees to explore how to address intersecting identities in themselves, and how our various identities can and will shape who we are as disability professionals.

1.9: Collaboration Between Disability and Writing Center Staff:  Embracing the Social Model in Working with Students with Disabilities

Chris Dallager, Mississippi State University
Matthew Hoekstra, University of Minnesota, Morris
Josh Johnson, University of Minnesota, Morris
Daleney Teske, University of Minnesota, Morris

Collaboration efforts between Writing Centers and Disability offices have often been nonexistent or focused on addressing the specific problems of students with disabilities. We propose a model that addresses active collaboration between offices that embraces the social model and moves away from an othering or categorizing environment of students. Based on a review of literature, survey data of writing center staff and students with disabilities, and the positive impact of procedures implemented to improve the experience of students with disabilities visiting the writing center, this presentation will provide participants with an understanding of how to collaborate with writing center colleagues through a social model perspective to improve the experience with students with disabilities.

1.10: Mentoring GPS: A Roadmap to Successful Outcomes for Mentoring Newer Disability Professionals

Chester Goad, Tennessee Tech University
Myron Hodg, Trinity University, Texas

Professional peer mentorship without a consistent, detailed road map often leads to a dead-end with little to no positive outcomes. However, the road to positive mentoring outcomes is paved with good intentional objectives, guided well-defined strategies, regular communication, and tips for those unexpected detours. Mentoring GPS will provide you with a plan for navigating a positive mentoring relationship designed to benefit both the mentor and the mentee. Learn from both a seasoned professional with 15 years in the field and an emerging professional only one year into the profession about how they created a successful mentorship model. 

1.11: Writing for the AHEAD Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability (JPED)

Ezekiel Kimball, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Ryan Wells, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Do you have fantastic experience, findings, and practices that should be shared with the greater field? We bet that you do! To disseminate professional knowledge, researchers and practitioners in the disability, technological, career, and higher education fields, among others, are encouraged to submit manuscripts to AHEAD's Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability (JPED). This session is designed for those who are considering a contribution to the journal. It will include a review of current topics, a description of what the JPED Editorial Board looks for in successful articles, and a walk-through of the manuscript submission process.

Back to Top

Block 2: THURSDAY, JULY 21, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

CANCELLED - REPLACEMENT TBD - 2.1: Audio Description: Access for Students Who Are Blind

Joel Snyder (ORCID iD), Audio Description Associates, LLC

Audio Description is a kind of literary art form. It's a type of poetry--a haiku. It provides a verbal version of the visual the visual is made verbal, and aural, and oral. Using words that are succinct, vivid, and imaginative, we convey the visual image that is not fully accessible to a segment of the population—new estimates by the American Foundation for the Blind now put that number at over 32 million Americans alone who are blind or have difficulty seeing even with correction—and not fully realized by the rest of us sighted folks who see but who may not observe. This presentation will offer an overview of the fundamentals of audio description and how they can be applied in providing more meaningful access to university activities: lectures, class presentations, performing and visual arts events and media--film and video.

2.2: Ready to Learn: Supporting Access to Accommodations for Students with Intellectual Disability in Higher Education

Cate Weir, Institute for Community Inclusion, UMass Boston
Clare Papay, Institute for Community Inclusion, UMass Boston
Michelle Mitchell, Lehigh Carbon Community College

Students with intellectual disability have access to higher education at more than 275 institutions of higher education in the U.S. Yet disability service professionals may lack knowledge and resources they need to be able to effectively support these students. This session gives an overview of academic accommodations can be used by disability service professionals to support students with ID to access college/university classes and provides strategies to build partnerships and capacity on campus to support student success, whether those students are attending a special certificate program or are accessing individual classes.

2.3: Mind Your Ps & Qs: The Importance of (P)rocesses and (Q)uestions in Creating Effective Office Practice

Jennifer Papproth, University of Nebraska Omaha
Becky Jacobs-Cano, University of Nebraska Omaha

This presentation addresses the importance of Ps (processes) and Qs (questions) in a informative and interactive format.  Through professional experience, the presenters have learned the value of creating processes within a disability services office.  Important questions, such as: "Why do we do what we do?", and "How do we what we do?"  lead to the development of processes and effective training. 

2.4: AccessText Network & E-Text: Essential Tools and Knowledge

Dawn Evans, Georgia Institute of Technology
Carolyn Phillips, Center for Inclusive Design & Innovation (CIDI)

Students with print-related disabilities need their college textbooks and course materials in alternate formats. But what are the fastest and easiest ways to track down these accessible files and E-Text for your students? How will you know which file format to request for your students? Would they need a PDF, EPUB, DOC, DAISY? How do you know if the file you received is fully accessible for your student's needs? How do you remediate a file to make it more accessible? What do you do if a file isn't available? This session will cover the basics of all these questions. We will begin with a demo of the essential (and free) tool that is the AccessText Network (ATN) – a site where Disability Service Providers (DSPs) can request files from publishers. We will also take a look at the 'Accessible Textbook Finder' and explore options for when a book isn't on ATN. Together, we will open up some files and discuss the characteristics that make them accessible or inaccessible. While this session may not make you an expert, it will provide you with the essential tools you need in order to provide E-Text accommodations, plus it will give you a solid foundation so you’ll know when to seek out further assistance and information.

2.5: From Burnout to Demoralization: Our Profession and the Perfect Storm of the Pandemic

Margaret Camp, Clemson University

We use the word 'burnout' to describe the recent erosion of staff morale in our profession, but this may not be an accurate description. This presentation uses a meteorological analogy of the 'perfect storm' to describe the turbulence: a widening gap between high school expectations and the rigor of university academics, parents and students with increasingly complicated accommodation requests who are dissatisfied with their options, the rising costs of university attendance and an influx of students on campuses, a lack of resilience among Gen Z students, understaffed and under-resourced offices trying to do more with less, and a global pandemic that turned it all upside down. Dissatisfaction within the field has led to resignation, attrition, and turnover. We will "claim our crisis" and explore suggestions for finding balance and satisfaction in our field.

2.6: New Challenges and Solutions for Math Success Focusing on Student with SLD, ADHD. TBI, PTS, LI, ID, and Autism: Learning Strategies, New Accommodations, Memory Aids, Course Substitutions, Case Histories and OCR Rulings

Paul Nolting, State College of Florida, Hillsborough Community College
Aimee Stubbs, Broward College

Disability Resource Offices are being challenged more than ever to improve math success. This is especially true for student groups with Autism, Intellectual Disabilities and Language Impairments. These new groups are now being added to the existing students with SLD, ADHD, TBI and PTS who can have difficulty learning math. Research indicates that math and poor strategic learning skills are the two major reasons students are unsuccessful, but that appropriate educational and testing accommodations can improve success. Offices can help students improve their success with a combination of math learning strategies, educational accommodations, test memory aids and strategies for course substitutions. Participants will learn new learning apps, math study skills, note-taking, anxiety reductions, test-taking skills, processing deficits effects on math learning, new testing accommodations, and substitution strategies. Participants will also learn how to conduct student workshops, strategies to help students in co-requisite courses and developing individual math success plans. Group discussions and demonstrations will occur during the presentation and a Q&A period will conclude the presentation.

2.7: All One Team: Navigating Collaboration and Consistency Across Multiple Campuses

Heidi Pettyjohn, University of Cincinnati
Meghann Littrell, University of Cincinnati
Michael Southern, University of Cincinnati

In 2020, our university brought accessibility and disability offices from three different campuses under one umbrella through a centralized reporting model, and in doing so spent a full academic year studying, aligning, and ultimately innovating our approach to supporting disabled students throughout the university. Regardless of the reporting structure, ensuring that accessibility and accommodation processes are consistent across a multi-campus institution simplifies life for staff as well as students, who only have to familiarize themselves with one system and process that they can learn quickly and effectively. We will discuss lessons that you can apply based on our journey to centralize people and processes across our three campuses. The presentation will focus on compliance, staffing, and collaborative team building. We will also discuss how we have continued to support varying student demographics across campuses and campus cultures.

2.8: A Sense of Belonging: Creation of the Disabled Faculty and Staff Association (DFSA)

Jessica Guess, University of Cincinnati
Whitney Saunders, University of Cincinnati

Disabled faculty and staff working in higher education typically experience varying levels of discrimination, bullying, a lack of representation on campus and a disproportionate demand on their time to educate the community on disability. These factors lead to a lowered sense of belonging on campus, lower percentages of employees disclosing disabilities, and a lack of disability culture or understanding within the college community. Over the past two years at our university, a group of disabled faculty and staff have created the first affinity group strictly for disabled employees. This presentation will provide insights on the impact the Disabled Faculty and Staff Association has had on the disabled members, the disabled student population, and the university community. It will highlight how the building of community for faculty and staff can lead to opportunities for mentoring and modeling of professional disabled identity for students, support student activism, create a permanent presence for the disabled community to enhance the University’s disability culture and increase a sense of belonging for disabled faculty, staff, and students. 

2.9: Equitable Crisis Management Practices: The Importance of Collaboration Between Disability Services, Case Management, & Community Standards

Grace Clifford, UCLA
Ali Martin Scoufield, Cleveland State University

Institutions of Higher Education across the country are experiencing an increased need for on-campus case and crisis management services. A need reinforced and amplified by the impact of a global pandemic that has exacerbated many disabilities for students. Our university has developed an innovative, cross-campus collaborative model that creates unique opportunities for enhanced, holistic student support to address complex needs. Presenters will outline the benefits of a Disability Services and CARE Management centered approach to supporting students and addressing behavior concerns, as well as review methods for creating curricular and co-curricular approaches to crisis and disability management.  

2.10: ADA Coordinator vs DS Director - Pros/Cons of Separated vs Combined Roles 

Emily Lucio, University of Maryland
Tina Vires, University of North Carolina - Greensboro

Are you a DS Director or someone in a DS role that was tasked with also being the ADA Coordinator? Are you concerned with playing this dual role and the different tasks each title is supposed to perform? Do you still wonder what you should be doing as an ADA Coordinator? Do you find you have time for one but not the other? Or do you think there needs to be a separate ADA Coordinator on your campus? These questions and more will be answered by a panel who will discuss job descriptions and essential duties, as well as in an interactive process to incorporate questions submitted in advance and in person. Come learn from people who have dual roles, who have two separate positions, and who are working to separate those responsibilities at their institutions.

2.11: What Is the True Barrier Here? Collaborating With Students to Accurately Assess Their Access Issues

Jamie Axelrod, Northern Arizona University
Adam Meyer, University of Central Florida

A critical role for staff working Disability/Accessibility offices is engaging with students to identify barriers, elicit their experience, identify potential effective accommodations, provide information which supports their eligibility and requests, and follow up if issues or additional barriers arise. However, that process can go astray if we have not accurately identified the barrier to access. When that happens, our approaches may not be effective because we are not focused on the issues truly causing the barrier. While students can often explain their experience in detail, they may misidentify the barrier. This session will look at practical methods professionals can use to accurately identify barriers to access and work collaboratively with the student to develop approaches that target the actual issue.

Back to Top

Block 3: THURSDAY, JULY 21, 2:00 – 3:00 pm

3.1: Faculty/Student Communication in Professional Programs: Creating an Environment that Promotes Positive, Collaborative Faculty/Student Partnerships

Matthew Sullivan, Washington University in St. Louis

When faculty provide unclear or inappropriate feedback to students with disabilities in professional programs, it often leads to student confusion and frustration, which can exacerbate faculty concerns about student unprofessionalism. Addressing misguided communication patterns can be a daunting task for disability practitioners, especially when the necessary feedback is directed toward our faculty colleagues. In most professional programs, communication expectations for students are outlined within general standards of professionalism; however, when clinical or didactic faculty members fall short in upholding these standards themselves, it is imperative that disability service providers address concerns through feedback in a supportive and educative manner. In this session, the presenter will lead focused conversations surrounding three key topical areas: 1) promising techniques in addressing communication concerns and providing feedback to faculty in a productive manner, 2) the fundamental elements of establishing partnerships between disability offices and instructors, and how strong relationships can create an environment conducive to providing feedback, and 3) the importance of creating communication standards for disability services offices working directly with professional programs. Although this session’s topical areas and examples are rooted in working with Medical/Health Sciences programs, the principles will be transferable to a Disability Resource Office’s work with other types of professional departments/programs as well.

3.2: The Things They Bring: Accommodations Abroad

Justin Harford, National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange

When individuals with disabilities study abroad they bring some of their reasonable accommodations with them. Does that service animal have the right documentation to go to Europe? Will there be repair services for that power wheelchair? Are those medications available? Are they legal? These require a few extra steps that students and Access practitioners should know. Learn how to keep your students healthy, on the move and out of jail with the tips that specialists from the Department of State-funded National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange will share.

3.3: Meeting Faculty in their Domain: Collaboration Tips and Techniques for Increasing Accessibility within the Classroom

Michelle Shaw, Florida Atlantic University
Craig Levins, Broward College

As we approach the 15th anniversary of the ADAAA of 2008, educational opportunities for disabled students, some of whom did not even qualify for college a few years ago, continues to increase. Along with these opportunities, increased challenges have arisen for which many faculty are ill prepared. In this presentation, professionals from a state university and a community college demonstrate how they successfully bridged this gap through collaborative interactive processes with faculty that increased access and accommodations while bolstering student success. We will share how these approaches have worked through both 4-year and 2-year systems, while meeting the individual needs of these very different institutions of higher learning. The presentation will conclude with special focus on the collaborative approaches used to proactively increase accessible course content within two different course management systems.

3.4: It Is Not My Lack of Ability, It IS Your Lack of Accessibility

LaTisha Cole (ORCID iD),Diary Of A Mad Black Teacher, LLC

This session provides participants a deeper understanding of the obstacles and challenges students with disabilities, and specifically those who belong to multiple marginalized groups, experience when accessing accommodations at colleges and universities. Participants will gain understanding of these challenges, why they exist, and how to remove obstacles to improve graduation rates for disabled students. Attendees will leave empowered, encouraged, and equipped with simple systems and communication strategies that allow accessibility to higher education to be a safe, welcoming, and stress-free process for their students. Participants will leave with personal goals and learning community action items that are designed to increase the academic success and future outcomes for students with disabilities. 

3.5: Small Offices, Big Results: Creating a Mutual Support Network That Bridged Gaps in Services at Separate Colleges 

Clair Harris, Ringling College of Art and Design
Marra Piazza Brass, University of South Florida

Feeling alone in a small or one-person office? We were, too, so we became long distance mutual support, and in the process we created a template for others. In this session, we'll share our collaboration model and how we used co-created content to eliminate barriers in providing services and information for students, staff, and faculty at both institutions. On a broader scale, our small group of local institutions became the model for developing collaborative opportunities for all institutions engaged with our state AHEAD organization. We will describe our journey from meeting local colleagues to expanding our network, and how that led to an alliance between two small disability.

3.6: Speaking of Creative Solutions: Facilitating Access to Public Speaking and Vocal Participation

Margaret Camp, Clemson University
Jennifer Murchison, University of Memphis

Public speaking and vocal participation accommodations are requested more frequently, as we see more students with speech and language disorders entering college, as well as students with high performance anxiety. DS advocates are exploring creative solutions to address areas of inaccessibility in classes that rely on interactions, presentations, speeches, and class engagement. We will highlight some Public Speaking faculty who have implemented creative accommodations and show video that captures their experiences and innovative suggestions.

3.7: AHEAD to the Future:  A Discussion of AHEAD’s New Foundational Documents

Adam Lalor, Landmark College
Sally Scott, AHEAD
Enjie Hall, University of Toledo
Lyman Dukes, University of South Florida

AHEAD is the leading professional association for postsecondary disability resource professionals and other campus leaders who champion access and inclusion for disabled individuals. For roughly 25 years, three documents have guided these professionals as they work to create accessible, equitable, and inclusive campus environments: the AHEAD Program Standards, Professional Standards, and Code of Ethics. This session will introduce revised versions of these foundational documents. Join us for a discussion of these new documents and to learn about how they were revised. Participants will engage in facilitated discussion about how these documents can be used to move the profession forward.

3.8: Sensory Lounges? Yes! Let's Do It!

Tina Vires, University of North Carolina - Greensboro
Megan Rutter, Kutztown University

So, you want to set up a sensory lounge on your campus. We'll discuss well established and new projects on different campuses and help attendees decide if establishing one would be a good fit at their locations. We are all aware that people on the autism spectrum often have hyper-sensory related triggers that can cause meltdowns (e.g., lots of noise and unable to filter) or that can create a sense of calmness (low lighting, soft sounds or quiet, fidget gadgets, sensory activities, etc.). We’ll explore how our constituents feel about these spaces. Attendees will also leave with plans to get started on their own sensory lounges.

3.9: Experiences of Students on the Facilitators and Barriers to Obtaining Mental Health Services and Other Supports While Transferring from a Two-Year to a Four-Year College

Susan McKelvey, Virginia Commonwealth University
Elizabeth Getzel, Virginia Commonwealth University

This session will discuss the implementation of a survey research study that focused on college transfer students who identified as experiencing anxiety, nervousness, depression or sadness. The purpose of the study was to collect and disseminate data and analysis that will increase knowledge of and practices for reducing mental health barriers to degree attainment among first-generation, underserved, low socioeconomic status (SES) community college transfer students in Virginia. The survey sought to obtain information on the facilitators and barriers to obtaining mental health services and supports, as well as other supports needed during this process of entering a new educational environment. Participants were community college transfer students to four-year setting during the 2021 academic year. The survey methods and results will be discussed, along with recommendations made by the research team to Virginia’s state council of higher education.  

3.10: The Dynamics of Learning Independence: Strategies to Empower Disabled Students

Katherine Hamilton, Glean
Spencer Scruggs (ORCID iD), Trinity University

‘Learned helplessness’ is the natural enemy of learning independence for students with disabilities. In a survey of disability services by the Note Taking Support Network, 59% of 100 respondents stated that they would prioritize accommodation options based on student requests, but a further 66% acknowledged that this often was not in the interest of learning independence. Join us to explore how learning independence can be embedded as a goal into our approach to technology, accommodations, and disability support. We will start by sharing varied research around the relationship between independence and identity, advocacy, and adoption. Next, we will consider Trinity University’s approach to capitalizing on the individual’s consideration process and investment in skills-building. Ultimately, our discussion will challenge how we help inspire students to look beyond the need for an accommodation and towards taking ownership with learning independence.

3.11: Virtual Coaching for Newly Registered Students with Disabilities

Amy Williams, University of North Florida
India Hamilton, University of North Florida
Tara Rowe, University of North Florida

With looming budget cuts and limited access to resources on campus, students with disabilities are increasingly at risk in higher education. This presentation session will discuss how existing mentoring programs have evolved to address virtual needs and new mentoring programs have been developed during remote instruction to address needs of students with disabilities. Presentation will discuss program development, mentor training and recruitment, structure of supports offered to students and addressing crises/unplanned issues and offer practical resources for session attendees to take back to home institutions. Presenters will share development experiences as well as curriculum to support learners with disabilities.

Back to Top

Block 4: THURSDAY, JULY 21, 4:00 – 5:30 pm

4.1: Trending Tech Tools - 2022 Edition: What’s New, What’s Improved & What’s on the Horizon for Assistive Technology & Accessibility Tools

Rachel Kruzel, Texthelp

Developments and updates to the fields of assistive technology and accessibility are constant. With continuous innovation, and proactive and reactive development as the result of user feedback and situations impacting our field, companies are moving the needle on the definition of access and inclusion. However, staying in-the-know on all that goes on in the technology field is a challenge. This session will compile some of the latest changes, updates, and developments in the assistive technology and accessibility fields. The session will begin with a recap of key changes in these fields followed by important updates and developments with software and tools. Commonly known technology tools and companies, as well as new ones entering this space, will be featured. Finally, topics on the horizon that will likely impact our field in the coming months will be discussed. This popular session is one that will give attendees the most important updates to these fields and leave them with resources, information, and new tools to support their work with students or more widely on campus. 

4.2: Intersections Impacting Two-Year and Community College Students; Embracing Strengths, Combating Challenges

Michelle Mitchell, Lehigh Carbon Community College
Everett Deibler, Lehigh Carbon Community College

Come share your perspective in a facilitated discussion on intersectionality and how it impacts students at two-year and community colleges. You will be guided through an experience full of group activities, where we will examine what makes community and two-year college students different from our four-year counterparts; how does the presence of open enrollment impact the environment of a community college; are our populations really that different? As we work through these and many other topics, let’s explore together uncovering the strengths and challenges of our populations and developing personalized strategies for positive change at our institutions, while networking with like-minded individuals to build a network of support.

4.3: Leave of Absence Practices & Policies: Promoting Parity & Positive Mental Health

Courtney Joly-Lowdermilk, Boston University

As the global pandemic surged in 2020, so did the number of college students considering and taking leaves of absence from higher education. In the last year there was a marked decline in the rate of first-year persistence, a significant indicator of completion. Boston University’s Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, in partnership with the Ruderman Family Foundation, responded with the release of two first-of-their-kind Leave of Absence Guides. A practical resource for students and campus leadership, these innovative guides provide helpful frameworks and invite critical conversations about supporting meaningful, health-promoting leaves of absence, successful returns to school, and equitable, student-centered practices and policies for all that uphold the values of justice, access, and parity across all types of leaves. Presenters, co-authors of the guides, will describe the guides’ content, background, and the principles underlying them and review key recommendations for campus administrators, staff, & faculty. Attendees will receive copies of both guides as well as workshop opportunities for campus or organizational implementation and utilization.

4.4: Building Capacity for Sustainability: A Centralized Operational Model for ASL/English Interpreting and CART Services

Katherine Vance, University of Cincinnati

Colleges and universities have long operated American Sign Language (ASL)/English interpreting and speech-to-text services (Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART), C-Print, etc.) in a decentralized capacity, which has generated barriers to access for deaf students, employees, and visitors; duplicated efforts and resources; created legal ramifications due to lack of expertise; and created service inefficiencies. The adoption of centralized operations builds capacity for sustainability and leads to institutional growth of the disabled population. In early 2018, our institution adopted a centralized operational model which has led to increased business efficiencies, a reduction in barriers for deaf employees, and increased campus-wide access to programming and events. This presentation will review how the institution implemented such an operational model. Participants will identify key stakeholders in establishing a centralized model, critical data points to leverage when submitting a proposal to gain buy-in from senior leadership, and identify current barriers to adopting a centralized model.  

4.5: Quality Indicators for Guiding Systems Change in Higher Ed Digital Accessibility

Cynthia Curry, CAST, Inc., National Center on Accessible Educational Materials
Carolyn Phillips, Georgia Tech
Rob Carr, WebAIM
Joanne Benica, University of Southern Maine

Based on the volume of related civil rights complaints brought forth by disabled students and disability advocates over the past decade, inaccessible course content and instructional technologies undeniably contribute to disparities in higher ed outcomes for students with disabilities. Vetted by experts in higher ed technology accessibility, the National AEM Center’s Quality Indicators with Critical Components for Higher Ed assist institutions with planning, implementing, and evaluating systems for providing accessible materials and technologies for all students. In this session, participants will be led through activities that demonstrate how the Quality Indicators can be implemented by their institutions. Strategies will be introduced for developing cross-functional leadership; identifying roles and responsibilities of administrators, faculty, and staff; improving policies and guidelines; providing training and technical assistance; collecting and using data for continuous improvement; and allocating resources. Perspectives and recommendations will be provided on how to use the Quality Indicators to educate institutional leadership on the cross-cutting effort required to create a coordinated system for providing accessible materials and technologies.

4.6: Coaching and Supporting Students With TBI: Perspectives From a Provider, Researcher, and Survivor

Emily Tarconish, The University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign

This session will present strategies and tools to help students experiencing TBI enhance their learning while they also manage a variety of symptoms. TBI can cause vast symptoms that affect cognitive, emotional, behavioral, physical, and self-awareness abilities; this session will provide an overview of these experiences, and will present accommodations, coaching strategies, and other tools, including assistive technology, to assist students with these challenges. The presenter will discuss this content from her perspective as a researcher, former disability services provider, and survivor of a severe TBI herself.  

4.7: The Equity Office as a Partner - How to Increase Student Access and Effectuate Disability Compliance

Emily Babb, University of Denver
Catherine Spear, University of Southern California
Olabisi Okubadejo, Georgetown University

Three former U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) attorneys who have transitioned to higher education institutions, will bring together their experience investigating OCR complaints and now leading civil rights and equity offices at private and public institutions. With a focus on how civil rights compliance offices partner with disability services offices, human resources, and student affairs to provide timely and effective response, the presenters will discuss their experience drafting University policies to address disability discrimination, how they have proactively partnered with disability services offices to train faculty and students, and how to effectively collaborate and support students who may have experienced discrimination. 

4.8: Disability and Critical Race Theory: How DisCrit Helps Disability Professionals Change Higher Education

Vivian Hardison, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

CRT in the K-12 setting has recently been covered extensively in the media, however CRT is mostly taught and applied in higher education due to its complexity. Disability and CRT (DisCrit) explores intersecting identities, and for disability offices it can serve as a framework in changing the dynamic of higher education and how it approaches marginalized groups. In this presentation, we will explore what barriers can be removed when applying DisCrit and how leading with this theory creates a more open and accessible space for students, faculty, staff, and the community. Though uncomfortable, it addresses how higher education institutions have largely been framed to serve the haves and create barriers for the have nots. Applying DisCrit can fundamentally change a system and allow for an institution to own its history and openly challenge and commit itself to systematic change.

4.9: Living Learning Communities and Students with ASD: Increasing Campus Engagement

Amy Lorenz, University of North Florida
Tasha Toombs, University of North Florida
Tara Rowe, University of North Florida

Living on campus can provide additional opportunities for students to engage in campus culture. However, for students with ASD, living on campus can present significant challenges which can lead to isolation, depression, anxiety, and behavior concerns. Transition to Health, Resources, Independence, Vocation, and Education (THRIVE) is a cost-free supplemental support program offered to students with ASD. With the support of peer-mentors, program structure, and overall program support, THRIVE students are able to fully engage on campus with neurotypical peers. This session will discuss program history, history of partnership between THRIVE program and housing and residence life, and development of THRIVE LLC. We will provide opportunities for audience participation with questions, feedback, and small group discussion opportunities for participants to share current institution challenges and experiences as well as opportunities to connect with other professionals regarding students with disabilities and housing and residence life.

4.10: What's Next For Me? Disability Professional Careers Beyond the Disability Office

Enjie Hall, University of Toledo
Eugene Chelberg, San Francisco State University
Amanda Kraus, University of Arizona
Tom Thompson, TMLS Consulting
Jill Sieben-Schneider, Northwestern University

The disability office has sometimes been described as a "career cul-de-sac"--it seems like the options for the next role in the career journey of an office Director can be limited. This session seeks to explore options for those interested in expanding their future employment scope beyond leading a disability office. Join a panel of professionals who have taken on new roles in this field. Learn about their journey, what they did to prepare for new opportunities, and recommendations they have for career pathing. How do they view themselves as leaders and what do they do to influence advancing accessibility on campuses and beyond?

4.11: Employment During and After College: Research Briefs

Several research briefs on the topic of Internships and employment will be presented.

a. Effects of Training Inclusive Higher Education Staff: A Study

Jaclyn Camden, Virginia Commonwealth University- RRTC on Employment of Transition-Age Youth with Disabilities
Aliza Lambert, Virginia Commonwealth University- RRTC on Employment of Transition-Age Youth with Disabilities

This research session will focus on one study currently being that examines the effects of implementing an online course, coupled with technical assistance for personnel providing employment supports in higher education for students with I/DD.

b. Career Preparation and Accommodation Experiences of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Postsecondary Students in a Summer Employment Internship

Pamela Luft (ORCID iD), Kent State University

This study presents data from a qualitative study of 10 deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) postsecondary students employed for a summer internship to identify their experience of barriers and facilitative factors and to identify themes across their internship experiences.

c. Student Ratings of Internship Program: Influence on Self-determination

Allison Fleming, Penn State University
Celine Kristoff, Penn State University

This session will describe a study undertaken to understand changes in self-determination for students with disabilities who participated in an internship program. Issues of internship quality, remote versus onsite format, and changes in self-determination will be explored. Implications for student affairs personnel, particularly those working with college students who identify with a disability, will be discussed.

Back to Top

Block 5: FRIDAY, JULY 22, 9:00 – 10:30 am

5.1: Implementation Science: Effective Strategies, Processes, and Resources to Support Assistive Technology Implementation or Accessibility Initiatives Campuswide

Rachel Kruzel, Texthelp

This session will discuss Implementation Science, the process of adoption and implementation of assistive/educational technology or campuswide accessibility initiatives, as it applies to technological adoption through a Universal Design for Learning framework or an institutional accessibility initiative. Some of our time together will be spent discussing implementation of campus initiatives: successes, challenges, and lessons learned. All professionals are welcome and encouraged to attend this session whether you have initiatives in place, on the horizon, or have yet to be determined. Strategies, framework, theories, and skills discussed will benefit any professional in our field now or in the future as you roll out strategic initiatives and change. Come with ideas, an openness to share, and readiness to collaborate!

5.2: From Words to Action: A Mentoring Program Geared Toward Black, Neurodivergent College Students

Adam Lalor, Landmark College
Kelly O'Ryan, Landmark College
Marc Thurman, Landmark College

In recent years, greater attention has been paid to understanding the experiences of disabled students with a variety of intersecting identities. Although discussion is important, action must be taken to enhance opportunities for success and belonging for these diverse students. Unfortunately, research indicates that students of color and neurodivergent students (i.e., those with learning disabilities, ADHD, and/or autism) both have lower persistence rates placing Black neurodivergent students at even greater risk for dropping out of college. This session will explore some of the unique barriers facing this underexplored cohort of students and introduce an innovative program geared at improving transition and sense of belonging for Black neurodivergent students. Join us for a discussion of this novel program and learn how you can develop a similar program on your campus.

5.3: Building Future Leaders: Professional Development Opportunities for Our Student Workers

Jewls Griesmeyer Krentz (ORCID iD), Linfield University
RT Tougas, Portland State University

Student workers are absolutely essential in our efforts to provide bridges to accessibility for our disabled students. However, they could also be integral in building greater, proactive equity in the future. Our student workers do work, but they are students first. It is our job to make sure that their work with our offices also provides an opportunity for their development as future leaders. This presentation will offer attendees concrete suggestions for building professional development opportunities into the framework of student jobs. Topics covered will include applying anti-ableism and anti-racist concepts, trauma informed practices, and equitable organizational leadership principles. We will discuss a year-long, progressive plan for a three-part series of student worker retreats. Participants will also have the opportunity to work on their own plan for student worker professional development. Each participant will leave with at least one concrete idea to provide social-justice driven professional development for their student workers.

5.4: Discussion and Collaboration on Accommodating Students with Sensory Disabilities Since COVID

Ann Fredricksen, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Tina Cowsert, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Media and materials are used in diverse settings and ways within each course, therefore accommodations are not always straightforward. Making sure the individual needs of each student are met can take some brainstorming and cooperation between staff members, as well as teaching staff. The Access Specialist/Coordinator for Live Captioning and Interpreting and the Coordinator for Accessible Media Services will describe how they handle the complex accommodation requests that students with sensory disabilities sometimes encounter, and how COVID and the pandemic had a large impact on services for students with sensory disabilities. Learn what services and software are working best for us and our student population, as well as discuss with your fellow colleagues to learn about their unique ways to overcome barriers on their campuses.

5.5: Examining NonDisabled Privilege in Disability and Higher Education

Melanie Thornton, University of Arkansas

The majority of respondents to the 2020 Biennial AHEAD Survey reported being nondisabled. Assuming this accurately reflects our profession, our field continues to be dominated by people who experience nondisabled privilege. When we look at the work we do through a social justice lens, we recognize that this is a very different dynamic than we would likely find in professional work that addresses other types of marginalization and discrimination. This places us, as a profession, in a challenging position. It requires a very intentional strategy for avoiding the perpetuation of nondisabled people having power over Disabled people. It requires a stance of cultural humility which, as defined by Trevalon and Murray-Garcia includes “a life-long process of self-reflection, self-critique, continual assessment of power imbalances." In this session, we'll define nondisabled privilege, consider the history of our profession and the ways it has perpetuated marginalization and oppression, examine our own nondisabled privilege, and explore ways we can use our privilege to create more equitable environments. The target audience for this session is nondisabled professionals but the voices of our Disabled colleagues are invited and welcomed!

5.6: AHEAD FAILCON: Preparing For Your Next Mistake

Margaret Camp, Clemson University
Chester Goad, Tennessee Tech University

As our offices evolve with new generations, new technologies, and ever-changing campus cultures, innovation is necessary but often stifled by fear of failure. We can practice resilience and leverage growth through mistakes. As mentors, we can support students as they experience their own failures by modelling confidence and persistence. In this session, attendees will learn new perspectives on failure and new practices to reconceptualize the role failure plays in integrity and success. 

5.7: Campus Police and Students with Disabilities: Collaborative Opportunities for Interacting with Law Enforcement

Deborah Reed, University of North Florida
Kathleen Halstead, University of North Florida
Andrea Adams-Manning, University of North Florida
Tara Rowe, University of North Florida

As more students with disabilities attend higher education, campus administrators and staff struggle to access population-specific resources and training. For students with ASD, interacting with campus police can be stressful and may lead to further misconceptions of law enforcement, causing further strain on student expectations on campus. Through Student Accessibility Services, intentional collaborations between campus police, dean of students, and disability service staff have provided important training resources for professional development as well as increased opportunities for law enforcement to interact with students during onboarding processes.

5.8: From Research to Practice: Developing Successful Postsecondary Education Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities

Janice Seabrooks-Blackmore, University of Central Florida
Iris Neil, University of Central Florida
Craig Levins, Broward College
Aimee Stubbs, Broward College

There is an increasing number of students graduating from high school with intellectual and other developmental disabilities who desire to continue their education in higher education. During this presentation, a state-funded IHE center for students with intellectual disabilities and a college Comprehensive Transition Programs (CTP) program will share how to initiate the discussion of creating a CTP with institution leadership, developing a cross-functional team, identifying community partners to create a credential program that meets the workforce needs of the community and student interest. This presentation will cover the essential components needed to implement a CTP. A major feature will be one college sharing how it worked with the state organization from initial to final steps to becoming a CTP. Scenarios will be shared of how all types of IHEs (technical colleges, private and public colleges and universities) use a capacity building model to extend research to practice in program development, implementation, and evaluation. 

5.9: Structuring Your Office to Meet Your Student Needs: Exploring the College Model, Liaison Model, and other DS Office Organizational Structures

Courtney McGonagle, Florida Atlantic University
Grace Clifford, University of California, Los Angeles
Paul Harwell, Dartmouth College

Ensuring that disability office staff are adequately meeting the needs of students is a challenge shared by every office. Schools are approaching this with varying staffing and internal organization strategies. Some institutions have implemented a "college model," in which staff are assigned to work with students, faculty, and staff in specific academic programs. Others rely on designated liaisons in certain academic programs, who help implement some accommodations to the students enrolled in that program, in direct coordination with the disability office. Others have a designated individual in the office who is assigned to connect with certain student populations or campus services, such as veteran affairs, athletics, tutoring centers, or counseling centers. During this session, panelists will share their insights about the benefits and lessons learned regarding the models in use at their respective institutions and how they went about making a deliberate change in office structure to best serve their students.

5.10: Everything You Need to Know About Disability Law in 90 Minutes

Paul Grossman, Hastings School of Law

AHEAD's resident legal expert brings us this high-level summary of his always well-attended two-day seminar, Introduction to Disability Law. Created primarily for new professionals who want to get a brief, introductory understanding of the legal underpinnings of the field, this 90-minute session also makes a good refresher for more seasoned professionals on the fundamental legal principles we use in our daily work. If you are trying to decide whether or not to register for a future AHEAD two-day Introduction to Disability Law course taught by Axelrod, Grossman, and Vance, this will be a great way to get a sense for what is taught there, while walking away with the basics that you can apply to your work immediately.

5.11: AHEAD Talks: A Series of Short, Expert Talks on Multiple Topics

You’ve undoubtedly heard of TED Talks, and likely have seen some on YouTube, but have you ever seen an “AHEAD Talk”? Come hear AHEAD members present 10-15 minute, focused presentations on the following topics:

a. Intersectionality Matters: African Americans with Disabilities within Higher Education

Jalan Cunningham, University of Alabama at Birmingham

b. Access to Pathways: Implementing a Summer Autism Camp

Amanda Prewitt, Southwest Tennessee Community College
Courtney Gipson, Southwest Tennessee Community College

c. How to Advocate for Accessibility and Inclusivity as Part of Digital Transformation

Katherine Hamilton, Glean

d. Incorporating Mental Health and Coaching Services into the Disability Services Delivery Model

Brian Siemann, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

e. Accessibility in Digital Teaching and Learning Environments: Audio Description in Video-Based Higher Education Settings

Finnja Lüttmann (ORCID iD), Technical University Dortmund, Germany
Carsten Bender, Technical University Dortmund, Germany

Back to Top

Block 6: FRIDAY, JULY 22, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

CANCELLED - REPLACEMENT TBD 6.1: Critical Participation: Advancing Diversity and Innovation

Mitchell Jones, University of Cincinnati

We all know we’re supposed to promote Universal Design (for Learning; UDL) to promote accessibility and disability awareness on our campuses. We all have heard that we should include disabled people in our questionnaires and feedback surveys. But have you asked yourself “Who is doing the designing/developing/providing, who is doing the including, who is being included, and to what are they being included?” Critical Participation challenges us to critically question our current approach to designing accessible and inclusive spaces on our campuses so that Disabled People and Students are being included to a space that was built collaboratively with them, rather than a neurotypical space retrofitted for them. This session will teach crucial shortcomings of UD/L that preclude the full and equal participation of Disabled People and Students. Participants will observe a conceptual model that will assist them in developing programs, evaluating their current services/service delivery, and induce innovation in accessibility resources to meet the needs of not just Disabled People, but meet the needs of the many complex intersectional identities within their communities. 

6.2: Updates at ETS: New Teleassessment Guidance and Tips for Assisting Test Takers with Accommodation Requests

Robert Plienis, Educational Testing Service
Morgan Blisard, Educational Testing Service
Lori Muscat, Educational Testing Service

The Office of Disability Policy at Educational Testing Service (ETS) continues to progress in our on-going efforts to make the accommodations process less burdensome. This session will provide updates on two important topics: teleassessment and letters of support. This session will introduce and present an overview of the ETS Teleassessment Guidance, for when it is difficult for test takers to participate in an in-person evaluation. It has been formulated to assist evaluators in conducting teleassessments that are ethical and aligned with emerging best practices. The ETS Teleassessment Guidance also seeks to support test takers in being educated consumers by providing guidelines for what they should expect in a quality teleassessment. Second, the importance of providing supplemental information will be discussed, including letters of support from DS professionals and personal statements from test takers. As evaluators do not always provide the needed information, we strongly encourage test takers to submit letters of support and personal statements offering more information regarding current functional limitations and why the requested accommodations are necessary. Although these documents are considered supplemental information in our review process, they are frequently compelling and are an excellent source of information to fill in the gaps missing from the documentation from evaluators.    

6.3: Everything You've Wanted to Know As a New Disability Professional: Ask Us Anything!

Jennifer Murchison, University of Memphis
Daniel Nuss, University of the Pacific

Those new to the Disability Resources field sometimes need spaces in which to gather advice and verify understanding of best practices. In this session, two experienced disability professionals will facilitate discussions on any topics audience members are working through in their offices and at their institutions. This will be a participatory AMA ("ask me anything") style session, so bring all of the questions you were too shy to ask on the AHEAD Community discussion boards, and have some fun with fellow newcomers to the field!

6.4: Back to School: Opportunities and Challenges for Disabled DS Professionals as Students in the Classroom

David Thomas, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Tuition remission is one of the most common (and often most valuable) benefits afforded college and university employees, and staying in touch with our own student experience offers the added benefit of providing valuable insight for DS professionals. However, DS professionals who are disabled themselves are presented with a unique variety of personal, ethical, and legal concerns when it comes to actually taking classes at their own institution.  What do you do when HR processes are insufficient to determine academic accommodations? How do you navigate disclosure when your choices of whom to engage in the interactive process are limited to your DS colleagues, your supervisor, or those who report to you? How do you manage your dual relationship with faculty as DS professional for other students and as a student yourself? How do you manage the conflict of interest in providing services as a DS professional to other students in your class or program, especially if you’re a one-person office? This presentation will explore these questions as well as understand the role continuing to actively take courses can play in informing your professional practice.

6.5: After the Lockdown: The Perceptions, Experiences, and Real Time Decisions of Disability Resource Professionals Made to Support Disabled Students

Katherine Aquino, St. John’s University
Sally Scott, AHEAD

This session will present data collected from a national project exploring the experiences and perceptions of DRPs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, three distinct data collections - two survey data collections in May and December 2020 and one round of interviews in July 2021 - explored postsecondary disability support services. In addition to discussing major themes and implications, this session will also include the experiences of disability resource professionals from specific institutional settings, including community colleges and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). 

6.6: Contribution of Social Support and Networking to Career Confidence Levels of Postsecondary Interns with Physical and Sensory Disabilities

Pamela Luft (ORCID iD), Kent State University
Collin Meyer, Kent State University

This presentation will describe the methodology and results of a survey of the experiences of postsecondary students with physical disabilities in a summer internship, including results showing social supports and networking as significant predictors of career choice. The presenter will describe differences by disability, race/ethnicity and gender as they affected career preparation, confidence, and choice. The presenter will ask participants to compare their experiences, and identify strategies and research to improve program effectiveness.

6.7: Disability Services and Housing Services: A Powerful Team

Sarah Young, Catholic University

When it comes to student accommodations in housing, creating and implementing accommodations is a shared process between two offices with sometimes differing priorities. This session will offer a deep dive into the joint process for developing housing accommodations, and provide tips and guidance on how Disability offices and Housing offices can remain connected during stressful times to ensure students remain supported while also ensuring each office maintains its standards and practices.

6.8: Supporting Student Literacy: Using Recent Updates to a Reading and Writing Tech Tool with Students

Autumn Meade, Miami University of Ohio
Marc Callahan, Texthelp

To ensure equal access, it’s important that assistive technology tools can reach and interact with all the content in all the places students learn and work digitally. Hear how one university is using a common tech tool, Read&Write for Google Chrome and the PDF Reader, since it was rebuilt from the ground up over the past year. During this session, you'll learn how Miami University of Ohio is using the latest updates with students, to better understand how these literacy tools can be used in the common places students learn today: LMSs, on the web, and when reading PDFs. Attendees will go back to their campuses with knowledge about this tech update to better support students on their campuses. 

6.9: Neurodiversity, Autism Politics, and Language, a Brief Introduction

John Caldora, University of Kentucky

Autism remains a critical topic for disability services professionals, however, many have only scratched the surface of this deep issue. This session will approach autism from the paradigm of neurodiversity, including developing self-advocacy, the history and politics of the neurodiversity movement, and discrimination issues. The Presenter offers insights from his own challenges and experiences as a member of the Autism Spectrum and a Disability Services Professional.

6.10: Transitioning Disabled Students to College through Readiness Programming

Jennifer Biggers, University of California, Riverside

Programming can increase student engagement/participation, increase retention, and provide a sense of community. Participants will learn about various transition readiness programs or workshops they can offer to support new and returning disabled students as they transition to a college learning environment. Most importantly, with a toolkit of resources/templates, participants will have an opportunity to engage in conversation as to how they may modify/tailor these workshops to meet the needs of their students on their campuses. 

6.11: The LEAD and LEAD Español Classes at Boston University: A Model for Inclusive and Accessible Resilience-Skills Teaching

Sam Orsagh-Yentis, Boston University
Juan Leon Parra, Boston University

Attendees will learn how to offer a resiliency-building class in non-traditional formats from two academic coaches and instructors. Boston University’s LEAD BU class will be highlighted. The course will be dissected, and participants will discern how a class that offers students an opportunity to practice both academic and wellness skills in a supportive environment can foster resilience in college-age students. Materials from the traditional, in-person class will be displayed and dynamic exercises will be demonstrated. Then, the presenters will show how to provide these complex and experiential materials in accessible ways: online and in the first language of many of our students, Spanish. Participants will be exposed to reflections on accessibility, inclusivity, and justice in teaching and learning. The presenters will share insights about the students’ positive responses to LEAD class materials and the impact of offering them online and in Spanish.

Back to Top

Block 7: FRIDAY, JULY 22, 2:00 – 3:30 pm

7.1: “I’m Unlearning!” Applying Reflexivity to Higher Education Disability Services as a Tool for Supporting Students with Intersectional Identities

Morgan Strimel, George Mason University
Grace Francis, George Mason University
Jodi Duke, George Mason University

Although the higher education disability services field requires considerable use of professional judgment to make accommodation-related decisions, there is a lack of guidance on how to carry this out in day-to-day interactions with students. When drawing on personal and professional experiences, disability services professionals are directly guided by their own positionality, which is their collective identities and experiences, and therefore - for better or for worse - their biases as they determine accommodations for students with disabilities. To better understand these influencing identities and the role of positionality in the disability services profession, this presentation will share themes that emerged from thirteen semi-structured interviews with disability services professionals that focused on their perceptions of the relationship between their positionality and their work. Further, we will invite attendees to examine their own positionalities through an interactive activity where they will pinpoint influential aspects of their identities. This presentation will conclude with a large group discussion focused on the implications for practitioners in regard to seeing our own positionalities and their role in our work. In addition to discussing implications for practice with attendees, the presenters will guide the conversation around reflexivity, or consciously examining when and where our positionalities may influence our choices and interactions as disability services professionals. 

7.2: A Guiding Framework for Decision Making: A Three-Step Process for Simple to Complex Situations

Emily Helft, Landmark College
Paul Harwell, Dartmouth College

This presentation covers a three-step framework to decision making that is applicable to all DS professionals, from seasoned to new-to-the-field. It is designed to aid in a consistent process around request outcomes, whether the answer is a “yes” or a “no,” and whether the scenarios are simple or complex. It will include an overview of the foundations behind the approach, important angles to consider prior to use, description of the framework, and a brief overview of a values/goals matrix to further guide decision outcomes. While DS work is likely never to be fully black-and-white, this approach is designed to support DS professionals that prefer consistent and structured approaches to their work around accommodation decisions. Time will be reserved at the end for an attendee-provided scenario.

7.3: Becoming Disabled Leaders on Campus: How Disabled Students Learn Leadership Through The Work of Disabled Student Services Practitioners

Spencer Scruggs (ORCID iD), Trinity University
Enjie Hall, University of Toledo

Leadership learning can be described as the educational experiences of students in preparing them to be agents of social change during and after their time in college. Viewing leadership learning experiences from a socially constructed lens, we can understand that factors such as identity-formation, worldviews, and dominant and marginalized perspectives on what leadership means can all impact how students engage with leadership learning opportunities on their campuses, especially for disabled students. Reframing the work of a disability office as that of leadership education, by means of accommodation provision and ensuring access, practitioners become facilitators for possible leadership learning experiences for disabled students that empower the students to engage with the world and become agents of social change with their whole selves. This session explores the connection between leadership education and a disability office, specifically the role practitioners play in facilitating and supporting critical leadership learning experiences for disabled students.

7.4: Accessibility Services Case Management Model: Providing a Student-Centered, Goal-Oriented Process for Students with Disabilities

Beverly Neu Menassa, Dallas College
Keysha McCloud, Dallas College
Grenna Rollings, Dallas College

Our community college’s Accessibility Services Team watched throughout 2020 as our students with disabilities stopped out at a troublesome rate. We wondered, “How can we encourage and support our students when they return to campus?” We underwent a total reorganization during 2020-2021, which presented an opportunity for Student Services to change the landscape of support services for students in higher education. The Accessibility Services Leadership Team created a new service model: accommodation coordination housed within an overall case management philosophy of service. The presenters will provide an overview of how they are integrating Accessibility Services and case management strategies. They will engage the participants with case studies and encourage attendees to reflect on how they, too, can create a similar case management model at their institutions.

7.5: Building Inclusive Experiences for Deaf Students: Strategies for Strengthening Your College’s Capacity

Lauren "Lore" Kinast, National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes

In a survey conducted by the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes, a deaf student described their experience as “There has been no institutional interest in learning how to become more deaf-friendly. The attitude is one of begrudging tolerance at best.” Accommodations alone do not provide deaf students equitable access to the full college experience. Deaf students often have to navigate complex policies, procedures, and systemic structures to participate in all facets of college life. This session will focus on how to build an accessible and inclusive campus environment that does not require deaf students having to constantly assimilate into the campus culture with just accommodations. Participants will be provided with strategies to implement change on college campuses that cultivate accessibility and inclusion for diverse deaf people. 

CANCELLED - REPLACEMENT TBD - 7.6: Beyond Guidance: Practical Application of the 2012 AHEAD Documentation Recommendations

Aaron Pierson, Minneapolis Community and Technical College

Ten years on, the 2012 AHEAD document Supporting Accommodations Requests: Guidance on Documentation Practice is still mysterious to a lot of practitioners. We will demystify the document and show how it guided the changes made at Minneapolis Community and Technical College since 2017. Participants will be shown the criteria used for making the changes, the policy revisions, and the nuts and bolts of implementation. Case studies will allow participants to think though how they would approach accommodations decisions using student narrative as a primary source. Finally, we will see what the data have shown, and the types of pushback we received on the changes

7.7: Shaping the Future of Autistic Student Engagement

John Caldora, University of Kentucky

Autism remains a critical topic for disability services professionals. This session offers a comprehensive overview of the Autism Spectrum, beginning with an introduction to Autism from the pathology paradigm, including prevalence, symptoms, and current, best practice, intervention strategies for students in higher education, in both individual and group settings. We will then approach autism from the paradigm of Neurodiversity, including developing self-advocacy skills, the history and politics of the neurodiversity movement, and discrimination issues. Throughout the session, the presenter will offer insights from his own challenges and experiences as a member of the Autism Spectrum and a disability services professional responsible for coordinating neurodivergent services at a large public institution.

7.8: Doing the Work: Building Explicit Anti-Racism into the Practices of Your Disability Services Office

Jen Dugger Spalding, Portland State University
Stacie Taniguchi, Portland State University

The nationwide reckoning with white supremacy and racism in this country, brought about by the pandemic and murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmad Arbery has altered the course of many colleges and universities. However, we in Disability Services must reassess whether and how we have evolved to meet this ever-present need, integrating anti-racist practices into our work and centering the experiences of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) students with disabilities. The presenters will focus on the process that the Disability Resource Center at our university has gone through to begin and the specific work that has been done thus far. As James Baldwin was famously quoted, “Not everything that is faced can be changed but nothing can be changed until it is faced” and it is (beyond) the time that we in Disability Services face our ethical responsibilities to the wellbeing and retention of our students of color.

7.9: Models for Partnership: Occupational Therapy and Disability Resources

This session will consist of two presentations related to campus OT and disability work

a. Occupational Therapy Service to Support Unique Student Needs

Karen Keptner, Cleveland State University

Occupational therapy is a related service in both primary and secondary schools. However, as students progress to post-secondary studies the presence of occupational therapy is less prevalent as ‘disability’ takes on new meaning. As a faculty member who has designed an occupational therapy service on campus, I can personally attest to the value of OT within the student support team.  Since its inception, I get more and more outreach from different departments on campus – “how do we get OT for our students?” This presentation will provide student support staff and administrators with information about occupational therapy, services that can be provided, and help them conceptualize what an OT can do on their campus. A case study will explore the development of an occupational therapy service at Cleveland State University.  This service model includes credit-bearing courses designed and taught by occupational therapy faculty and practitioners, occupational therapy student service provision through practicum, and one-time workshops during key times of the semester.

b. An Integrated Support Model Utilizing a Credit-Bearing Skill Building Course

Karen Keptner, Cleveland State University
Grace Clifford, UCLA

institutions of higher education across the country have seen an increased need for on-campus case management services to support students in crisis. Cleveland State University used an innovative method to provide enhanced, holistic support for the most at-risk students, after realizing that meeting with students one-on-one through campus care management and/or disability services had become unsustainable. Through a collaboration with the occupational therapy program on campus, a credit-bearing course was designed based on occupational science and using the principles of occupational therapy. This session will provide the rationale for the course, the positive student outcomes tracked thus far, and details about the collaborations on campus that made this possible. In addition, we will provide details about the course so that it can be replicated by other institutions, such as content and grading system.

7.10: Research Briefs: Effective Student Supports

This session consists of several research briefs centered on the topic of student supports:

a. Triangulating Disability Staff, Faculty and Student Perceptions of Disability Services: Survey Findings and Recommendations

Alan Safer, California State University Long Beach
Lesley Farmer (ORCID iD), California State University Long Beach

As disability support centers (DSC) try to provide high quality service, data analytics seldom focuses on different stakeholders' perceptions -- and triangulating their responses -- as a means to make improvements. To this end, California State University Long Beach surveyed students who receive DCS services, faculty who provide accommodations to their students, and DSC staff about their experiences with DSC. Quantitative and qualitative data analytics were applied to reveal trends. The survey findings provided valuable insights for action: establishing a faculty-student-staff liaison committee and providing more training and resources for faculty, staff, and students. The session will conclude with recommendations to optimize survey development and administration, analysis, recommendations, and actionable planning and targeted interventions.

b. Becoming Self-Determined: Supporting College Students in Improving Their Self-Determination Skill

Patricia Violi, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Students with disabilities experience challenges in the transition from high school to college at higher rates than their non-disabled peers. They often enter colleges and universities across the country with low self-advocacy skills related to planning and organizing their daily lives on campus, which has led faculty and staff to recognize the need for more support services to help these students persist in their new environments. The Disability Office is often contacted to manage an issue that may be out of its scope. This presentation will discuss dissertation research that is aimed to support college students with disabilities in improving their self-determination skills to improve outcomes on campus and in their lives.

c. Trauma-Informed Accessibility Services for College Students with PTSD: Notes from a Focus Group Study

Amy Banko, Rutgers University
Brittany Stone, Rutgers University

PTSD in college students remains either underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed, resulting in inadequate or ineffective treatment and support services, which sometimes inadvertently lead to the re-traumatization of students. Without routine assessment and supplemental services targeted to address their unique needs, trauma can impact college students, leading to lifelong implications including lower rates of educational attainment, poorer vocational outcomes, and diminished Social Determinants of Health. Furthermore, the prevalence of trauma, such as race-based traumatic stress (RBTS), can disproportionately impact BIPOC students and their educational attainment. This session will explore key findings from a phenomenological qualitative study exploring the impact of trauma and PTSD on postsecondary students’ academic success. Functional academic implications of trauma, the corresponding barriers/ challenges, as well as student support strategies will be explored. Additionally, recommendations for the provision of trauma-informed Accessibility Services will be reviewed.

d. Perceptions of Anxiety and Speaking in Class Among Art and Design Students

Jenna Bradley, Moore College of Art and Design

Participating in class, often measured by speaking in class discussion, poses challenges for students who experience anxiety, particularly those students with social anxiety disorders. Assessing student work without inducing anxiety has posed a particular challenge in art and design classes, in which assessment primarily takes the forms of group critiques and presentations, rather than written tests and papers. This presentation aims to help college faculty and staff members better support art and design students who struggle with anxiety around speaking in class. This research study surveys art and design students to elicit their experiences of anxiety and perceptions of speaking in classroom settings in their own words. The qualitative data discussed in this presentation will allow audience members to compare their assumptions regarding art and design students’ anxiety about speaking in class to the experiences and perceptions of real students. The presentation will facilitate these comparisons by live polling the audience, then comparing the data sets. The audience will better understand the challenges facing art and design students regarding anxiety about speaking in class and be better prepared to support these students.

7.11: How to Design and Teach a Grant Writing Course for Students and Future Leaders in Higher Education Accessibility Positions

Cassandra Evans, CUNY School of Professional Studies

We know that delivering accessibility and accommodations are central to the work of disability offices, but how about finding money? An equitable, essential, and excellent skill for disability professionals is the ability to seek and secure more funding for myriad projects at Offices of Accessibility. This workshop highlights how to design and deliver a “grant writing for higher education programs” course on your campus. CUNY School of Professional Studies will showcase the grant writing course developed for their online Masters degree programs in Disability Services in Higher Education and Disability Studies. The course continues to have 100% enrollment and has grown to be one of the most popular elective courses in their programs. Attendees to this session will learn how to design a grant writing course, how to seek approval from curriculum committees and administrators, and how to run the course in a “scaffolded” manner. The program will also showcase the use of Blackboard Ally in determining whether the online LMS meets accessibility standards. This content is applicable for teaching face-to-face and online courses.

Back to Top

Block 8: FRIDAY, JULY 22, 4:00 – 5:30 pm

8.1: Equitable Access to Excellent Employment:  Promoting Inclusive Career Preparation for Students with Physical Disabilities“

David Parker, Gregory S. Fehribach Center
Larry Markle, Gregory S. Fehribach Center
Carlos Taylor, Gregory S. Fehribach Center

Disabled adults are 3 times less likely to be employed than nondisabled adults. A college degree begins to close this gap, but graduates with physical disabilities continue to report significant barriers to equitable employment after earning their diplomas. Prior work experience and effective career services can greatly enhance undergraduates’ preparation for meaningful careers with the skills and knowledge needed to self-advocate and advance in the workplace. The Gregory S. Fehribach Center partners with 2- and 4-year campuses and employers in Indiana to promote wider social justice for students with mobility, hearing, visual and orthopedic disabilities in their college-to-career trajectories. This session will describe what over 130 students have experienced in over 250 paid work internships matched to their college majors with 24 employers to date. The Center’s leaders will describe the Community of Practice (CoP) they facilitate with Disability Services and Career Services counterparts to foster evidence-based career development on four public and private campuses. The session will also highlight new research on the intersectionality of disability and employment conducted by members of the Center’s national Research Advisory Board.

8.2: Evaluating Requests for Remote Instruction: Are They Reasonable?

Jennifer Murchison, University of Memphis
Daniel Nuss, The University of the Pacific

Many disability professionals are facing increased requests for remote instruction as a reasonable accommodation request triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some requests relate to medical conditions and compromised immune systems, anxiety, the need to limit potential exposure for family care-giving responsibilities, etc. Does your institution have a policy in place to address these types of requests or does it fall on the disability-services office to evaluate as any other accommodation request? This presentation will explore policies, legal requirements and instructional factors that contribute to evaluating whether requests are reasonable.

8.3: Lessons Learned From a Collaborative Coaching Community of Practice

Patricia Violi, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Karen Toole, Syracuse University
Leisa Pickering, University of Kentucky
Tasha Chemel, Berklee College of Music
Michelle Koch, Moravian University

Coaching is the act of supporting people in increasing their functioning through the improvement of their cognitive, emotional, and behavioral self-regulation (Spence & Oades, 2011). Coaching allows the leader and participants to develop a connection that can help a student work through outside distractions that could hinder their path to becoming a self-determined individual. The coaching or mentor relationship that develops over time can be powerful in helping students with disabilities transition to the college environment and better understand the inner workings of a higher education institution. In this session, we will discuss our experience participating in the first AHEAD Coaching Community of Practice. We will also discuss the different models that were implemented at our respective institutions, to include various assessments and tools that are used to inform and evaluate our practice.  

8.4: Transformative Justice, Accountability Pods, and Conflict Responses in Disability Resource Practice

Cole Eskridge, Northern Arizona University

Conflict around institutional access and the harm resulting from a lack of options presented to students is an unfortunately common experience those working in the disability resource field must directly and indirectly engage with. The incorporation of transformative justice frames into our office cultures may provide new ways of practice and communication that will ways we engage with existent hierarchies and leverage wider community support; but first, we must normalize these practices among ourselves. This workshop will introduce participants to these principles and one of their more actionable tools - accountability pods. Together, our workshop community will spend time mapping out our own accountability networks, discussing their purpose and potential applications to our offices and campuses along the way.

8.5: Developing a Common, Shareable Accessibility Rubric for Educational Technology

Kelly Hermann, University of Phoenix
Andrea Deau, IMS Global Learning Consortium

This session introduces a collaboratively developed Accessibility Rubric to guide institutional leaders with entry-level vetting of your digital teaching and learning tools. To provide a toolkit for keeping up with the influx of new learning products, stakeholders across K-12, higher education, and edtech suppliers came together—leveraging expertise within the community that is often hidden or might not exist at their organizations. Get a better understanding of the expectations you should have when procuring tools for your digital ecosystem. We will share the outcomes of a pilot happening in Q1 2022 and discuss the potential for the rubric to influence the edtech market.

8.6: Disability Justice & Disabled Graduate Student Labor in Higher Education

Naty Rico, University of Arizona
Sav Schlauderaff, University of Arizona
Janelle Chu Capwell, University of Arizona

The field of Disability Resources often overlooks graduate students as a population also in need of accommodations and support. Moreover, graduate student positions offer low pay, scarce benefits, and extensive work expectations. This interactive session focuses on disabled graduate student labor, and will center the principles of Disability Justice (Sins Invalid, 2015) to reimagine support for disabled graduate students within higher education. Participants will become familiarized with the history of Disability Justice, how labor expectations for graduate students disproportionately impact marginalized graduate students, and how the construction of the “ideal” graduate student is rooted in ableism. Participants will reflect on their own experiences in higher education, and will work to collectively create an action plan to support disabled graduate students and push against ableist & capitalist labor expectations (Lewis, 2020). In our session, we will highlight the expectations, ableism, and exploitation that disabled graduate students experience and how Disability Justice can help DRCs adequately support this overlooked population. We aim to move the focus of accessibility beyond a “compliance” model toward a practice grounded in the principles of Disability Justice.

8.7: Students who are Blind/Visually Impaired: Experiences and Guidance for Higher Education Disability Offices

Kathleen DeNicola, Western Washington University
Enjie Hall, University of Toledo
Bernadetta King, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities

Due to the low-incidence nature of blindness/visual impairments, there can be a steep learning curve for those at colleges/universities who are tasked to coordinate access and accommodations for a student who is blind/visually impaired enrolled in courses. This presentation will guide disability resources professionals through how to begin seeking out resources that are designed to help support the student who is blind/visually impaired access the content being presented in their courses. Most importantly, hear the experiences of two students and their support services they received from a small college/university versus a large college/university. Hearing about their experiences will help professional teams recognize how to best utilize the resources available that can make the difference between success and failure for a student who is blind/visually impaired.

8.8: Shifting from Compliance to a Culture of Inclusion: 3 Step AP Approach to Disability Inclusion

Charnessa Warren, University of Chicago

Disability is the largest minoritized group in the United States, so why is it the least talked about group in diversity and inclusion efforts in higher education? How might we make disability inclusion more salient at our institutions? This session will introduce a three-step approach to systemically include disability and accessibility in higher education.  The presenters will share a customizable approach that disability service providers may utilize in partnership with other campus partners to begin the shift from disability compliance to a more inclusive culture. Attendees will be able to share best practices throughout the session.

8.9: The UK to the USA - Achieving Meaningful Inclusivity in Practice

Atif Choudhury, Diversity and Ability
Brian Lutchmiah, Diversity and Ability
Piers Wilkinson, Diversity and Ability

Diversity and Ability (D&A), a UK based disability rights social enterprise, will present this session with a focus on ensuring equity of opportunity and access to education for all and achieving sustainable participation across all learning pathways. The session will focus on three primary topics: (1) Setting the tone of leading inclusive culture change, which will compare and contrast practice across the UK and US to explore a framework for creating an environment that welcomes and includes everyone; (2) Embracing inclusivity in service design and delivery, which will describe how providers’ systems, practices and community access can span physical, virtual and academic spaces anticipatorily, using examples from D&A’s UK work creating inclusive campus environments; and (3) Exploring the importance of the student voice in inclusive design and how to foster meaningful consultation and utilise it to design an inclusive culture across campuses.

8.10: Building Health Science Expertise

Christine Low, Icahn School of Medicine
Grace Clifford, University of California, Los Angeles

Increasingly, graduate health science programs are hiring disability staff with specialized knowledge. This session will provide a template for developing expertise in health science programs. Disability specialists come to positions with varied backgrounds and may not have the knowledge specific to health science programs to effectively determine reasonable accommodations in these programs. Topics of discussion will include nuances of health science curriculums, such as consideration of the varied learning environments (didactic, lab, and clinical settings), progression requirements and board exams, and the role of program technical standards. Available resources will be highlighted throughout.

Back to Top

Conference Home Page

Registration Information

Planning Resources

Conference Program

Networking Events & Highlights

    Exhibitor Information