2024 Concurrent Sessions

Wednesday, July 17

Thursday, July 18

Friday, July 19

Block 1: WEDNESDAY, JULY 17, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

1.01: Legal Year in Review

Paul Grossman J.D., Executive Counsel of AHEAD, and OCR and Hastings College of Law, retired. 
Jo Anne Simon J.D., New York State Assembly
AHEAD’s legal experts will analyze court cases and OCR letters from the past year of great significance to AHEAD members. 

1.02: Disability Inclusion and Intersectionality

Keri Grey, The Named Advocates

Between COVID-19, racial tensions, and rising work expectations, disability and mental health awareness with organizational leaders is more important than ever. This session addresses the relationship between race and disability and establishes a common language around intersectionality. You will walk away with insights into cultivating programs, practices, and building an organizational culture that is grounded in racial justice, disability justice, and inclusion. Expected learning outcomes include:
  • Gain awareness on the interconnected nature of disability and race.
  • Identify what limits trust and belonging on a team.
  • Understand the importance of intersectional efforts across your organization.

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Block 2: WEDNESDAY, JULY 17, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

2.01: The New Title II Digital Access Regulations: What Institutions Should Know

Mary Lou Mobley J.D., U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
Judith Tisch J.D., Ph.D., U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
The Title II regulations regarding digital accessibility are expected to be amended this spring, with broad implications for public higher education institutions. Seasoned OCR attorneys will explain the implications of the updates, including where they apply, what will be required, and the applicable timelines. Time for Q&A will be reserved. In the event Title II has not yet been amended by the time of the conference, the OCR attorneys will discuss the current state of digital accessibility law.

2.02: "What's my role again?" Exploring the Role of Disability Service Providers

Ashley Ciccolini Erickson M.Ed, Florida Atlantic University 
Courtney McGonagle M.Ed, Florida Atlantic University
What is our role as disability service providers in the college setting? The transition from secondary to post-secondary education can be a challenge for both students and parents and can require a change in perspective. This presentation will discuss what our role is as disability service providers and how to frame this to students and parents.  We will examine the difference between the IDEA and Section 504/ADA, and how this relates to our work with students. This conversation is beneficial to all, but particularly to those new to the field or coming from working with disabilities in a secondary education setting.

2.03: How to NOT Feel So Alone: Maximizing Community Partnerships

Michelle Mitchell M.Ed., Lehigh Carbon Community College
Jennifer Osinski M.Ed., M.S., Buck County Community College
Join two seasoned community college professionals as we guide you through a number of interactive activities exploring the various benefits of internal, community, and state partnerships. It is our goal that by the end of this presentation, you will have a number of ideas and tools to help you not feel so alone in the work you do. Whether you are in an office of one or 10, you will find this information to be useful in the connections to be made and the social capital to gain, not to mention the benefits to your students. We will be utilizing interactive polls along with small group discussions to help guide you on your journey. Connection is key to not feeling alone, so join us as we dig into this interactive presentation, together.

2.04: Creating a Grassroots Statewide Coalition for Disability: Lessons Learned from Virginia

Korey Singleton Ph.D., George Mason University
Barbara Zunder, University of Virginia
Finding connections and collaborations across different types of institutions, state agencies, and even in the K-12 system can be difficult for any one person to navigate. In 2018, colleagues from around Virginia created a statewide coalition, eventually known as the Virginia Higher Education Accessibility Partners (VHEAP), to collaborate on broad accessibility-related topics. This grassroots effort has led to rich collaborations on different state-wide accessibility efforts. VHEAP’s focus is on offering shared opportunities for those who are tasked with improving access to information and communications technology resources, those who focus on the built environment, and those who provide services for Virginians with disabilities. Our membership is comprised of individuals in higher education, public school systems, and executive branch offices reporting to the Governor. Join a panel of colleagues from UVA, George Mason and Virginia Tech as they discuss how VHEAP was formed and lessons learned along the way.

2.05: Streamlining Office Processes: Reducing Student Barriers and Staff Burnout Under the Social Model

Julia Marcus Johnson PhD, University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus
Daryn Christenson, University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus
Rachel Anderson MA, University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus
The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Disability Resource Center (DRC) partners with students, faculty, staff, and guests of the University to facilitate accessibility and reduce barriers on campus to improve access for disabled people. In the fall of 2021, the wait to register with our office was up to 12 weeks. This wait was not serving students and was contributing to burnout in staff. A work team reimagined the process used by students to register with the DRC to be more sustainable for staff and students alike. This resulted in a significant decrease in wait time over the next two academic years as well as positive feedback from both students and staff. We will discuss how we utilized shared equity leadership to streamline processes, while honoring the social model of disability, to overhaul and expand options for how students engage with our office. 

2.06: Global and Mobile: Building Access Into Study Abroad Programs

Laurie Laird, Mobility International USA
Justin Harford, Mobility International USA

Students with disabilities, like students of color, first generation students, and others, have historically been under-represented in international education programs. This session will focus on the techniques that universities have developed to enhance support for exchange participants with disabilities to narrow the participation gap in international education. A panel of disability and international education professionals will share their winning strategies for collaboration in higher education to increase access to international education for students with disabilities and support their success abroad.

2.07: Updating Disability Self-Advocacy Through the Lens of Critical Disability Studies

Beth Roland M.A., C.A.G.S., Santa Fe College
Susan (Sue) Mann Dolce Ph.D., University at Buffalo
This presentation will discuss ableism and models of self-advocacy through the lens of Critical Disability Studies. We will discuss why it is important that all disability services professionals consider these topics in their day-to-day practices. We will describe how to affirm disabled students’ experiences and knowledge when discussing self-advocacy, and how supporting their lead on these issues can facilitate institutional change. Participants will take with them actionable ideas for how they can create change at their institutions around self-advocacy for disabled students.  

2.08: Exploring the Creation and Operation of Disability and Neurodiversity Cultural Centers

 Adam Lalor Ph.D., Landmark College
Alyssa Lawson Ph.D., Landmark College
Disability and neurodiversity cultural centers have been emerging rapidly in recent years, but much still needs to be understood about their creation and operation. This session will offer the results of a study that sought to explore this issue for the purpose of uncovering information that can support other college and university professionals looking to build disability and neurodiversity cultural centers. Additionally, lessons learned from participating centers will be shared. Opportunity for discussing strategy and asking questions will be offered.

2.09: Ten Strategies to Learn the Language of your Administration and Build Trust

Bree Callahan M.Ed, University of Washington
Heidi Pettyjohn, University of Cincinnati
Ever wonder how to best work with your Dean or Vice President? Or ever been curious if there is a secret language you have to learn to work effectively with college leadership? While each college and leader will have unique needs and styles, learn ten tips to incorporate into your toolbox as you build out partnerships with administration. These tips have been vetted by Deans, Associate Vice Presidents, and Vice Presidents across two year, four year, and private colleges.

2.10: Streamlining Housing Accommodations Processes for a More Effective Residence Life Partnership

Kathleen Camire M.A., Butler University
Shannon Mulqueen M.S. Ed, Butler University
As requests for ESAs, single rooms, and other housing accommodations continue to increase in both volume and complexity, effective collaboration with campus Residence Life has become an essential aspect of our work. Creating an intentional partnership between the two departments can help streamline the housing request process, reduce the complexity of ensuring that students’ accommodations are met, and ease some of the stress of the busy housing season for staff from both departments. In this session, participants will learn how one university streamlined their housing accommodations processes through innovation and partnership. Topics covered will include the history of a poorly managed process, shared policy-writing to improve efficiency, use of residence life software, and collaboration on knowledge and use of residence hall spaces (including the implementation of decompression rooms). Time will be left at the end for questions and discussion.

2.11: Making the Sale: Garnering Buy-In from Faculty for Universal Design for Learning

Emily Helft M.Ed., Ed.S., Landmark College
In our field, we understand that Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is not only an important step toward an inclusive and accessible campus—it’s also genuinely beneficial for all students regardless of disability status. But when it comes to faculty, UDL buy-in and implementation can be a bit of a tough sell, especially when the focus is on a list of ideas/strategies that can accidentally be interpreted as more work intended for a few select students. In this session, we’ll view UDL through a new lens that helps faculty see “what’s in it for them” in order to gain interest and foster motivation. By utilizing CAST’s UDL model, we can simultaneously sell a desired outcome on both sides: students engaging in the behaviors faculty report they wish their students engaged in AND faculty educating their students in ways that are more holistically inclusive, engaging, and accessible. It’s a win-win!

2.12: Cross-Campus Collaborations: Building Effective Partnerships through Programming

Gabrielle Clark M.S. Ed, College of the Holy Cross
Elizabeth Nako M.A., Brandeis University
Institutions of higher education have reported an increased demand for social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts as part of their current role (NASPA, 2022). In tandem, disability offices have sought to expand their traditional models to include access and inclusion efforts throughout the larger campus community. Collaborative programming around access and inclusion can be a highly effective and often low-cost method to deliver universally designed supports to students with disabilities and promote an inclusive campus environment. To illustrate the deep impact of collaborative work, disability services professionals from two higher education institutions discuss recent collaborations between their home offices and respective campus partners. The programming topics include student-led affinity groups, academic skill-building workshops, and disability pride events. Additionally, methods for faculty outreach and partnerships are discussed.

2.13: Cultivating Leadership: Mastering the Art of Being Number Two

Kristie Orr Ph.D., Texas A&M University
Chester Goad Ed. D, Tennessee Tech University
Amy Rutherford LPC-MHSP, M.Ed., University of Tennessee at Chattanooga 

Frequent discussions center on self-development in leadership, but what if we pause to emphasize the cultivation of collaborative leadership skills by embracing the chain of command. In this presentation, the panelists will delve into the intricate dynamics between leaders (#1's) and their second-in-commands (#2s). In the context of this presentation, #2s could include assistant directors, coordinators or any other direct reports potentially serving in the role of second-in-command. We'll explore how #1s can effectively serve and support #2s through mentoring, professional development, and fostering a supportive environment. Additionally, we'll discuss the reciprocal needs of #1s, such as trust, timely information, and succession planning. This engaging session will shed light on the importance of mutual understanding, communication, and collaboration in achieving organizational effectiveness and personal growth, bridging the gap between leadership and execution in a mindful and constructive manner.

2.14: Understanding, Appreciating, and Working with Intellectually Disabled Students

Craig Levins M.A., Broward College
Aimee Stubbs Ed.S., Broward College
Colleges throughout the country are experiencing an increase of intellectually disabled students attending our institutions. This is a great milestone as we promote access and equity to all, but also presents new challenges within the classroom and throughout the campus. The session will focus on the benefits this brings to our institutions, while also providing strategies on how to not only work with intellectually disabled individuals, but also on truly appreciating and understanding neurodiversity and how it strengthens our campus cultures. Topics such as the Applying the Social Model of Disability Framework to Neurodivergent Students, Universal Design for Learning, and Assistive Technologies will be discussed.

2.15: Review of Newest Interventions and Approaches for Supporting Students with Traumatic Brain Injuries

Emily Tarconish PhD, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

Research has found that between 25-30% of postsecondary students have experienced possible traumatic brain injury (TBI), with 19% of those individuals losing consciousness during the event (Childs & Hux, 2016). However, typical disability services models, those based solely around accommodation provision, may not meet the needs of students with TBI. Students with TBI must spend time learning about their new brains and developing effective learning strategies and practices. This session will review the most current research surrounding effective supports for students with TBI.

Block 3: WEDNESDAY, JULY 17, 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

3.01: Establishing a Disability Compliance Office with Limited Staff and a Shoestring Budget

Ella Callow J.D., UC Berkeley
Derek Coates PhD, UC Berkeley
Ben Perez BA, UC Berkeley
Thea Chhun MSW,UC Berkeley
Steve Johnston BSc Hons, UC Berkeley
Donna Lee BA, UC Berkeley
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) covers a broad range of protections for equal access in public institutions of higher education. Its implementation has largely been at the institution’s discretion. At a large university with over 40,000 students and several thousand employees, how then do we ensure compliance under the ADA? Our Disability Access & Compliance office consists of 6 diverse individuals with their own lived experiences with disability and are therefore uniquely positioned to serve the disabled community on campus. We will discuss how our small office has created programs, written policies and procedures, and collaborated with campus stakeholders across multiple specialties, the challenges we have faced, and how we have overcome them.

3.02: Let’s Practice! Applying the Interactive Process as a New Professional

Rachel Behrmann-Fowler, Georgetown University
Clare Hennigan Raftery, Georgetown University
Many new professionals prepare to work in disability services in higher education by learning the history, disability models, key legal framework, and the interactive process to guide our work. Now that we have learned this core foundational knowledge, we are ready to go into the field. However, it can sometimes be hard to translate what we know from theory to practice, especially as the requests and cases become more challenging. In this interactive session, you will work in groups to practice applying the interactive process to complex cases. The presenters will provide a review of the interactive process and important considerations for determining accommodations. The remainder of the time will focus on case studies based on real situations a new professional may be asked to navigate in their first 90 days. We encourage participants to bring their own challenging situations from their home institution to workshop ideas together. 

3.03: Determining Clinical Accommodations: Building Confidence as a Health Science Disability Professional

Matthew Sullivan PhD, Washington University in St. Louis
Grace Clifford MAEd, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
This session addresses the role of institutions in accommodating students during clinical experiences, emphasizing the need for clarity and examples in determining accommodations. The presenters explore specific clinical accommodations supported nationwide, such as Rotation Decompression, Assistive Technology, and Site Location Specifications. The session delves into the nuances of the interactive process when determining clinical accommodations, highlighting why certain accommodations may be site/rotation-specific or vary between health science programs. Additionally, it emphasizes the importance of effectively describing accommodations in student letters. The session aims to provide practical insights and best practices for disability professionals to navigate the nuanced landscape of clinical accommodations, fostering confidence and understanding in the process. 

3.04: Strategies and Methods for Increasing Use and Knowledge of Assistive Technology Tools Across Campus

Rachel Kruzel ATP, Texthelp, Woburn, MA, USA
Many universities have assistive technology tools and resources with campuswide licenses. Other campuses are eager to adopt tools in this way to support the wider campus community. However, adopted technology many times lacks wider awareness and sustainability outside of the students registered with the disability office, despite goals for it to reach all students who can benefit from these tools, such as un- or under-diagnosed students. This session will discuss methods and strategies that will support professionals as they work to increase awareness of these technologies on campus along with ways to capitalize on their benefits with key stakeholders: faculty, staff, and leadership. For campuses with assistive technology tools in place, this session will spark new ideas for implementation of these tools. For those considering adoption, you’ll leave with insights to help you prepare and plan for the adoption and promotion journey ahead. 

3.05: Guiding the Office: Using External Reviews and National Standards for Strategic and Operational Planning

Enjie Hall MA, University of Minnesota
Jill Sieben-Schneider EdD, Northwestern University
Tom Thompson MA, TMLS Consulting Inc.
It is increasingly common for disability offices to bring in outside evaluators as a part of strategic and operational planning for their department. This session will cover the value and usefulness of two sets of national standards during internal or external evaluations of our office/department’s functioning, to advance the impact we have on students and the campus. The panelists will discuss how to prepare for an external evaluation, focusing on institutions of various sizes and staffing levels. Time will be allotted for participant groups to discuss using the national standards to guide their work and to network with colleagues who have done, or who want to do, evaluations. 

3.06: Toward an Inclusive Campus: Addressing Faculty Training Challenges We All Face

Kristie Orr Ph.D., Texas A&M University
Justin Romack, Texas A&M University
Brandie Wiley M.S., University of North Texas Health Science Center
John McKenzie M.A., M.S., University of North Texas Health Science Center
Educating faculty about disability and faculty is challenging on most campuses. Barriers such as growing student numbers, faculty and staff turnover, resistance of some faculty members to accommodate, enticing faculty to attend training, and others make this a daunting task. This session will explore how staff on two very different campuses addressed these challenges in unique ways. One campus partnered with the Division of Academic Innovation to develop and implement three resources: a free, open-enrollment course, a microcredential course, and an annual required compliance course on accessibility awareness and best practices. The other partnered with several offices on campus and used data from faculty to determine training topics and strategies that they have implemented. The presenters will discuss the barriers they faced, lessons learned, and strategies that can be applied on any campus.

3.07: Disabling Ableism: Increasing Disabled Student Success in Higher Education Through Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Practices

Mary Lee Vance Ph.D., CSU Sacramento
Elizabeth Harrison Ph.D., Retired
Catherine Spears Ph.D., USC
Zebadiah Hall, U of Wyoming
Elizabeth Thomson, UM Morris
Do you need tools to support the communication process with your campus Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) administrators in order to make disability an undeniable part their work? Learn from senior DEI administrators who have incorporated disability justice and inclusion into their DEI mission and work, thereby better supporting students, faculty, staff, patients, and visitors with disabilities on their campuses. A panel of DEI senior administrators will speak to questions provided by the moderators as well as questions from the audience.

3.08: Navigating the Intersection of Title IX and Disability Support for Pregnancy and Related Conditions

Mandy Hambleton M.S., TNG Consulting, Association of Title IX Administrators
Mikiba Morehead M.A., Ed.D., TNG Consulting
The new Title IX regulations provide practitioners with a prime opportunity to revisit how institutions are providing support for individuals who are pregnant or have related conditions. Both Title IX and disability resource offices have obligations to support this population, but there is often confusion about who should provide support and when. This presentation will review the new Title IX regulations, including making a distinction between supportive measures under Title IX and reasonable accommodations under disability law, share key takeaways from recent Office for Civil Rights resolution agreements with higher education institutions regarding pregnant students, and discuss how Title IX and disability resource staffs can collaborate to develop and implement a seamless support process. Attendees will participate in a series of case studies to apply the concepts from the presentation.

3.09: Hot Topics From the AHEAD Online Community - Your Questions Answered!

Charles Weiner JD, Law Office of Charles Weiner 
Jamie Axelrod M.S., Northern Arizona University
Jon McGough M.Ed, University of California, San Francisco
Disability professionals often encounter complex accommodation issues. Over the course of the year, certain common questions reflecting that complexity are posted in the online AHEAD Members Community. This panel of seasoned professionals will identify, discuss, and offer responses to these frequently posted topics, including substantive legal requirements under the ADA, the interactive process, fundamental alteration standards, technical standards, educational deference, and policy creation and adherence. The presenters will leave ample time for Q & A and will open the discussion to other common problems facing disability service professionals.

3.10: With Us? Without Us? Neurotypical Professionals Supporting Neurodiversity

Lee Burdette Williams Ph.D., College Autism Network 
Karen Krainz Edison MSW, LSW, Ohio State University Nisonger Center
Chiara Latimer MFT, Rowan University
Ashley Richardson Minnitt LCSW-S, University of Texas-Austin 
Matt Segall Ph.D., Emory University
Among the tensions in our work with autistic and other neurodivergent students is a quandary that challenges us to think hard about neurodiversity, inclusion and empowerment: the role of neurotypical professionals in supporting neurodiversity. We have heard, and most of us subscribe to, the rallying cry of the neurodiversity movement: “Nothing about us without us.” The message is clear: people with disabilities can speak for themselves. Autistic people can communicate on their own behalf. Anyone with a marginalized identity should be at the center of work that is ultimately about them. But many in this profession who identify as neurotypical have devoted their professional lives to autism support. Join this discussion about how we can create a community that is truly inclusive, that recognizes the value of neurodiversity (which includes neurotypical people and approaches), and neither privileges nor disadvantages anyone who wants to contribute to this work simply because of how their brain works.

3.11: Leveraging Campus Partnerships for Deaf Student Access

Benjamin Suits Baer MS, National Deaf Center
Kate Lewandowski MS, National Deaf Center
Tia Ivanko M.S.,NIC, ADAC, National Deaf Center
This session will emphasize the pivotal role of partnerships between disability services and various campus departments in driving systemic change and improving outcomes to cultivate an inclusive campus environment for deaf students. Collaborative efforts can foster shared responsibility for inclusion and accessibility practices in the classroom and across campus. Attendees will engage in a discussion activity on centering deaf student experiences and leveraging campus partnerships at their own institution by reviewing our campus accessibility guide as well as assessing their own equity gaps on campus. The session actively promotes and cultivates partnerships among participants, facilitating the development of action plans aimed at fostering a culture of inclusion upon their return to their respective campuses.

3.12: Disability Access in Prison Education Programs: Lessons Learned from the Inside

Dominic Winter M.Ed., Washington State Department of Corrections
Jenifer Montag Ed.D., Marion Technical College
Sarah Dimick M.A., Feather River College
Adam Kasarda, University of California, Irvine
With the reinstatement of Pell grants for incarcerated students, many colleges are looking at developing prison education programs to meet this need. Incarcerated students have a higher prevalence of disabilities compared to the general population and addressing these barriers requires an understanding of both who the students are and the unique space where they learn. What steps will your office need to take? What additional barriers do the students experience inside? What barriers do you have to contend with in facilitating accommodations in the constrained prison setting? Join a panel of professionals who will share the experience of meeting the needs of disabled students inside a variety of prison settings - each of which impact the process of providing accommodations. You will also learn how the Washington Department of Corrections approached this opportunity by leveraging research to make evidence-based decisions for program development and created a stakeholder workgroup with our partners in higher education. 

3.13: How Disabled Identity Informs Practice: An Interactive Workshop

Antonia DeMichiel M.A., University of San Francisco
Erin Mayo M.A., College of the Holy Cross 
David Thomas Ph.D, West Chester University of Pennsylvania
In the field, there is a significant emphasis on HOW to do the work of a Disability Services professional; however, not as much attention or value is placed on offering reflection and knowledge sharing spaces that center the importance of the lived experience of disability services professionals, particularly, disabled disability services professionals. 
The key question we aim to address throughout the session is “How does our lived experience as disabled people shape the WHY, the HOW, and the WHAT behind our work?” We will be discussing topics such as models of disability, understanding disability as part of DEI, the emotional labor of disabled staff and barriers to institutional commitment for disability-focused work. Participants will be invited to use individual reflection, small group sharing, and a guided practice worksheet to promote learning and create an actionable plan to bring back to their campuses. 

3.14: One Size Doesn't Fit All: College Transition Strategies and Programs for a Range of Students with Disabilities

Annie Tulkin M.S., Accessible College, LLC
Leslie Thatcher M.Ed., Perkins School for the Blind
Adam Lalor Ph.D., Landmark College
Marc Thurman B.A., Landmark College
Kathleen Geddes Jay Ed.D., Commonwealth University

The transition from high school to college is not easy for any student, but for students who had significant support and services in high school, the transition can mean unexpected changes to those supports that can leave them underprepared for the collegiate experience. Join this panel of experts to hear them discuss research-tested strategies and novel programs to support the transition-to-college needs faced by students with underrepresented disabilities, including:
  • Students with vision disabilities
  • Students with physical disabilities and health conditions
  • Students with emotional-behavioral disabilities (EBD) transitioning from therapeutic high schools to college
  • Neurodivergent students with foster care and/or adoption experience
Plenty of time will be reserved for Q&A. You will leave better able to anticipate and manage student and parent expectations and better equipped to support students with all types of disabilities in becoming successful college students.

3.15: AHEAD Talks - A Series of Short Expert Talks on Various Subjects

You've heard of TED Talks, but have you ever experienced an AHEAD Talk? During this session, several speakers will present short talks on a subject they know well.

3.15.1: The Power of Neurodiversity: Planning Awareness and Acceptance Training on a Small College Campus

Brittany Jackson Ed.D., Hiram College
This session will focus on Hiram College's Power of Neurodiversity project, which was created to create awareness and acceptance of neurodiverse individuals, by highlighting the positives and power neurodiversity has for our society. This project included awareness efforts, neurodiversity training for faculty and staff, and creating a sensory room.

3.15.2: Collaborating for Access: How to Bridge the Divide Between Faculty and Disability Resource Offices

Libbie Rifkin Ph.D., Georgetown University
In this session, the presenter will share the learnings from a multi-unit collaboration to address the role of faculty in the accommodations process and accessible pedagogy more broadly. The presentation will situate the challenges within a structural analysis of the impediments to communication between faculty and student affairs professionals, arguing that they are tied to the uneven distribution of the “labor of care” within higher education. 

3.15.3: Re-imagining STEM-Specific Notetaking Accommodations with Artificial Intelligence (A.I.)

Monal Parmar, UC San Diego
In Higher Education STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) courses, teaching often relies on chalkboards and whiteboards, yet there’s a gap in how students with disabilities receive this information, because existing software solutions don’t capture the actual content written on the boards. Our group at UC San Diego has developed an A.I. tool that innovatively addresses these issues by automatically converting what’s written on boards into notes. It also remediates long instructional videos into shorter, more digestible sections with features like a screen reader friendly table of contents and written summaries. 

3.15.4: Educational Materials Made Accessible (EMMA), a Service for Sharing Remediated Print Materials to Campuses Nationwide

John Unsworth, University of Virginia
EMMA provides the infrastructure for sharing remediated educational materials among disability office staff at participating institutions, and will open to membership in July of 2024. EMMA has also developed a schema for describing the nature of the remediations made, so disability office staff can readily determine whether the remediations made will meet the needs of the student they serve. 

3.15.5: Grounds for Saying No: Navigating Accommodation Denials

Courtney McGonagle M.Ed., Florida Atlantic University
Ashley Ciccolini Erickson M.Ed., Florida Atlantic University
Disability professionals sometimes struggle with "How to say no?" The process of coming to the conclusion of denied requests will be covered in this session, and prime examples of when to and how to say no will be reviewed. This session will be effective for any members of disability offices, but primarily, is designed to assist disability professionals in feeling comfortable and confident in their approaches and decisions. 

3.15.6: Building Inclusive Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) Team for Students with Disabilities

Shannon Austin, Robert Morris University
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requires vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies to set aside certain funds to provide pre-employment transition services (Pre-ETS) to students with disabilities who are eligible or potentially eligible for VR services, to improve the transition of students with disabilities from secondary school to postsecondary education or the workplace. Learn from a VR expert how to effectively utilize resources and support provided by WIOA to enhance educational and employment opportunities for students with disabilities through practical strategies and best practices for fostering effective teamwork. 

Block 4: THURSDAY, JULY 18, 10:00 am – 11:15 am

4.01: Are you Prepared?  Making Sure to Cover all Bases and Intersections of Emergency Planning

Emily Singer Lucio MA, University of Maryland
Gabe Merrell, Oregon State University
We will address how to work with all areas of campus and local resources to be prepared for an emergency. We will discuss steps we have taken at our campuses to ensure individuals with disabilities are being considered in all aspects of planning for a response to emergencies. A discussion of practical approaches will follow a brief overview of legal requirements.

4.02: The New(ish) Professional Seminar - Navigating the Early Years as a Disability Resource Professional

Ian Kunkes Ed.D., EdPros
This session will provide insights and tips for all professionals who are in their first five years of work in the disability resource and accessibility field. We'll begin with an overview of the history of our field, where we are today, and how to prepare for and predict (ha!) the future. Next, we will switch focus and explore the essential competencies that make for an effective disability resource/accessibility professional, looking at AHEAD's newly released Professional Competencies as well as the shift in our field from compliance-based practices to ones based on principles of social justice. Finally, we will discuss how new professionals can navigate the minefield that is a university or college campus and effectively navigate complex policies, procedures, bureaucracy, and (most importantly) internal politics.

4.03: Disability Office Structures Serving Health Science/Medical Programs: Which is Right for You?

Cindy Poore-Pariseau Ph.D., Rutgers University, Bristol Community College
Christine Low MSW, LCSW-R, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Katherine Morgan M.S., University of Florida
Tim Montgomery, University of California, San Francisco
Because the curriculum and needs of health science programs and their students can be unique, many institutions have recognized that they need to cultivate particular expertise within the office that supports equal access for disabled students within those programs. Join this panel to hear from schools using various models, including:
  • a large university with a central disability office that serves all students in the entire university, but has assigned "liaisons" within the office who are dedicated to working with just the students in health science programs,
  • a university that established a separate disability office apart from the central disability office, which serves just health science programs (including two medical schools),
  • a university that tried creating a separate disability office for its medical school, but ended up merging them back into one main office again because having two separate disability offices didn't work for their particular needs,
  • a stand-alone medical school that created a dedicated disability office to serve its students.
Panelists will discuss why they chose the model they currently use, its pros and cons, and what lessons they learned in considering which structure works best for their institutions. Come prepared to rethink your own office structure and determine what model works for your institution!

4.04: Accessing AI: The Role of Disability Services in Higher Ed’s Evolving Artificial Intelligence Relationship

Sarah Young Ed.D., Trinity Washington University
This session will tackle the issue of artificial intelligence generative (AI-G) tools as they relate to and impact students with disabilities and disability offices on college campuses today. We will overview recently developed and released examples of these AI-G tools, such as ChatGPT, as well as other updates and integrations related to AI-checkers, including TurnItIn reporting, considering benefits and negative aspects of these tools. We will also discuss newer disability-specific AI tools, such as Goblin Tools, and how disability offices might use and/or promote these tools among their campus communities as a part of universal design approaches to education. We will also provide insight and discuss first-hand accounts from disability directors about their role in providing guidance to institutional leadership and faculty about AI-G/AI use in classes and related to academic honesty, as well as considerations of AI-G/AI use and bias specific to students with disabilities. 

4.05: Make Your Data Talk: Program Review Through the Lens of Assessment

Ann Knettler Ed.D., GrackleDocs, Delaware State University
Jill Sieben-Schneider Ed.D., Northwestern University
Disability resource professionals are expected to participate actively in their institution’s assessment plans, documenting the effectiveness of their offices and often its impact on student learning and programming. This session will do a deep dive into what can be an uncertain process: planning for and executing a comprehensive review of your disability office. Evaluating any service starts with an understanding of professional standards, establishing program and student outcomes, and well-articulated purposes for the review. Join us as we demystify assessments and build confidence through session information and colleague sharing to plan your own strategy for conducting a useful program review.

4.06: The "Hot Mess of Harmfulness": How Imposter Syndrome Thwarts High-Achieving Professionals and Teams

Margaret Camp MEd, Clemson 
Chester Goad PhD, Tennessee Tech
Over 70% of people report experiencing “imposter syndrome” at some point in their careers. Occurring when high-achieving professionals have distorted, negative self-perceptions that affect productivity and performance, it is most commonly seen in highly intelligent, driven individuals with challenging jobs in fast-paced environments. In recent years our workplaces have become frenzied with increases in accommodation requests that are more urgent and nuanced than ever before. We have seen stress levels increase and coping skills decrease, alongside waves of angry parents, insistent administrators, faculty pushed to their limits, and high levels of staff burnout and demoralization. Amidst the swirling challenges of an increasingly difficult career, it is common for leaders to identify imposter syndrome in themselves and their staff. We will explore signs of imposter syndrome, five different types of imposter syndrome, proven methods to combat it, and how to use it as a competitive advantage to motivate ourselves and our teams.

4.07: Disability IS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Repositioning and Strengthening the Work

Chianti Blackmon M.S., AMDA College of the Performing Arts
Hannah Enenbach M.A.,AMDA College of the Performing Arts
Disability is an integral part of diversity. Despite this, disability services offices and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) offices do not tend to share a department at postsecondary institutions. Drawing from their experience incorporating an existing Accessibility Services office into a new office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, the presenters will offer insights on how joining the two offices can positively affect the framing of disability as a valued identity, elevate disability justice, and disrupt the racialization of DEI work.

4.08: Creating Student-Centered Self Advocacy Programs: A Concept Conversation and Ongoing Networking Opportunity

Kate McLaughlin, University of Wyoming
Riley Skorcz, University of Wyoming
Students with disabilities disproportionately discontinue their studies, take longer to graduate and as a result, accrue more debt than their typical peers. Research into predictors of persistence and graduation rates for students with disabilities identify skills associated with self-advocacy as a positive predictor of on time completion. Presenters will discuss the historical role of self-advocacy in disability activism and current understandings of what constitutes self-advocacy through a critical disability/DisCrit lens. Rather than a presentation or workshop, the intent of this Concept Conversation is to provide a scaffolded experience for participants to network and collaborate with colleagues to create frameworks for student centered self-advocacy programs. Participants will share expertise and build their networks, in addition to creating an outline of a self-advocacy program. During the academic year, three virtual meetings will be held to check in to support the continued growth of nationwide professional connections. This session is applicable to participants at all levels of their careers.

4.09: Trauma-Informed Practices for Disability Service Offices

Kelly Rogan LCPC, Towson University
Robyn McCray LCSW-C, Towson University
By age 18, the average age of college acceptance, 64% of adults have experienced at least one Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) or trauma, which increases rates of mental and physical health issues later in life (CDC 2023). ACEs include anything from mental health problems and family challenges, to abuse and discrimination. As disability professionals in higher education, we have two choices: acknowledge that our students have likely experienced trauma and adjust our practices or ignore this information and risk causing additional trauma. This presentation will include a definition of trauma and emphasize that this is not just a concern for our students with mental health conditions and our counseling centers. A review of the foundational concepts surrounding trauma and strategies to implement trauma-informed practices will provide attendees with tools to take back to their institutions. By embracing a trauma informed approach, we promote an environment that fosters well-being and resilience.

4.10: Supporting Autistic Students Through College Transitions

Amy Rutherford LPC-MHSP, M.Ed., University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, College Autism Spectrum
Emily Raclaw MS, LPC, CRC, Marqette University
Brittany Jackson Ed.D.,  Hiram College, The College Autism Network
Beth Roland M.A., C.A.G.S,  Santa Fe College
Sabrina Saucier, Santa Fe College
As more autistic students are enrolled in college than ever before, there is a need for Disability Service providers to consider supports and opportunities for these students during transitions into and out of college programs. This panel will explore support mechanisms at four institutions around students’ transition into and out of college programs and will offer insights from research which centers autistic students’ experiences.

4.11: Bringing Music to Life: Accessible Music Remediation

Christy Blew M.S. C.C.T. MS/LIS, University of Illinois
Alex Cordain, University of Illinois
Creating accessible sheet music for individuals using assistive technologies can be a real stumbling block for disability specialists more used to providing text files to their students who are blind/low vision. Bring your own laptop and work alongside the presenters in this hands-on workshop. Participants will learn a functional workflow for music remediation using Adobe Acrobat, SharpEye2 Optical Music Recognition program, and the Lime music notation editor to take you from a scanned image of a sheet of music all the way to an accessible .lim file usable by a blind/low vision musician. 

4.12: Establishing a Dedicated Position for Outreach and Programming to Collaborate With Disabled Students for Change

Susan Mann Dolce Ph.D., University at Buffalo
Hannah Premo MPH, University at Buffalo
Outreach programming to foster disabled student participation and connection at our institution was hampered by not having a staff position dedicated to developing programming in collaboration with and for disabled students. As leadership at the institution changed, there was an opportunity to create and fund a new role, the “Program Outreach Coordinator.” The presenters, who are at very different stages of their careers, will share how their identities, experiences, and length of time in the field influenced their work together, creating learning opportunities for both presenters as well as benefitting disabled student programming. They will share the exciting work they have accomplished together this year, including the Disability as Diversity Campaign and the Disabled Student Peer Mentoring program. Explore and identify possible steps for your institution to consider to create change for disabled students. 

4.13: Understanding Processing Deficits’ Effects on Math Learning, Accommodations and Course Substitutions

Paul Nolting, State College of Florida, University of South Florida 
Aimee Stubbs Ed., Broward College
This session will cover how processing deficits and disabilities such as SLD, ADHD, TBI, PTS, Intellectual Disability (ID), Language Impairment (LI) and Autism Spectrum Disorders affect math learning. We will begin with a discussion of appropriate accommodations and course substitutions based on processing deficits. A review of course substitution policies based on new disabilities, study strategies, OCR rulings and cases studies will follow. This session is particularly useful for those who need to update current course substitution policies that may be 20 years old or have information on their websites that may violate current OCR rulings. There will also be a discussion on consistent course substitution decisions, as required by OCR, and discussions on university policies and courses to substitute. Participants will leave with ready-to-use information.

4.14: From Practicum to Practitioner: Shaping the Next Generation of Disability Professionals

Dan Darkow M.S., Cleveland State University
Colleen Floyd M.S., Michigan State University
Annastashia Blesi M.A., Miami University
Emily Cluen M.S, Miami University
How disability professionals recruit, hire, onboard, and train the next generation of our field matters. As our work continues to evolve, it is critical to have a clear strategy ensuring new professionals are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and support necessary to advance access in higher education. Are you interested in learning about a framework that has effectively recruited, hired, and trained multiple DS professionals who work from a non-medicalized access-based perspective? If so, this session is for you! We will discuss various recruitment strategies to increase the pipeline of future disability professionals, the curriculum paired with experience design for practicum and new full-time professionals, and lastly, key reflections from all involved in this framework. Attendees will also explore how this strategy can apply on their campus. Join us for an engaging and informative program that celebrates the growth and potential of the next generation of professionals.

4.15: Inclusive International Education: Supporting International Students with Disabilities

Rusti O'Neal MSc., Institute of International Education 
Magda Ostrov MSEd, Institute of International Education 
Justin Harford, Mobility International USA (MIUSA)
International students with disabilities have been underrepresented in U.S. higher education, as reported in the Institute of International Education’s Open Doors data. They may face challenges that are specific to international students, such as language barriers, obtaining appropriate documentation to request accommodations, taking standardized tests in rural areas, preparing to travel to a new country, among other considerations. Representatives from organizations focused on access and equity in international education and advancing disability rights globally will share best practices for promoting inclusivity in international education organizations and supporting international students from various backgrounds, including those of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program in the U.S.  

Block 5: THURSDAY, JULY 18, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

5.01: Best Practices in Digital Accessibility: Breaking Down the DOJ/OCR Dear Colleague Letter

Korey Singleton Ph.D., George Mason University
This session will address the underlying issues, enforcement actions, and guidance referenced in the joint DOJ/OCR Dear Colleague Letter on Online Accessibility. In addition to highlighting the resources recommended in the letter, we will also cover digital accessibility best practices and practical strategies for implementing these practices at your institution. If the newly revised ADA Title II regulations on digital accessibility are released by the time of the conference, those will be extensively covered in this session.

5.02: Transitioning From the K-12 System to Higher Education

Grace Hunter M.S., Loyola University of Chicago
Ellen Bunn, Appalachian State University
Michelle Ziebarth M.S.Ed., St Cloud State University
This session features three former K-12 educators who are now working in higher education. Each of them is using their perspective to help students and parents understand the differences between disability supports in high school and college as well as help other former K-12 educators also transition into the higher education realm. Newer higher education professionals are invited to join this session to connect with other former K-12 educators and to explore targeted strategies for addressing the transition college to ensure students are prepared for the new expectations and the next stage in their academic journey. 

5.03: Removing Barriers for Student-Athletes: The DRC and University Athletic Association Partnership

Rita Inman, University of Florida
Chelsea Iobst M.Ed., University of Florida
Learn about the liaison partnership between the UF Disability Resource Center and University Athletic Association. We'll share insight on how this partnership started, what we've learned, and how we work collaboratively to minimize the stigma of disability in intercollegiate athletics, while continuing to grow to better meet the needs of student-athletes. There will be an interactive Q&A session following the presentation. This session will help you start the conversation between athletics and disability on your campus; let our model be your guide! 

5.04: A Systematic Analysis of Accessibility Training in Higher Education and Implications for Practice

Björn Fisseler, FernUniversität in Hagen
Higher education institutions are responsible for comprehensively informing faculty and staff on methods to create accessible course materials, accommodate students with disabilities, and additional disability-related topics. To fill a gap in the existing research, we analyzed information and training on these topics provided by 30 universities in the USA. We employed manual and automated analysis methods to collect and analyze textual data. Results demonstrate that the information provided varies in text characteristics such as length and complexity. But it also varies substantially in the topics covered. Only a few higher education institutions address the fundamentals of digital accessibility, such as POUR principles and WCAG standards. Moreover, very few incorporate information on pedagogy and instructional design for inclusion. We will discuss our research findings with the participants, allowing for their personal experiences to inform the development of a "future solution" for accessibility training.

5.05: An Innovative Approach to Office Structures: Supporting Students and Faculty on Complex Requests

Carsen Kipley, University of Arizona
Abiola Mustapha PhD, University of Arizona
Mirra Matheson, University of Arizona
As the number of students with complex requests continues to rise, Disability Services at the University of Arizona has adopted an innovative approach to manage this increasing workload, often with limited additional resources. This approach includes a restructured "College Model" and expedited process for students affiliating with DRC. In this discussion, we will delve into our journey of innovation and the necessary adjustments we've made, such as the creation of two sub-teams of Access Consultants. These two teams have significantly expanded our outreach efforts across campus, enabling us to take a more proactive stance on enhancing accessibility. We will also explore fast-tracking strategies that have allowed our team to promptly determine reasonable accommodations for students without compromising the quality of our service.

5.06: Grow Your Own Staff: Developing Leadership Skills for New Assistant Directors in Disability Offices

Andrew Wilson Ph. D., Loyola University
Karen Pettus Ph. D., Loyola University
The Great Resignation in 2021 hit higher education hard.  More than half of the employees in higher education left their jobs due to retirement, exhaustion, and wage stagnation.  This sustained mass exit left higher education scrambling to recruit and retain new employees at all levels of management. The skills and commitment of people who comprise the workforce are essential to institutional effectiveness (Mather, 2009). High turnover rates increase costs and negatively impact the student experience. Much of the work in supporting students, particularly historically underserved student populations, relies upon relationships between staff leading initiatives, other institutional stakeholders, and the students we are all trying to serve more effectively. The presenters will share Winston and Creamer's framework for thinking about and reexamining our staffing practices and conducting succession planning through developing leadership skills and providing staff development and training for young professionals.

5.07: Holistic Support for Transgender College Students with Mental Health Disabilities

Kat Nic M.Div., University of Michigan
Jackie Heymann M.A., University of Michigan
With the number of students across institutions needing disability accommodations under the ADA surging (Greenberg, 2022), transgender and gender non-conforming students face compounded challenges due to their intersectional minoritized statuses (Hershner et al., 2020). In this presentation, participants will learn about intersectionality and minority stress theory in students who identify as both transgender/gender non-conforming and disabled, and leave with a better understanding of how they can effectively partner with others on college campuses to holistically support these students.  

5.08: Elevating Student Voices: Harvard's Student Accessibility Advisory Group

Kate Upatham J.D., Harvard University
Kate Higgins Ed.M., Harvard University
Many schools seek to engage students with disabilities, and their allies, in ways that are positive and collaborative. In 2022, Harvard University established a Student Accessibility Advisory Group with student representatives from each of its schools. The group created a direct and structured channel for students to raise ideas, concerns, and feedback to senior administration at the University. The improved insight into student perspectives has helped institutional leadership to support the student experience in the ways that matter most to students. As a result, some of our most underrepresented students have reported a greater sense of community and belonging. Come join us to learn more about what prompted the creation of this group, how we approached recruitment, and the impact and outcomes that have already resulted. We will close with an opportunity for reflection and discussion about successful practices at other institutions.

5.09: Strategy Spotlights: Promising Practices in Serving Deaf Students

Tia Ivanko M.A., National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes
The National Deaf Center’s mission is to share information, networks, and strategies to improve continuing education and training for deaf people. The overarching goal of this session is to spotlight innovative approaches from the field that improve accessibility, equity, and inclusion of deaf students in postsecondary settings. Following the presentations, National Deaf Center staff will facilitate an audience Q&A segment, encouraging in-depth discussions and inquiries about the showcased practices.

5.10: Foster Belonging in Online Education with a Community of Practice on Universal Design for Learning

Laura Mullins PhD, BCBA, Brock University 
Amanda Bailey BEd, MA, Brock University
This presentation will provide insight into a Community of Practice (CoP) focused on using and improving the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in online higher education. The community comprises a range of perspectives, including disabled and non-disabled faculty, disabled and non-disabled students and university service providers. The lessons learned, challenges faced, and successes of this CoP will be shared. Aspects of the development process will be reviewed to give attendees the tools and insight to develop a CoP at their respective institutions. This presentation is intended for those involved in pedagogical innovations, student accessibility, or anyone passionate about developing inclusive and accessible educational spaces. Attendees can participate in a group ranking of the UDL guidelines and engage in semi-structured small and large group discussions about perceptions and experiences with UDL in online higher education. They will also leave with concrete strategies for promoting UDL in online education.  

5.11: Creating Connectivity: Lessons learned from a Disability Awareness and Celebration Campaign

Bree Callahan M.Ed, University of Washington
Heather Evans PhD, University of Washington
Gabe Merrell, Oregon State University
This session will share the gains and pains of a two year collaborative effort designed to raise awareness of access as a critical foundation for cultivating inclusion at a large public institution. Using the anniversary of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act containing Section 504 as inspiration, a small team led by a tri-campus ADA Coordinator organized a year-long disability awareness campaign under the theme: “504 at 50: Learn, Celebrate & Innovate.” This session will present concrete tips and strategies for fostering collaborations across the “trenches” of those invested in access and inclusion such as disability resource professionals, diversity leads, compliance officers, operations staff, faculty, students, and university leadership. The presentation will share tools developed through the process, including templates for a media toolkit, web presence, and strategies for leveraging existing support structures to amplify the message that disability and access are key to fostering and sustaining diversity.


5.12: Advancing Disability Rights on a National Scale: AHEAD's Advocacy Work

Terri Lakowski J.D., Active Policy Solutions
Jason Marmon J.D., Active Policy Solutions
AHEAD's Strategic Plan calls for the organization to "Work effectively with members and advocates to affect legislation, regulation, and funding impacting postsecondary education and disability." As part of an ongoing effort to keep the membership informed of our legislative affairs work, AHEAD has invited our partners, Active Policy Solutions to share the latest on our advocacy efforts. The presenters will discuss:
  • What is advocacy? – An overview of the legislative process through a college disability equity advocacy lens
  • How is AHEAD advocating? – An overview of the current undertakings of AHEAD’s advocacy work
  • How can I get involved? – An overview of AHEAD’s advocacy process to contribute and have direct involvement with AHEAD’s Advocacy Committee
  • Join us to learn what AHEAD is doing nationally and how you can help AHEAD improve the laws and policies affecting students with disabilities!

5.13: Parental Allyship: Leveraging Parent Relationships to Foster Student Success

Cristina Muyshondt M.S.Ed, University of Tampa
Gabe Wright M.S.Ed, University of Tampa
By attending this session, participants will learn strategies to successfully engage with parents, guardians, and families to encourage student collaboration with their office. This is possible by adopting a customer service approach that’s focused not only on the student but also those identified early in the interactive process who may be able to serve an important supporting role in the academic success of the student. By learning different strategies of relationship building, determining where you can leverage using a customer service approach to your advantage, and seeing these constituents as allies to further student success, you can build a proactive and multifaceted approach to student support.    

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

Ryan Wells, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Amherst
Researchers and practitioners in disability and higher education fields regularly submit manuscripts to AHEAD's Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability (JPED). This session is designed for those who are considering writing and submitting journal articles. It will include a review of current topics, the types of articles accepted, a description of what the JPED Editorial Board looks for in successful articles, and a walk-through of the manuscript submission process.

5.15: Beyond Accommodations: Increasing the Retention of Students with Disabilities

Misty Parsley Ed.D., Lipscomb University
Paige Reece B.S., Lipscomb University
Abigail Davis Ph.D., Lipscomb University
This presentation will share how a small, private, liberal arts university has expanded its services to meet the needs and increase retention of students with disabilities. Some students struggle to manage some aspects of college often related to executive functioning skills. College offers many benefits in addition to the academic courses: students learn how to handle routines, self-manage, and navigate social situations. While students without disabilities typically adapt over time to the demands of college, students with disabilities often take more time to figure out how college works. With additional supports in place, however, these students can be successful in college. This presentation will share a specific program designed to meet the needs of students with disabilities who need more support beyond basic academic accommodations. 

Block 6: THURSDAY, JULY 18, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

6.01: Office for Civil Rights - Year in Review

Mary Lou Mobley J.D., U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
Jerry Hand J.D., U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
Judith Tisch J.D., Ph.D., U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
The U.S. Department of Education's 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.

6.02: Postsecondary Disability Resources and Accessibility - Where Are We Going and How Did We Get Here?

Ian Kunkes Ed.D., EdPros
Enjie Hall, University of Minnesota
Jon McGough, University of California, San Francisco
Charnessa Warren, University of Chicago
Kristie Proctor, Quinsigamond Community College
In 2024, we find ourselves at a turning point in the disability resources and accessibility field. Our profession is experiencing a changing higher education landscape, significant technological advances, the impact of the pandemic, a move towards social justice, a rise in student advocacy, and more. This panel features an all-star group of leaders to address three questions:
  1. What are the most salient and noteworthy trends you are experiencing across postsecondary disability resources and higher education, today? 
  2. How did we get here (history, milestones, societal trends)? 
  3. What do you see as the key areas of focus we should be considering for the next decade and how can we start preparing for the future, today?
Attendees will break into small discussion groups, making this a highly engaged session. All levels are welcome.

Block 7: THURSDAY, JULY 18, 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm

7.01: Accommodation & Access Support for Higher Ed Employees: The Disability Navigator Model

Jessica McCuaig, University of Michigan
Stephanie Peck LLMSW, University of Michigan
The Faculty and Staff Disability Navigator model is part of a 3-year pilot program established at the University of Michigan (U-M) in the College of Literature, Science & the Arts to identify and address workplace issues impacting employees with disabilities. 
To date, the program has delivered: 
  • a streamlined employee disability accommodation process,
  • centralized funding for employee accommodations and accessibility services at college events,
  • education and consultation services to address key culture and accessibility issues, and
  • policy and practice changes to ensure equitable and timely support for disabled employees.
The Disability Navigator model was developed to be adaptable to other higher ed organizations at U-M and beyond. Join the Navigators to learn about the model's development, services we offer, early impacts, and our strategy for permanent program adoption. Consider how the model could be approached at your institution through guided activities and Q&A.

7.02: Navigating Mental Health Disabilities as a New Professional in Disability Services

Jennifer Walsh MS, ABD, Towson University
Disability professionals come from a variety of backgrounds. Depending on your experience, you may not be feeling equipped to handle the number of students with mental health disabilities that your office sees. While there is much to learn, there are also many resources available to provide you with what you need to know to be effective in this role. While this presentation is appropriate for anyone looking to expand their knowledge in mental health, it is best suited for those newer to the field of disabilities. 

7.03: Campus Collaboration Across the Miles

Melissa Zgliczynski B.S., M.Ed., SUNY Empire State University
Andrea Piazza B.S., M.S., SUNY Empire State University
Collaboration with campus offices, faculty, and staff can be challenging even within one small campus. Collaboration may feel even more daunting in an online environment or if the college has multiple physical locations. But successful collaboration is possible! The presenters from their university’s Office of Accessibility Resources and Services will share the success they have had in collaborating with multiple offices, faculty, and staff in an online environment and across numerous physical locations. They will discuss how they have identified accessibility advocates and how this has allowed them to advance universal design for learning strategies. There will be time to discuss attendees' own collaboration challenges and brainstorm ideas for successful collaboration. 

7.04: Accommodations 101: Introduction to Deaf Services

Latoya Dixon M.Ed., National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes
Benjamin Suits Baer M.S., National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes
Kate Lewandowski M.S., National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes
Disability resource professionals are often confronted with challenging questions: 'Why would a deaf student need speech-to-text services and interpreting services in the same course?' 'Are we obligated to provide the deaf student with their preferred interpreter?' 'How can notetaking be provided in an online course?' For those who are new to this process, clear answers can be elusive. In this session, the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes (NDC) staff will unravel the complexities and address many of the frequently asked questions newcomers often have. NDC staff will share information about current legal frameworks, common classroom accommodations, and strategies for ensuring comprehensive campus access. Participants will gain access to timely and pertinent strategies, empowering them to cultivate an inclusive and equitable environment for deaf students in postsecondary education.


7.05: Cohesive Collaboration between Colleges and High Schools to Support Students with Disabilities

Jennifer Biggers M.Ed., University of California, Riverside
Laura Williams M.Ed., Riverside Unified School District
Pamela J. Starr Ph.D., Riverside City College
Scott Brown Ed.D., Riverside City College
K-12 systems mandate transition services/supports, but upon graduation, students are required to independently manage services/resources. How can college disability offices support high school students with disabilities for the next phase of education? Participants will have an opportunity to learn about workshops that can be presented by disability offices to district schools or community colleges. These opportunities can include service providers, student leaders with disabilities, and support agencies. Being members of academic communities and sharing resources can support transition, decrease disruptions to the student’s education, increase preparedness for post-secondary education, and support the creation of equitable educational spaces. These opportunities can guide K-12 staff and families on how to support students to be successful in all aspects of transition, including self-efficacy, self-determination, and self-advocacy.

7.06: Recharge and Renew your Professional Mojo Through Storytelling

Michelle Mitchell M.Ed., Lehigh Carbon Community College
Kristie Orr Ph.D., Texas A&M University
Weaving storytelling and practical tips, two seasoned disability professionals will share how they almost lost their mojo and what they have done to recharge and renew their passion for the work. As with many in the field, they have faced challenging campus environments, increasing workloads, difficult student situations, and lack of support leading to disillusionment and stress. Participants will be encouraged to share their own stories of regaining their mojo to promote a similar experience for all who attend.

7.07: Applying the Appreciative Advising Framework to the Interactive Process: A Study and Discussion

Grace Hunter MS, Loyola University of Chicago
The appreciative advising framework developed by Bloom, Hutson & He (2008) is a strengths-based approach to facilitating advising sessions with students in the post-secondary setting. The hallmark of this philosophy is the deliberate use of inquiry and genuine curiosity in the student experience to guide conversations, leading to more productive and meaningful interactions that have lasting effects on student’s college path and attainment of personal and career goals. In this presentation, the speaker will describe how they incorporated the tools of appreciative advising into their conversations and practices with students in the disability resource office setting. A brief history and overview of this framework will be covered, followed by personal insights and informal data supporting the effectiveness of inquiry in the interactive process of determining accommodations. Subsequent reflection activity and discussion will focus on the potential applications of appreciative advising for enhancing existing disability service practices.

7.08: Leveling the Playing Field: Insights from a Transformative Disability Inclusion Training Program

John Samuel, Ablr
Mary Olvera Ph.D., NC Community Colleges System
Trudie Hughes Ph.D., NC Community Colleges System
This session will share the compelling findings and experiences derived from a disability inclusion training pilot program conducted in collaboration with the North Carolina Community College Systems Office's Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Disability Student Services departments, and Ablr, an award winning disability inclusion and accessibility organization. This innovative initiative leveraged funding through Perkins V and provided access to Ablr’s disability inclusion training course to an array of stakeholders, including faculty, staff, and employers, with the overarching goal of enhancing educational accessibility and employment opportunities for students with disabilities in alignment with objectives and goals of the federal funding program.

7.09: Inclusivity in Online STEM Education

Haley Neuhausen MBA, University of South Florida
In today's digital age, online STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education has become more prevalent than ever. However, ensuring inclusivity within this dynamic learning landscape presents unique challenges. This conference presentation will shed light on innovative strategies and best practices to foster inclusivity in online STEM education. Our discussion will explore the importance of creating an inclusive virtual learning environment that accommodates diverse learners, regardless of their backgrounds or abilities. We will delve into topics such as accessible course design, technology solutions for diverse needs, and the role of educators in promoting inclusivity. Join us to discover effective approaches for engaging all students, enhancing accessibility, and promoting equity in the digital STEM classroom. Together, we can ensure that online STEM education becomes a platform where every learner can thrive and contribute to the exciting world of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

7.10: Supporting Student-Led Self-Advocacy Groups for Neurodiverse Students

Lucinda Spaulding PhD, University of Lynchburg
Ester Warren EdD, Liberty University
Genevieve Weaver, Jefferson Forest High School
A primary goal of this presentation is to discuss the role of faculty-sponsored, student-led communities (i.e., clubs, affinity groups, chapters) for students who identify as neurodiverse on college campuses. We provide a description of two active student groups on two college campuses in central Virginia. Both organizations were designed to foster a sense of connection, belonging, self-advocacy, and shared leadership for students who identify as neurodiverse on the college campus. A secondary goal of this presentation is to facilitate discussion with session participants about best practices for bridging the gap between high school and postsecondary education, with a specific emphasis on increasing self-determination and self-advocacy in students who identify with a disability or as neurodivergent. 

7.11: Notetaking: A Process in Review

Clay Littrell M.Ed, UC San Francisco
Jon McGough M.Ed., UC San Francisco
Notetaking accommodation delivery has changed immensely in recent years, with new technologies such as Notability, Glean, Otter.ai, Notetaker Express, Smartpens (among others) improving the experience of students requiring notetaking assistance. With a variety of class modalities and student needs, and new OCR investigations on the topic, there is no one-size-fits all tool for notetaking accommodations. In this presentation we’ll review specific scenarios where one tool is likely better than another, provide product demos, and discuss the pros and cons of each of these tools.  

7.12: Building Bridges for Student Success: Strengthening Campus Partner Relations

Tessla Michael M.M., Graceland University
This presentation delves into the pivotal role of robust campus partner relations in fostering a cohesive and supportive network for students, with a special emphasis on those who are most vulnerable and at risk of attrition. Intended for any and all who work directly with college students. By cultivating meaningful connections between academic affairs, student life, residence life, financial aid, and athletics staff, we unlock a powerful tool to enhance retention, persistence, and overall success for students of diverse backgrounds and abilities. Join us as we explore practical strategies and best practices that will empower institutions to forge stronger bonds, ensuring a more connected and thriving campus community.

7.13: Tested By Faculty: Effective Collaboration for Facilitating Testing Accommodations

Lisa Diekow M.S. Ed., University of Florida
Farah Robles MSW, Florida Atlantic University
This presentation will engage program participants in an active discussion about the challenges and shifts inherent in facilitating testing accommodations. Changing world events, new technologies, navigating third-party exam platforms, lockdown browsers, ALT Text formats, to name a few, come with the necessity to relearn a variety of testing modalities and the creation of accompanying procedures for a smooth and positive testing experience. Establishing and maintaining a positive relationship with faculty and enhancing resources for their use will ultimately have a positive impact on their experience and the student experience with our offices. This presentation will highlight the experiences of two different institutions that utilize different ways to adapt to the changing times by building their relationship with faculty. We will include strategies, action steps and anecdotes! Regardless of your office size, this presentation will connect you with colleagues and share experiences for building positive relationships with faculty.

7.14: Services for Service Members: Supporting Veterans in our Campuses, Classrooms, and Communities

Stephen Willems, M.S., Towson University
Daniel Koster, Psy.D., VA Maryland Health Care System
Rachel Ward, Ph.D., VA Maryland Health Care System
Did you know enrollment of student veterans has almost doubled since 2009 in higher education? And the presence of disability within student veterans is over double their non-veteran peers? Join us to learn more about supporting student veterans with disabilities on your campus! Participants will gain knowledge about student veterans, as well as issues relevant to this population. Practical considerations will be reviewed, from initial outreach and documentation differences to a better understanding of the student experience and services available. Any disability service professional, new or seasoned, will benefit from this presentation, which was created through collaboration utilizing relevant literature and practical experience to share pertinent information establishing best practices when identifying and registering student veterans for accommodations.

7.15: Career Adjacent:  Practical Ways to Support Employment Preparation for Students with Disabilities

Larry Markle M.S., Gregory S. Fehribach Center at Eskenazi Health
Carlos Taylor M.S., Gregory S. Fehribach Center at Eskenazi Health
David Parker Ph.D., Gregory S. Fehribach Center at Eskenazi Health
With growing calls for the college investment to lead to more meaningful outcomes, disability professionals can play a huge role in students’ career preparation despite their busy caseloads. “Career adjacent” refers to practical strategies disability professionals can engage in with partners to share their knowledge of ADA issues while encouraging students to utilize services and events related to employment preparation. This interactive session will share evidence-based practices used by Midwestern campuses (i.e., virtual community of practice with disability office and career services colleagues) as well as other effective strategies. Audience members will be encouraged to share their own practices or plans, too.

Block 8: FRIDAY, JULY 19, 8:30 am – 10:00 am

8.01: Ensuring Equity: Disability Accommodations in Civil Rights Investigations

David Reyes, J.D., University of Southern California
Samantha Cuillier, Ph.D., University of Southern California
This engaging session will explore the intricate interplay among civil rights laws such as Title IX and Section 504. The presenters will use real-life examples and case studies to provide participants with tangible strategies for promoting equity and accessibility while navigating complex Title IX investigations and addressing reports of disability discrimination. By highlighting case studies and legal findings, the presenters will address the practical application of inclusive policies and the importance of fostering awareness and understanding among all stakeholders. The session will culminate in an interactive discussion, fostering a dynamic learning environment that encourages collaborative problem-solving and innovative approaches to supporting students with disabilities.

8.02: The Road to Access Goes Through Faculty: Exploring Successful Collaborative Approaches

Karen Andrews, Brown University
Bea Awoniyi, Sante Fe College
Catherine Getchell, Carnegie Mellon University
Enjie Hall, University of Minnesota
Valerie Hamilton, Consultant
Amanda Kraus, University of Arizona
Adam Meyer, University of Central Florida
Kristie Orr, Texas A&M 

The disability office's primary focus is on coordinating equitable access and reasonable accommodations within the classroom. This work requires successful partnerships with faculty, as professors have a responsibility to support the accommodation process. This panel discussion with disability office leaders from various sized campuses will explore ways in which different disability offices have successfully built bridges with faculty to advance access and accommodation coordination on campuses. The panelists will share proactive outreach strategies along with ways in which they broadly engage faculty in the interactive process for accommodations that warrant a course-by-course analysis. Furthermore, panelists will share current challenges working with faculty and how these challenges are being addressed. Audience members will have the opportunity to ask the panelists questions.   

8.03: Lessons learned: Navigating Challenging Health Science Accommodation Requests

Christine Low MSW, LCSW-R, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York
Cindy Poore-Pariseau PhD, Rutgers University
Kitt Kelleher Ed.S., Bristol Community College

Three experienced disability professionals will use case examples to review navigating the determination and implementation of challenging accommodations requests in health science programs. The three presenters represent diverse institutions including a community college, a university offering undergraduate and graduate programs, and a stand-alone medical and graduate school. They will present cases that highlight varied heath science programs and will provide multiple perspectives, including the student, the disability professional, and school stakeholders, to identify potential barriers. Participants have the opportunity for small group case discussions.

8.04: Advancing Equity for Deaf Students: Insights from Deaf Disability Services Professionals

Kate Lewandowski M.S., National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes
Lore Kinast EdD, National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes

In this session, the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes explores the multifaceted challenges of campus access for deaf students through a panel discussion of deaf disability services professionals. Highlighting the vital role of deaf staff in reducing microaggressions and affirming deaf students’ cultural identities, the discussion delves into the challenges deaf professionals face within the higher education system. Our diverse panel of deaf disability professionals will discuss effective communication accommodations utilizing a deaf-centered approach that enhances institutional compliance. Additionally, this session will also address the attitudinal barriers and micro-aggressive trauma witnessed by deaf professionals within the system. By sharing their experiences, the panel provides actionable insights for disability services professionals towards fostering understanding and driving systemic change to enhance campus equity and support the nuanced needs of deaf students.

8.05: Professional Interdependence: Why We Need Multiple Perspectives in Disability Services

Christine Lew, University of Washington 
Jon McGough, UC San Francisco
Whether you’re new to the field or you’ve been in this work for decades, you might have noticed tension between certain approaches. Ask a question on a listserv and get a dozen different answers: someone will quote a court case and OCR Resolution Agreement, another colleague will bring up universal design, and a third will provide an explanation based on systems of power, privilege, and ableism. But what’s the ‘right’ answer? In this session, we’ll work together to get comfortable with the ambiguous nature of this work, ground ourselves in ethical foundations, and cover a variety of ‘critical lenses’ (ADA compliance, universal design, student development theory, disability studies, and disability justice) that can serve as tools to situate ourselves in the beautiful, messy world that is disability in higher education. 

8.06: Flexibility Accommodations: A Smaller School's Process and the OCR Complaint that Confirmed the Approach

Ida Dilwood MPA, University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Rachel Gibson MEd, University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Managing flexibility accommodations (i.e., flexibility with attendance and extended deadlines for assignments) can be difficult and time consuming, especially for small or one-person disability offices. This session will focus on one mid-sized university’s development, implementation, and procedure around flexibility accommodations, which resulted in a simplified, streamlined process without adding additional staff or resources to meet the need of the most frequent accommodation requested. The presenters will share an example of a student OCR complaint regarding a flexibility accommodation and the result. By the end of the presentation, attendees should be able to effectively understand the need for a clear policy on these accommodations and devise a procedure for their own office and campus community. 

8.07: Mitigating the Intersectionality of Ableism and Racism

Lisa Yates M.Ed, Ph.D, Moreno Valley College
California community colleges are mandated to improve success outcomes for historically underrepresented students which includes students who manage dis/abilities and Black/African American students. As director of a community college Dis/ability Support program and a disability, equity, inclusion, and access champion, Dr. Yates will discuss the challenges related to improving outcomes for marginalized students who identify with both groups. There will be talk-time breaks throughout the presentation to discuss content and the presentation ends with a proposed pilot study that hopes to mitigate the dis/abling challenges that arise when ableism and racism are imposed on students. Although housed within the community college perspective, the content has application for all higher educational institutions.

8.08: Getting Out of Our Offices: Strategies for Creating and Cultivating a More Inclusive Campus

Rachel Kruzel ATP, Texthelp
Disability professionals commonly feel siloed in our offices; focusing our time and resources on the students who disclose and make their way to us. So often, we’re eager to make a bigger impact at our institution and support wider campus efforts and priorities, but we don’t know where to start. This session will discuss methods, strategies and ideas for making an impact on the wider campus community given the expertise we have and the roles we hold. We’ll discuss tangible strategies for building bridges and pushing the boundaries on what it means to make your campus more inclusive and accessible while supporting all learners with disabilities on campus. Topics discussed will include partnerships, campus priorities, advocacy, and technology adoption. Professionals of all expertise levels will leave with ideas to bring back to their campus communities to make an impact during the academic year ahead. 

8.09: Making Things Clearer: Crafting, Evaluating, and Revising Effective Accommodations Language

David Thomas Ph.D., M.A., West Chester University
Writing well-crafted accommodations should be a collaborative effort between the disability office, faculty, campus partners, and students.  The more well written an accommodation is, the more consistently and efficiently it can be implemented, thus improving access for the student, improving faculty relationships, and improving the effectiveness of the disability office. By involving faculty, campus partners, and students as well as disability professionals in the process of updating and revising accommodations and continually soliciting feedback, we can assure that our communications are clear, and our intended message is getting through to both faculty as well as students. This program will address processes and tools for managing feedback as well as providing participants with an opportunity to engage actively with data and work through the process of revising accommodations language based on qualitative feedback.

8.10: In Our Own Words: Experiences of Non-Speaking Autistic College Students

Grace Moskola M.A., Harvard University
Millions of non-speaking autistic people world-wide experience a lack of access to equitable communication methods and education. Despite this, a growing number of non-speaking college students are arriving on our campuses for the first time, requiring new approaches to accommodations and campus-wide collaboration. In this panel presentation, non-speaking college students from a variety of backgrounds will share their personal higher education experiences and answer your questions. Topics to be explored include the use of parent and non-related communication partners in the classroom, working with faculty and the disability services offices, different strategies for effective communication, and confronting ableism and bias related to spelling-based communication.  

8.11: A Dual Purpose Opportunity: Sinclair’s Accessibility Microcredential Program

Alicia Schroeder MRC, Sinclair Community College
Jessica McKinley Ph.D., Sinclair Community College
Lance Smith, Sinclair Community College
Chris Prokes Ed.D., Sinclair Community College
Sinclair College focuses its strategic priorities Alignment, Growth, and Equity. The latter area’s reach reflects our efforts to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all on campus. Over the past five years, Sinclair placed significant focus on creating accessible spaces, programs, and learning opportunities. In this presentation for all audiences, learn about the Accessibility Champion Microcredential Program – an innovative holistic learning experience issuing the first employee microcredential at Sinclair and enabling many employees to become Accessibility Champions. A core goal of this program was the creation of a campus-wide culture of accessibility for all stakeholders. We incorporated different areas of accessibility from classroom, support, and community partner areas. The program has more than 65 completers and is in its 4th iteration. Participants will engage in content through a preview of the program in our LMS and earn a mini-credential themselves! NOTE: You must bring your own mobile device or laptop and participate live to earn the mini-credential.

8.12: Research Year in Review: An Overview of Recent Postsecondary Disability Research in 90 Minutes!

Adam Lalor Ph.D., Landmark College
Katherine Aquino Ph.D., John's University
Shawn Saladin Ph.D., University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Erin Mayo, The College of the Holy Cross
Charnessa Warren, University of Chicago
“I just don’t have time!” This is a response that many members of AHEAD’s Research Knowledge and Practice Community hear when we ask our colleagues if they read a recent article on postsecondary disability…and we get it! In an effort to support our AHEAD colleagues in this area, this session will provide a review of the research on disability and postsecondary education from the last year in just 90 minutes. The Research Knowledge and Practice Community will curate an overview of key research articles with an emphasis placed on implications for practice. Attendees will have the opportunity to discuss and ask questions about the research.

8.13: Creating Access for Graduate Students:  A Panel of Perspectives

Joanne Benica M.S., CRC, Johns Hopkins University
Margaret Camp MEd, Clemson University
David Paquette M.Ed., Northeastern University
Alexis Lambert M.Ed., Northeastern University

Equal access accommodations for graduate students are not simply an extension of accommodations provided in an undergraduate setting. Graduate programs are often highly specialized and in many graduate programs, the classroom teaching shifts from theory to real life application. Graduate students report that their experience is significantly different than their undergraduate experience, with less emphasis on exams and more on application of knowledge in written format, oral presentations, group projects, etc. Additionally, the graduate environment can often resemble the work environment with heavy emphasis on laboratory and research activities which requires collaboration with faculty and other students. How are accommodations different? How should practitioners think differently about the accommodations provided? It is imperative that disability services professionals understand the nuances of providing accommodations to graduate students. This panel presentation will explore these questions and perspectives will be shared about best practices for ensuring access to graduate students with disabilities.  

8.14: Audio Description for University Faculty, Staff, and Students

Joel Snyder PhD, MA, BA magna cum laude, Audio Description Associates, LLC 
Audio Description is a translation of images to words — the visual is made verbal and aural and oral. Using words that are succinct, vivid, and imaginative, media describers convey the visual image from television and film content that is not fully accessible to a significant segment of the population (more than 32 million Americans experience significant vision loss - American Foundation for the Blind, 2019). This presentation will outline the “Fundamentals of Audio Description” (developed by me as a training guide for audio describers) and I will emphasize techniques that can be used by faculty, staff, and students to make lectures, presentations, and productions more meaningfully accessible for people who are blind or have vision loss. I will also focus on the inclusion of people who are blind in the audio description production process.  

8.15: Ready, Set, Learn - Coaching Skills to Increase Student Readiness

Jodi Sleeper-Triplett MCC, JST Coaching & Training
Christina Fabrey M.Ed., Virginia Tech

College readiness in first year students is persistently low with only approximately 35% of all students ready to launch into the world of higher education. (Gibney & Rauner 2021.) In addition to general college readiness deficits, students with disabilities struggle with an additional layer of “unreadiness” when they set out on their own, shifting away from a supportive parent & K-12 educator driven environment. Integrating coaching skills to conversations with students can help them better navigate this transition and provide the scaffolding and support needed to persist to graduation. Active listening, powerful questioning and a student-driven agenda provide students with the opportunity to become more self-aware and self-reliant. In this presentation, participants will learn key coaching skills to integrate into their interactions with students to help equip them with the strategies, self-confidence and self-reliance to be ready for the college experience. 

Block 9: FRIDAY, JULY 19, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

9.01: Building and Implementing a Campus ADA Transition Plan

Gabe Merrell, Oregon State University
Emily Singer Lucio, University of Maryland
The ADA requires higher education institutions to conduct a self-assessment of physical barriers on campus and create a barrier removal plan. However, many institutions have not completed this 30+ year old requirement or need to dust it off as it has lived on a shelf for years after initial work in the 90’s and early 00’s. In recent years there has been a growing number of cases engaged by the DOJ holding public entities accountable to the physical access assessment and planning requirements of the ADA. This session will share key elements when designing and conducting a self-assessment as well as practices to consider when implementing outcomes determined by the process. This presentation includes guidance on how to structure your methodology and build effective engagement with institutional leaders in the work and brings the discussion of effective barrier removal planning back to the AHEAD community, a topic that is becoming timely again. 

9.02: An Introduction to Accommodations in University Housing: One Office’s Approach to Facilitating Collaboration

Josef Mogharreban PhD, CRC, Western Washington University
Emily Ackerland M.Ed, Western Washington University
Nationwide, disability offices are grappling with increases in complex disability-related needs. The presenters will offer a framework to guide facilitation of necessary collaboration with residence life and strategies to maximize consideration for, and inclusion of, disabled students in university housing. Through case studies and real life scenarios, attendees will gain a comprehensive understanding of topics including the legal framework applicable to housing, service and emotional support animals, appropriate requests for medical and other third party documentation, and establishing internal processes needed to create a truly inclusive housing environment in higher education settings. 

9.03: Developing Technical Standards for Today: Tools to Advance Inclusion in Health Science Programs

Julia Cohen, Samuel Merritt University
Bryan Hilbert, University of Nevada
With an ever-increasing number of students with disabilities entering medicine and other health science programs, the need for a revision of technical standards has never been greater. To address this need, the Docs with Disabilities Initiative established a Technical Standards Advisory Committee comprised of health sciences DRPs representing a variety of health professions education programs to develop an “Inclusive Technical Standards Toolkit.” This toolkit is open access and contains resources for updating the technical standards of a variety of programs including, but not limited to Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy programs. In this session the presenters will provide a comprehensive overview of the technical standards toolkit. They will identify common pitfalls and barriers and relay best practices for review and revision.

9.04: Helping Students (and Faculty) Harness the Power of Generative Artificial Intelligence for Good, Not Evil

Elizabeth McCarron MBA, EdD, Excel With ADHD, LLC
Students with disabilities have adopted Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) at a higher rate than their peers: 72% of high school students with IEPs and/or 504 plans reported using GenAI.  Nearly half of college students, but less than 22% of faculty use GenAI. Neurodiverse college students use GenAI to create schedules, write resumes and cover letters, break large tasks into manageable chunks, summarize text, and practice conversations. New to GenAI? Join us to learn what it is and what it isn’t, what it can do and what it can’t. Using ChatGPT, attendees will craft prompts to generate helpful results. We will discuss ethical implications that students should be aware of, as well as ways faculty can set assignment rules to help students use GenAI responsibly. Attendees will leave the session with knowledge of and experience using ChatGPT and will be inspired to experiment with the tool to help their students and themselves.

9.05: The SWAT Team: Developing Student Workers to Implement Accessibility on Campus

Jordan Colbert MMFT, ATP, Yale University

Do your faculty struggle to remediate their inaccessible course content? Are students able to utilize their assistive technology tools at your institution? Does it take a significant amount of coordination and time to facilitate captioning and CART/ASL services for your students? Let the SWAT Team help! Our Student Workers in Assistive Technology (SWAT) Team leverages student-workers to create a team strictly devoted to providing accessible course materials in remediated and alternate formats, training students and campus partners to use assistive technology, and facilitating CART/ASL/captioned media services. This session will focus on the institutional benefits of having students complete this work under the direction of the disability service office, the efficacy of accommodation facilitation, and the process taken to garner buy-in and develop the program. Attendees will leave with a template for creating their own Student Workers in Assistive Technology (SWAT) Teams to maximize service, awareness, and accessibility knowledge on campus.

9.06: Preventing Burnout for Disability Services Professionals at Small Private Institutions

Hannah Ganzel B.A., M.S. Ed., Cornell College
Karen Lynch B.A., Simpson College
Small, private colleges with small offices of only a handful of people are unique environments that present both strengths and challenges. The presenters will discuss the trends seen at their own and other institutions, including burnout, powerful relationships, and getting creative with available resources. We will spend some time specifically on burnout to ensure that attendees know how to identify and prevent burnout. Attendees will then have the opportunity to play an interactive game that simulates the environment of a small private college, reflect on the individual strengths at their own institutions, and identify opportunities for growth that exist on their campus. Presenters will then facilitate a sharing session to hear from attendees what useful tools and techniques have successfully addressed challenges that are universally experienced on small campuses.

9.07: That Sounds Like Fun! And it Supports Disability Awareness and Inclusion?

Lindsay Carr PhD, Muskingum University
Knowledge is power and awareness is crucial. To support disability awareness and inclusion, one private university’s Student Accessibility Services hosts disability awareness and inclusion events. This session will provide information about planning and implementing events across campus to support an inclusive campus for students with disabilities. Learn how students are a part of the process from beginning to end. Acquire the lessons learned from our experiences as we share the process of implementing disability awareness and inclusion events for students, faculty, and staff. Hear the student voice in the artifacts collected over the years of implementing an annual Disability Awareness and Inclusion month. This session will help newer disability service professionals who want to start disability awareness and inclusion events on campus and seasoned disability service professionals who want to expand their events to strengthen inclusion on campus.  

9.08: Representation Matters: Building Disability Advisory Groups with Purpose

Bree Callahan M.Ed, University of Washington
Heather Evans Ph.D., University of Washington
Do you seek feedback from members of the disability community on your campus? Are you pursuing intentional and strategic connections with disability influences at your institution? This session shares lessons learned on the journey to form advisory groups that embed voices of students, faculty, and staff with disabilities into the institutional work of accessibility at a public university. Using the concept “nothing about us, without us” the presentation covers the deliberate work to create spaces where representation of disabled experiences influences leadership and create a conduit for enhancing accessibility and disability inclusion work across campus. Attendees will hear from various advisory group members regarding the relationships built across segments of campus and how keeping a finger ‘on the pulse’ of the disability community generates creative ideas and solutions.

9.09: Academic & Trauma-Informed Coaching: Approaches for Supporting Students Through College

Jennifer Murchison MA, California State University
Alejandro Salinas, The Light Institute
At-risk students often struggle to complete post-secondary education. Through the use of trauma-informed coaching approaches, students may find the support they need through a disability services office. These coaching tips will help staff become better information on how to support students who have survived traumatic experiences in ways that create a smoother transition through college. This session will describe how to be a more effective source of support for disabled students who have been told they would not succeed in college. Attendees will leave with action items and resources to take back to their home institutions. 

9.10: Building a Study Abroad Program with Disability Access as the Foundation

Jenna Gonzalez Ed.S., University of Florida
Pingchien Neo M.S., University of Florida
Cara Simon M.S, Learn International Provider Company
Chris Lawlor M.Sc, Learn International Provider Company
This session will share a case study of a unique short-term study abroad program that integrates the study of disability access and engineering technology. It is the first of its kind at the University of Florida, spearheaded by the Disability Resource Center and College of Engineering to provide international experiences for all students. We will highlight the program framework, implementation, share faculty and student experiences, and lessons learned.

9.11: Equitable Access to Online Learning Courses for Deaf Students

Latoya Dixon M.Ed, National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes
Karla Giese EdD, National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes
Tia Ivanko M.S., NIC, ADAC, National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes
In today's fast-paced digital landscape, online learning has become increasingly prevalent due to the effects of the pandemic, providing unparalleled convenience and flexibility to students. However, achieving equitable opportunities for deaf students presents unique challenges. Taken from NDC’s ACCESS report in 2019, a deaf student shared “All of my courses are online, and I don’t always get captions and transcripts in a timely manner. I usually have to wait three weeks (or more) to get access to materials, and sometimes, I never get them at all.” This session will explore the experiences and needs of deaf students, emphasizing the vital role of inclusivity in online education. The session will address the multiple and interconnecting barriers they encounter and share effective strategies to overcome them. Expect engaging discussions, real-world insights, and practical solutions. Join us in fostering a more inclusive educational environment where every deaf student will thrive.

9.12: Sighted Guide for Sighted People: Working With Blind and Visually Impaired Students

Farah Robles MSW, Florida Atlanic University, Boca Raton, Florida, USA
Students who are blind and visually impaired constitute a small number of disabled students on campus, however, the needs of these students must be personalized to achieve academic success. This presentation will explore assessing the specific needs of blind and visually impaired students by evaluating each students’ level of vision, access to technology, previous mobility training, and knowledge of resources. If you are new to the field or an old timer, you will benefit from learning to assess the needs of visually impaired students from the perspective of a visually impaired presenter working in the field of accessibility.

9.13: Developing Written Guidance Documents for Campus Disability Offices

Tom Thompson MA, Rehabilitation Counseling & Communication Disorders, TMLS 
Disability offices function most effectively when they can create and update key operational and implementation resources, such as an operational manual for the office, a handbook or library of online resources about accommodations and access for students and faculty, or a manual for proctoring accommodated exams. The presenter, who has served in seven leadership roles for various campuses, will provide participants with "content outlines" that participants can use for starting to build or revise their own resources, including incorporating your existing practices. The presenter will also discuss the advantages of collaborating with key campus personnel outside of the disability office, including examples such as: Faculty, Deans, Facilities, IT, Instructional Development, etc., to enable the disability office to gain early understanding and buy-in from campus partners who also have responsibilities to implement accommodations and facilitate access.

9.14: Engaging and Empowering students in Science: Activities and Coursework Designed with UDL Principles

Indrani Sindhuvalli Ph.D., Florida State College at Jacksonville
In this session, I will present the successful Universal Design for Learning (UDL) strategies that I have incorporated in my course at my community college. My goal is to kindle student interest in science, remove barriers to learning, and create life-long learners, in an equitable and inclusive learning environment. These strategies cover the full timeline of our student enrollment process, course material presentation, student learning and assessment. This includes working with my college IT professionals as well as student disability services. Lab activities that are rigorous, aligned with the curriculum, and allow for flexible learning and mastering of the material will be presented. In-class, as well as out of class, activities that reinforce the topics covered in my course will be shared which integrates the scientific concepts with the real-world value and utilization of the knowledge they gain in my course.

9.15: Transforming Engagement: How an Online Institution's Small Office Expanded Awareness of its Services

Juliet Komisarcik MPA, American Public University System
Caroline Wines MA, American Public University System
The presenters will discuss the transformational journey of their disability office within an online, for-profit institution offering Associate, Bachelor, Master, and Doctoral degrees. Their goal is to assist those seeking to boost awareness and engagement for their own offices, even with limited resources. They will provide a comprehensive account of their office's evolution over the past 15 years, highlighting identified areas for improvement, collaborative strategies, key stakeholders involved, real-world engagement examples, and an implementation timeline. Furthermore, they will present compelling data, such as a notable increase from 400 to 500 actively enrolled students with disabilities in just 23 months (2021 to 2023), underscoring the effectiveness of their strategies. This presentation is a valuable resource for institutions seeking to enhance awareness and student engagement, regardless of their office size or budget constraints.

Block 10: FRIDAY, JULY 19, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

10.01: Understanding the Higher Education Civil Rights Landscape

Emily Babb J.D., Northwestern University
Catherine Spear J.D., University of Southern California
Olabisi (Bisi) Okubadejo J.D., Georgetown University
Colleges are governed by federal, state, and local civil rights laws, including Section 504, ADA, Title IX, and Title VI that prohibit discrimination on the bases of many protected classes, including as disability, sex, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, race, color, national origin, shared ancestry and ethnic characteristics. Join three former U.S. Dept. of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) attorneys who now lead university civil rights offices, in discussing the overlap between these laws and their processes. We will cover an overview of key civil rights issues, such as the impact of new Title IX and/or Section 504 regulations, navigating civil rights conduct processes, pregnancy accommodations, how to engage your campus’ bias response or threat processes, and how to build and sustain relationships between disability services and civil rights/equity offices. The presenters will engage in interactive conversations using case studies, share best practices, and provide practical tools. 

10.02: Establishing Meaningful Connections in the Initial Student Meeting: A Workshop for Newer Professionals

Grace Hunter MS, Loyola University of Chicago
Nathan Rider MS, Loyola University of Chicago
Initial student appointments are essential in exchanging information and establishing trust between the disability professional and students who are new to the accommodations process.  With such a brief amount of time granted to assess accommodation requests, however, these initial conversations can be daunting and even awkward at times, especially for professionals who are transitioning into the role. This presentation and subsequent workshop will offer insight and practical advice to new professionals in the field who are interested in strengthening their conversations and intake process with new students. The first portion of the presentation will feature two professionals new to the disability services field who will share how they facilitate meaningful conversations in initial accommodation meetings. In the second portion, the workshop will provide participants with an opportunity to collaborate using simulations and real-life examples that will enhance individual practices and understanding of the interactive process. 

10.03: Supporting Student Accommodation Requests for Post-Secondary Entrance and Licensing Exams

Charles Weiner JD, Law Office of Charles Weiner
Amy Beth Dambeck JD, Law School Admission Council
Lori Muskat Ph.D., Educational Testing Service
Grace Clifford MAEd, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine
Disability professionals actively participate in the process of students applying to receive appropriate accommodations from third party testing agencies on board, licensure, and high stakes examinations. Equitable access to these exams is critical to the retention and matriculation of students with disabilities in professional programs. This workshop features a panel with extensive experience with engaging with students in various academic and professional programs. Panelists will outline how providers can prepare students to submit accommodation applications and support them through the process. Scenario discussions and debriefs will be used to provide an overview of the application process, offer insight to the agency application review, and advise on what data should be submitted to support various types of student requests as well as how to handle appeals if the request is denied. The presenters will also leave ample time for Q&A and provide additional electronic resources.

10.04: It Takes a Village: Community Partnerships that Support Students with Intellectual Disabilities

Pamela Lindsay Ed.D./CI, College of Adaptive Arts 
Frances Moy M.A., Merritt College
Nathan Failing Ed.D., Laney College
David Cammarata M.Ed., Oakland Unified School District
Ed Clausen Ph.D., Clausen House
Jaynette Underhill-Levingston MA, PHR-SHRM, CP, Clausen House
Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities experience marginalization and exclusion from structured higher education as they advance beyond post-senior programs. This presentation spotlights two different approaches to robust collaborations between post-secondary institutions, school systems, and community non-profits to provide education, employment readiness, soft skills development, and social connection. Come hear about these transformational collaborations, and join the conversation to brainstorm ways to creatively develop or expand similar programs within your own campus environment!

10.05: The Systemic Under-Resourcing of Disability Services and The Misguided Panacea of “Self-Care”

Antonia DeMichiel, M.A., University of San Francisco 
Lisa Petro, J.D., ACSW, UC College of the Law San Francisco
Are you sick of being prescribed self-care practices when the field of Disability Services is systemically under-resourced? Disability professionals perform tremendous amounts of underrecognized and unpaid emotional labor in holding space for students. This session seeks to dismantle common narratives that “self-care” is the answer to our most pressing concerns and that issues of trauma and burnout are to be addressed on an individual level. As caseloads grow and student needs become more complex, many professionals are not being provided tangible knowledge and tools to address this demand for services. Presenters recognize the systemic issues underpinning the lack of resources many disability offices face, and that we must advocate in our own way within our institutions. Combining their expertise in Social Work and Student Affairs, the presenters focus on how to resource ourselves in culturally responsive ways and build up our resilience to meet the demands of the profession.

10.06: Why Your Disability Implementation Challenge Is Actually an Adaptive Leadership Problem

JT Sangsland, M.Ed., University of Michigan
Though many challenges to implementation initially present as technical challenges with straight forward solutions, some are juggernauts that keep us up at night. This workshop will strengthen your skills in sorting technical problems from more complex, adaptive leadership challenges. And explore, then practice during the session, using theoretical frameworks to transform those "stuck" conversations into systemic change. This workshop is designed for new and seasoned leaders implementing change in their organization without the benefit of positional power.

10.07: Supporting Students in Crisis Through an Equity Lens

Andrea Reyes Ph.D., Cal Poly Pomona
Ana Quiroz M.A., Cal Poly Pomona
In this interactive presentation, we discuss the importance of including intersectionality perspective in supporting students with disabilities during crisis situations. Students with disabilities range in backgrounds and experiences, so it’s critical to dissect intersectionality and how we can best serve students with disabilities throughout a crisis. In this session, two disability professionals share their real-world experiences in supporting students with disabilities at a large state university. Topics that will be covered range from off campus shooting, mental health challenges, navigating social aspects of college life, and domestic violence cases.  

10.08: Five-year Review: Disability Cultural Centers and the Future of Disability Services

Sav Schlauderaff M.A., University of Arizona
Janelle Capwell Giles M.A., University of Arizona
Naty Rico B.A., University of Arizona
Dani Lucchese M.A., University of Arizona
Disability Cultural Centers (DCC) on college campuses are important spaces for disabled community members on and off campus. The connection between DCCs and disability service offices is integral to the future of our profession. The ongoing discussion to push beyond a compliance model for disability services necessitates that we reflect on disability identity and culture, critical disability studies, and disability justice principles. We will provide a five-year review and share our experiences working at the DCC on our campus by discussing data, key partnerships and our lived experiences as disabled staff members. This session will be beneficial for AHEAD members wanting to establish a DCC on their campus, or to learn how to further support disabled students and staff. Our presentation will provide space for attendees to reflect on the needs of disabled individuals on their campuses - and to envision the futures of disability services informed by disability justice principles and disability culture. 

10.09: Being Intentional in a Changing Disability Services Landscape

Ronda Purdy MA, CPAT, Educational Testing Service (ETS)
Lauren Pourian MSW, Educational Testing Service (ETS)
No matter what your process is, the job of disability professionals is to be consistent in identifying functional limitations and provide reasonable accommodations for those functional limitations to reduce barriers for students as they move through systems (i.e., high school to college, college to graduate school, college to standardized exams). If we are consistent in collecting key data points for identifying functional limitations, we can maintain an equitable accommodation determination process. This session will briefly review anchor points (i.e., key data points) and explore the application of a variety of decision-making models and how three DS professionals collect data points using a case study and group discussions. Participants will have the opportunity to reflect on their own decision-making model, try on different models, and make intentional decisions about how they collect key data points. In this ever-changing landscape, is it time to evaluate your process and reconsider your approach to accommodation decision-making? 

10.10: Strategies Workshop: Proactively Addressing Obstacles to Access

Colleen Floyd M.S., Michigan State University
Hannah Huey-Jones M.Ed., Michigan State University
Jessica Lutz M.Ed., Michigan State University
Lynne Swerhone M.S.W., Michigan State University
This workshop and strategy session will focus on sharing and brainstorming strategies to address obstacles to access that disabled students face in the classroom, instructors face in their roles, and disability resource professionals face in their jobs. We will discuss how to strengthen partnerships with instructors to address each of these areas of concern. This presentation will be a collaborative effort between participants to share ideas and resources, utilizing a systems lens to identify potential solutions through collaboration. The goal is for participants to depart with concrete strategies they can use in their work with instructors at their home institutions.

10.11: Interactions with Faculty: Moving from Legal Compliance to Social Justice

Katherine Krieger M.A., C.A.G.S., University of North Carolina Wilmington
Davis Wilson MEd, East Carolina University
This panel discussion will explore how offices working under different models of disability work with faculty. The panelists come from three institutions, one with a compliance approach, one moving toward social justice, and one with a social justice approach to disability service provision. Panelists will provide a side-by-side comparison of their communications with faculty in a variety of contexts, and then provide strategies for moving an office from a compliance approach towards a social justice approach. 

10.12: The Accessible Conservatory: A Panel Discussion on Accessibility in Performing Arts Education

Vaughn Watson MA, Manhattan School of Music
Hannah Enenbach MA, AMDA College of the Performing Arts
Dan Stokes MSEd, The Julliard School
Sarah Meakin, Berklee College of Music
Nicholas Faranda, The New School 
Victoria Colella M.Ed, Oberlin College & Conservatory
Avery Pearsall M.S., AMDA College of the Performing Arts
Danielle Kaufman LMSW, New York Film Academy
As the performing arts industry continues its work to increase accessibility and inclusivity for all artists and performers, those of us who work at performing arts institutions have the unique opportunity to shape the field and ensure equal access for aspiring performing artists. This panel of experts from conservatories across the nation will discuss accessibility as it relates to the performing arts and recommend best practices for approaching the fundamental alteration process.   

10.13: Accommodate THIS!: Your Most Complex Requests, Surprise Situations, and Creative Solutions

Margaret Camp MEd, Clemson University
Karen Pettus PhD, Temple University
Bring it! Pack up your most interesting, thought-provoking, and boundary-pushing accommodation requests and situations and prepare to share. In a fun, talk-show format, we will share laughs, explore the limits of accommodation, and get our creative juices flowing as we recap the outliers that fuel our slogan "it's never boring." Get ready to expand your thinking and dive into a think-tank audience-participation session designed for energetic, arousing discussion. 

10.14: Talking Through Professional Tensions: A Roundtable Discussion

Amanda Kraus, University of Arizona
Adam Meyer, University of Central Florida
Kristie Orr, Texas A&M University
Chester Goad, Tennessee Tech University
There are many professional tensions that we navigate working in disability resources. This interactive roundtable discussion will engage participants in provocative dialogue and important reflection on complicated issues that practitioners must confront, including (1) how compliance and equity coexist, (2) the role of a disability office with respect to ableism, and (3) the boundaries of success and access for students. Come prepared to listen and share strategies on how to effectively think through and then articulate these challenging nuances. We welcome colleagues at any professional level, those who represent diverse identities and perspectives, as well as all institution types.

10.15: A Look at Current Research: Three Topics

Researchers will present their latest work, which you can apply to the work you do.

10.15.1:  Accessibility in Postsecondary Education: A Scoping Review of Available Supports

Nawal Arshi BHSc, King's University College at Western University
Finn Stanners, King's University College at Western University, Toronto Metropolitan University
Erika Katzman PhD, OT Reg. (Ont.), King's University College at Western University 
Emma Swiatek MLIS, King's University College at Western University
Postsecondary institutions espouse a commitment to fostering supportive environments, but students report that many continue to miss the mark. This scoping review identifies dominant trends in the current literature on access and accommodations in postsecondary education. We analyze dominant themes through a Critical Disability Studies lens, highlighting evidence that can guide accommodation processes, pedagogical practices, and disability-affirming campus culture. 

10.15.2:  A Review of Evidence-Based Supports for Improving Academic Outcomes: What Works and What is Needed?

Emily Unholz-Bowden Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration
Brian Abery Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration
Colleges offer a range of accommodations and programs to support students with disabilities. However, little is known about the extent to which these programs are effective in improving proximal and distal academic outcomes. In this presentation, we will discuss results of a systematic review conducted by the National Center for College Students with Disabilities (NCCSD) in collaboration with the Association on Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD) regarding the (1) types of accommodations and programs offered in higher education for students with disabilities; (2) extent to which these programs differ based on the types of disabilities students experience, (3) degree to which empirical evidence exists that these programs improve academic outcomes, and (4) quality and methodological rigor of research that has been conducted to evaluate these supports. 

10.15.3:  The Complications Associated with Supporting Students with Long COVID in Higher Education

Katherine Aquino, St. John's University
Lisa Vance, North Iowa Area Community College
As the medical community continues to understand Long COVID, individuals with Long COVID are returning to regular activities with new ailments and the possible need for accommodations to support their overall functioning. Though more research has focused on Long COVID, limited research currently exists on Long COVID cases experienced by students in higher education. Utilizing a sequential mixed methods approach, this proposal incorporates data from two national survey data collections, as well as qualitative interviews that explore the perceptions and experiences of disability resource professionals supporting students with Long COVID in the higher education environment. 

Block 11: FRIDAY, JULY 19, 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

11.01: Leveraging Data, Research, and Campus Information to Build Relationships and Get What You Need

Ann Knettler Ed.D., GrackleDocs, Delaware State University, Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS)
Chester Goad Ed.D., Tennessee Tech University
In an age of accountability, we are often placed in a position of having to prove the effectiveness of our offices or to justify use of resources that are critical to fulfilling the mission of access on our campuses. But what if we could change the narrative? As offices are asked to do more with less, data becomes an essential tool for understanding the impact of diminishing resources on students. This session will challenge participants to take a critical look at how we are using the resources and data we already have at our disposal to creatively shift perspectives and create greater awareness of our respective offices. We will share and explore innovative approaches to gaining what we need and ways to expand our own professional growth using data, research, assessment, and other information. Participants will leave with actionable strategies they can immediately implement at their institution.

11.02: Ask Us Anything! Open Discussion and Guidance for New and Newer Professionals

Jennifer Murchison MA, California State University, Sacramento
Katherine MacDonald EdD, Randolph-Macon College 
Melissa Butler MS, Rhodes College
Krystal Edmead, Northern Virginia Community College
New professionals in disability services and access services have a lot of questions and your presenters are here to answer them! We will review some basic principles of the field then help participants with cases and situations they need help solving.

11.03: Nuanced Relationships: Negotiating Student Placements With Hesitant Clinical Sites

Rivka Molinsky OTR/L, ADAC, CH, PhD, School of Health Sciences at Touro University

Universities are required to provide equal access to education to all students regardless of disability status. For health science programs, that includes the clinical components required for graduation and licensure. Those clinical placements are with community partners and affiliates who are not obligated to provide equal access and can deny a student placement at will. This session will invite discussion on how to navigate clinical site accommodations to increase the inclusion of students with disabilities in healthcare education.

11.04: How Many Staff Should My Office Have? Advocating for Reasonable Disability Office Staffing Levels

Sally Scott Ph.D., AHEAD
Bea Awoniyi Ph.D., Santa Fe College
Erin Braselmann, Bard College
Linda Sullivan, Dartmouth College
Eric Trekell, University of Washington
AHEAD has developed new resources providing guidance on reasonable staffing levels in campus disability offices, which include a White Paper, an office self-assessment rubric, and examples of successful advocacy for resources. Rather than recommending a one-size fits all student-staff ratio, the new guidance provides the rationale and resources for each campus to examine its mission driven service and the overall workload of the office to identify and communicate their particular staffing and resource needs. After a brief overview of the new resources, experienced colleagues from three different campuses will share the details of their own experiences successfully growing the staff within the office, providing strategies and advice for use on your own campus.

11.05: Searching for, Hiring, and Onboarding New Disability Services Staff

Kirsten Behling , Tufts University
This session is designed to guide participants through best practices around hiring and on-boarding new staff. We will start with justifications for the positions, job description development, hiring schedules and questions and lead attendees through thinking through the on-boarding process. 

11.06: Infusing Joy into the Workplace: Tips for Leaders for Retention of Staff

Julie Olson Rand M.Ed., University of Minnesota- Twin Cities
Alyssa Klenotich M.S., Macalester College
In this workshop, we will focus on how leaders within higher education can better retain staff by building community, and infusing joy into the workplace. We will use the theoretical framework of a Window of Tolerance, with a twist, and provide opportunities to reflect and connect with colleagues on how to serve as anchors, utilize recommendations from the literature around employee engagement and retention, and discuss options for implementation of recommended interventions. While this workshop is geared towards leaders in higher education, employees and emerging leaders will also benefit by engaging with the content, and bringing their experience into group discussions. Our aim is to support teams who wish to ensure career longevity within higher education and the disability services field.

11.07: Disabling DEI: Centering Disability Justice in Diversity Efforts

Tiffany Gray Ed.D, Davidson College
Gabby Morreale B.A., Davidson College
Disability is diversity. Just as race, class, gender, sexuality, and all other forms of human experience constitute diversity, disability is not only part of diversity but is the core of it. This session will invite participants to explore disability as a starting place to connect and think through how other forms of social identity experiences are interconnected. Too often, expressions of disability in higher education only appear in compliance to the Americans with Disabilities Act, and it needs to be a central component in diversity work in institutions of higher education. Participants will learn the benefits of collaboration between diversity, equity, and inclusion offices and disability resources offices. Participants will leave this session with an assessment of their own campus related to disability and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives. Their resulting plans for enhancing resources and access will take expressions of disability from accommodations into disability as a celebrated identity.

11.08: Barriers to Access and Equity in Higher Ed: The Role of Documentation in the Accommodation Process

Christine Lew, University of Washington
Olivia Acuff, University of Washington 
Davi Kallman Ph.D, Tacoma Community College
With growing research and awareness about how access to the medical system is not equitable for students of color, undocumented students, queer, trans, and nonbinary students, and more- how can we rethink our reliance on third party medical documentation in disability services offices? Presenters will cover the legal frameworks of documentation, the models of disability that it perpetuates, research on who is most impacted by those requirements, and showcase the new systems in disability services to improve equity and access from the University of Washington and Tacoma Community College. This presentation is meant to be an interactive conversation, challenging us all to think about what we can do differently.

11.09: Reframing the Interactive Process with Deaf Students: Prioritizing Responsive Service

Malibu Barron MA, National Deaf Center
Kate Lewandowski MA, National Deaf Center
“Disability resource offices need major education and training for Deaf students. Their empathy and understanding are severely lacking” (Deaf student, NDC 2023). 
This session explores how disability professionals can reframe the interactive process using an equity lens to promote inclusion. Deaf students encounter barriers in multiple spaces, even when they receive accommodations. This session will share student narratives from surveys conducted by the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes (NDC) on students’ campus experiences. Deaf students navigate complex policies, procedures, and systemic structures to participate in all facets of campus life. Often, deaf students face resistance regarding access, from being told their preferred service is too expensive or managing faculty reluctance in implementing accommodations. These challenges may lead to trauma, which ultimately impacts their engagement as a member of the campus community.

11.10: Hot Topics in Neurodiversity 2024:  A Community Conversation Continued

Adam Lalor Ph.D., Landmark College
Emily Helft Ed.S., Landmark College
Although coined in the 1990s, higher education has only recently begun to explore the concept of neurodiversity. As such, new and complex issues related to it are arising at a rapid pace. Some of these issues have been particularly complex resulting in a wide variety of opinions. Join us for a facilitated conversation about some of these hot topics in neurodiversity that the AHEAD community started at last year’s conference in Portland. Come prepared to discuss!

11.11: When Faculty say “No”: The Interactive Process to Determining Reasonable Accommodations

Rita Inman M.A,University of Florida 
Jenna Gonzalez Ed.S, University of Florida
Have you ever met with a student and determined accommodations, just to be told no by the faculty? After a faculty receives an accommodation letter, there is always a chance they can claim the accommodation goes against the course objectives, calling it a fundamental alteration. As disability professionals, the interactive process only starts with the student. While faculty are the experts in their course and content, you are the expert in disability and access. It can sometimes be overwhelming or intimidating talking to a faculty who outright says no. In this session we will talk about how to describe access to remove barriers, what questions to ask, and how to explore alternative accommodations with the faculty.

11.12: Equitable Access for Blind, Visually Impaired, and Print-Disabled Students: A Pilot Study

Dick Kawooya PhD, University of South Carolina
Clayton Copeland PhD, University of South Carolina
Eric Robinson J.D., PhD, University of South Carolina
Jonathan Band J.D.,  Policybandwidth
Blind, visually impaired, and print-disabled (BVIPD) college students are often left waiting longer than non-BVIPD students to get access to course content in accessible formats. This panel will present preliminary findings of a study that will eventually inform the development of a Campus Accessibility Partnership Model between the disability office, instructors, and academic librarians at the University of South Carolina. The Model is built around the existing legal infrastructure for providing accessible content, including intellectual property and copyright restrictions. Once implemented, the Model will provide BVIPD students with accessible content at the same time as non-BVIPD students enrolled in the same classes. Attendees will receive worksheets and work in groups to identify key elements of the framework applicable to their own institutions to help implement the Model more broadly.

11.13: Creating Disability Training for Residence Life Staff to Improve Student Experiences

Stacy Lee Ed. D., MSW, LICSW-S, University of North Alabama
Jeremy Martin M. Ed., University of North Alabama
Megan Simmons LMSW, University of North Alabama
In 2016, our disability office observed an increase in the number of referrals being made for students with disabilities to student conduct from housing and residence life to address various “issues.” It appeared there was a disconnect in the approach to work with students with disabilities to ensure a positive experience in housing. Over the course of the next four years, members of the disability office conducted research and collaborated with the housing and residence life staff to develop training and offer solutions for program development to help students with disabilities achieve a more inclusive opportunity. This presentation will discuss the research study, the training developed for housing and residence life and current housing issues/trends including possible means of addressing those concerns. Attendees will be provided a framework for program development and have time at the end of the session to brainstorm and collaborate with others in small groups to create workshops.

11.14: The Foundations of Accommodation Decision Making: Staying True to Our "Why"

Adam Meyer, University of Central Florida
Jane Jarrow Ph.D, Disability Access Information and Support
Regardless of your philosophical orientation to the practice of disability services in higher education, the basic goal remains the same – to provide equal access to educational opportunity for students with disabilities. But the significant turnover in our field over the last few years too often leaves practitioners with a disconnect between knowing what to do and remembering/understanding why it should be done. As a result, practitioners may slip away from making accommodation decisions to ensure equal access and instead make decisions focused more on student success or preferences. Such decisions may not only be a disservice for the disabled student but can pose challenges for the disability office over the long term. Using examples pulled from our professional listservs, presenters will apply a clear, 3-step rubric for decision-making that that can be applied broadly, regardless of the type of request or the nature of the student’s disability, to enhance both consistency and confidence in decision-making.

11.15: A Look at Current Research: Three Topics

Researchers will present their latest work, which you can apply to the work you do.

11.15.1: Studying Supportive Environments via Community-Based Participatory Research and CritQuant

John Zilvinskis PhD, Binghamton University State University of New York
Students with disabilities account for one of the largest underrepresented groups on college campuses; however, engagement research of this group has used large subgroups (e.g., students with sensory disabilities) leaving practitioners without the specificity to understand disability in useful ways (e.g., blind and Deaf students are from distinct communities). Using updated disability measures from the 2021 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), we utilized quantitative critical analysis methods and a Community-Based, Participatory Research approach to investigate supportive environments for over 22,000 disabled students. 

11.15.2: Access, Belonging, and Affirmation: Deaf Postsecondary Access and Inclusion Scale 2022-2023

Tia Ivanko M.A., National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes
Jeffrey Palmer PhD, National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes
Before the pandemic, the National Deaf Center released the Deaf College Student National Accessibility Report, titled "Access is More Than an Accommodation." This report revealed that, on average, students rated their colleges' accessibility at 3.2 out of 5. In 2022-2023, using an expanded framework, NDC collected data again from deaf students. The session will present findings from the Deaf Postsecondary Access & Inclusion Scale, focusing on access, belonging, and identity affirmation, as well as suggestions for improving access and inclusion on campus for deaf students.

11.15.3: Disability Cultural Centers and Disability Culture in U.S. Higher Education

Trayle Kulshan Ed.D., University of Maryland Global Campus
This research brief will present interpretations of disability culture and the roles of disability cultural centers (DCCs), focusing on the personal, social, and cultural support they can provide. Using a feminist disability justice lens and Pratt’s (1991) contact zone theory, this study examined how DCCs act as “safe houses” for an oppressed group within the university cultural “contact zone,” and how they might positively contribute to disability (sub)cultures and influence campus culture.