A Collective Case Study of Land-Grant Universities and Retention of Students with Learning Disabilities
LaRachelle Samuel-Smith Ph.D., Table SALT Group
This collective case study focused on leadership strategies and self-determination in college students with learning disabilities by examining the Southern region of the land-grant system. An HBCU and PWI were central to this study to fully understand the historical impact of leadership and policy. Individually and collectively, leadership strategies and unique perspectives on self-determination emerged from the collection of interviews, documents, and artifacts. The research findings in this case study fortify leadership strategies for higher education, affirm self-determination theory, and inform advocacy groups.
What We Know and How We Grow: Backgrounds of DSS Staff Members and Perspectives on Collaborative Engagement in Disability Offices
Sarah Young, Ed.D., Trinity Washington University
The make-up of postsecondary offices, specifically regarding the size, staff backgrounds, and institutional organization, contributes to the success of these offices and to the success of faculty, staff, and most importantly students. This poster investigates these aspects of disability offices in order to better understand how these professional offices and staff prepare themselves to support students with disabilities in postsecondary settings. It will also address how different backgrounds of disability office staff might sometimes create barriers in engagement and collaboration for the team, as well as ways to overcome these barriers. Building on these differences, we'll showcase how to position unique staff strengths and experiences to best support each other, as well as students. Recommendations for training and professional development will be included as well.
A Learning Garden For All
Patricia Kepler, M.A. Portland Community College
Miriam Latzer, M.A., Portland Community College
Jennifer Lucas B.S., Portland Community College
In this poster we will share the history of how two departments came together with the shared focus of creating a welcoming learning garden for people of all abilities. This poster will include a focus on improving or adding garden programs to your school with the help of community partners.
What's in a name? Exploring the Landscape and Impact of Naming Conventions for Disability Offices, Officers, and Roles
David Thomas Ph.D., M.A., West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Some of the most frequently asked questions on the AHEAD listserv are “What do you call your office?” and “What are the titles of your staff?” So, what is in a name? Following a comprehensive review and coding of the data available on all schools, colleges, and universities recognized through the U.S. Department of Education, trends emerged showing distinct patterns and common themes with regard to both the name of the office itself as well as its independence and the title of its Director-level role. This poster will explore the data, the trends which emerge upon closer analysis, and the information this provides us, which will be useful for consideration in decision-making around the impact of naming in disability offices, officers, and roles. The poster will include also include a case study implementing this data at the researcher's institution.
Directing the Impact of COVID: Strategies to Support Service Providers Supporting Students Receiving Accommodations
Terri Massie-Burrell Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University
A university disability services office shares how they worked together to create an effective workflow to appropriately serve students remotely by pivoting during the COVID-19 Pandemic and going forward. The value standard was managing self and others during an unprecedented stressful time. Sharing how lessons learned through this experience prepared to deal with urgent, unexpected circumstances while serving a diverse population of students with disabilities. We will share best practices for service delivery during an unexpected shift to online/ remote services and in-person classes. Strategies implemented on our initial day of teleworking with intentionality. SDS staff band together and strengthened relationships with campus partners that will forever add to our approach as student affairs professionals.
Cultivating an Inclusive Learning Environment: Assessment of Concussion Knowledge and Awareness among University Faculty and Staff
Rebekkah McLellan Ed.D., MPH, CHES, University of Lynchburg
Emily Brown, University of Lynchburg
The purpose of our study was to determine the level of concussion and academic accommodation knowledge and awareness of university faculty and academic staff. The current body of literature is lacking, and more often than not, institutions do not have clear return-to-learn protocols for students who have sustained or been diagnosed with a mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI)/concussion. In this poster, we share our survey methods, analysis, and recommendations for individuals in higher education, including but not limited to faculty, staff, and administration. The ultimate goal of this research is to create awareness surrounding the lack of understanding and accommodation for individuals with concussions on college campuses, create evidence-based programs, and advocate for policy change or implementation.
Mentoring Matters: A Promising Fellowship Model for College Students with Disabilities
Kristin Humphrey, M.P.A., Partners for Youth with Disabilities
The U.S. Department of Labor has recognized mentoring as one of the most important strategies for assisting youth in making a positive transition to adulthood. For 37 years, Partners for Youth with Disabilities has empowered youth with disabilities to reach their full potential by providing transformative mentoring programs, youth development opportunities, and inclusion expertise. PYD is home to the National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC) which aims to raise awareness about the importance and impact of mentoring in the lives of people with disabilities and to increase the number and quality of disability mentoring programs around the country. The poster will take a deep dive into the NDMC’s Dinah F.B. Cohen DREAM Fellowship Program as a promising model for college students with disabilities. Past projects will be featured, to highlight the fellowship structure and to gain knowledge from the contributions of past fellows.
Faculty Perceptions and Experiences Relating to Working with Online Students with Disabilities
Zoann Murphy, MPH, National University, ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9531-0938
Tara Lehan Ph.D., National University , ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9041-0553
Lisa St. Louis Ph.D., MEd, National University , ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3575-1026
Vera Dolan Ph.D., University of Toronto, ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3240-3598
Philips et al. (2012) found that 54% of online instructors at one brick-and-mortar university offering online courses reported that they either did not have or were not sure they had the knowledge, technology, and support to handle student requests for online accommodations. However, the extent to which their findings are institution-specific is unknown. The purpose of this research was to examine the perceptions and experiences of faculty members relating to working with students with disabilities at a completely online university. Several themes emerged, including (a) faculty member’s emotional experience, (b) requirement to comply with laws, (c) desire to promote equity, (d) more time and effort required, (e) need for more information, knowledge, and training, and (f) roles (of students, faculty, and the university). These themes will be included, as will implications for future faculty training, teaching practices, and research directions.
Motivating Expanded Learning Experiences for Inclusive Adult Learning Groups: the ARTS Instruction Model© in Action
Pamela Lindsay EdE/CI, University of Phoenix
Content for this poster will include an overview of original research including the perceptions of adult learners of intellectual disability (ID) who experienced the addition of a specific motivational model to an existing classroom instructional model targeting developmental skill-building. Attendees will learn about resultant themes involving perceived connections, support, and recognition as important factors in student motivation and sustainment of concept learning. The poster will also provide tools for providing innovative experiences for adult learners with ID who have not previously had equitable access to lifelong higher education options. Cross-over applications of learned strategies include tools for other applications such as staff training and living lab experiences. Recommendations present a guide for the addition of inclusive, collaborative instruction in existing course work and the development of collaborative programs on the college campus toward increasingly innovative, equitable, lifelong special higher education options for all members of the community.
Spectrum Living Learning Community: Addressing Barriers to Support for Students on the Spectrum
Joshua Page, Texas A&M University
The Spectrum Living Learning Community (LLC) is a non-fee-for-service program for autistic students living on campus at a large public research university. Founded in 2018, the service will be transitioning away from the LLC format in Fall 2023. The poster presentation will provide a retrospective on strengths and weaknesses of the program and how those will be addressed moving forward. We specifically explore the paradox of exclusion and inclusion in on-campus provisions for students with disabilities. The poster provides insight for AHEAD members interested in autism and support networks.
Reflections from a DSS Newbie: Could high school SpEd services inform DSS best practices for students with ASD?
Ronen Sebag MA, Utah State University
In my seventeen years of experience teaching and guiding high school students with mild disabilities, students with ASD usually required weekly guidance and support in at least two areas: 1) coaching and monitoring executive functioning skills, and 2) training with self-advocacy skills. These supports, among others, were usually written into the students’ IEPs. However, we know legal mandates shift from IDEA to ADA/504 at the college level. Yet, one of the aspects of DSS that has inspired me the most over the last few months in my current role is the leeway for expert judgment that DSS professionals have in making decisions, with the room we have to “think outside the box (of legal mandates).” This poster focuses on how we can adjust and fit at least some of what works well for students with ASD in high school into higher education and effectively transfer that to DSS practices.
The Dropout Cycle & Disability Support: The Impact of Refocusing on Learning Outcomes
Katherine Threadgold (nee Hamilton), Glean
More than 55% of students with disabilities will never finish their degree in the US. Studies show that the most common trigger for dropout in the first 2 years of college is what students learn about their academic performance. We call this the ‘dropout cycle’: as academic obstacles persist, performance declines, leading to lower self-confidence, poorer engagement, and soaring stress. For students with disabilities academic obstacles can be more acute, setting the cycle in motion at a faster pace. What if we could help break the dropout cycle? Working with 1200 students, we explored how refocusing on learning outcomes ahead of using a notetaking accommodation can help learners to identify common obstacles and strategies for effective learning.
Making Computer Labs Accessible to Students with Disabilities: An Accessibility Checklist
Lyla Crawford, DO-IT, University of Washington
When it comes to a department of computer science, computer engineering, or information technology, the vision is simply equal access. Everyone who qualifies to take courses within your department and anyone who is qualified to teach them should be able to do so. AccessComputing’s Accessibility Checklist can help guide faculty and administrators in making their computing department more accessible.
Building Community: Collaborating with Students to (Re)Create a Disability Support Group
Matthew Hoekstra, University of Minnesota, Morris
Elissa Harris, University of Minnesota, Morris
This poster will provide an example of our experience with the (re)creation of a student club/organization that began to support and normalize the experience of students with disabilities. We will identify the challenges we faced, the steps we took, the lessons we learned, and the perspectives of the students involved.
Understanding Transitions for Disabled Students from Secondary to Post-Secondary Education Using Ecological Systems Theory
Rachel Sheppard, MA, Brock University
This poster will examine the barriers disabled students face when accessing higher education from secondary to post-secondary and discuss recommendations to combat barriers in transition planning. Transition planning is essential for disabled students to access accommodations in higher education. Recent changes have been proposed by the Government of Ontario in Canada to improve transitions for disabled students by working to remove barriers (Government of Ontario, 2021). This poster will examine the recommendations from the Government of Ontario’s proposal, along with literature on a systems approach to transition planning, this mixed-methods explanatory sequential design research aims to understand disabled students' experiences of transition planning from secondary to post-secondary education and if disabled students believe the recommendations proposed will sufficiently reduce barriers in students’ transitions. This poster will outline themes from the results of the research and recommendations students believe would assist them in transition planning.
Perception of Universal Design of Learning in Online Higher Education
Amanda Bailey BEd, M.ADS, Brock University
The application and analysis of online education has been growing in higher education (Gasevic et al., 2015). The students with disabilities (SWD) population face unique challenges in online education and transiting to online education has changed these challenges (Mullins & Mitchell, 2022). One inclusive education paradigm, Universal Design for Learning (UDL) has been found to be the best practice for inclusive learning in contemporary education (CAST, 2018). Further research is necessary to address the use and barriers of UDL in online higher education (Fleet & Kondrashov, 2019). Through the analysis of virtual focus groups, this poster aims to explore faculty members' and SWD perspectives and previous experience with UDL in online higher education. Additionally, the barriers SWD and faculty members face when using and implementing the UDL guidelines will be discussed. Concrete recommendations for creating an inclusive online learning environment will be shared.
College to Career: Preparing Students to go from the Classroom to the Workplace
Allison Frees-Williams, M.S., University of Illinois
The University of Illinois is one of the few Disability Resources with its own Career Services offices. We have developed a 4-year plan to prepare students to enter the workforce and be confident in knowing what they need and how to ask for it. This poster will highlight some of the topics we cover each year when working with students that are registered for our services.
STEM Tactile Support for Students who are Blind/Visually Impaired
Kevin Beato Ed.M., Niagara County Community College
Mark Voisinet M.S., Niagara County Community College
This poster will describe how the disability office at a community college worked alongside campus faculty and staff to provide a comprehensive and supportive learning environment for students who are blind or have low vision to complete their Human Biology requirement. Presenters will showcase the multi-faceted learning environment of tools and resources utilized initially in Spring 2022 to provide students with equal access.
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