I want to thank you for coming out this afternoon for this workshop on assisting students with disabilities. I hope to keep this informal and if you have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to interrupt me at any point. Today we’re going to talk some about the laws that mandate access for students, awareness issues; the types of disabilities found at the College and the types of accommodations most often used with a specific disability. There is an estimated 40 million adults with some form of disability. Almost one in 11 full-time, first-time freshmen enrolled in college in 1991 reported a disability, up from one in 38 in 1978. This translates into about 9 percent of the total (over 150,000 students) who reported disabilities described as hearing, speech, orthopedic, learning, health-related, low vision or blind, or other conditions. Students with disabilities are taking their places on American campuses in increasing numbers. Disability, as with race, age, and religion, is an important factor in the diversity of a college. As we attempt to eliminate barriers, we come to realize how critical the understanding and support of faculty is to this process.
Section V of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act is generally regarded as the first “civil rights” legislation for persons with disabilities on the national level. Section 504 is a program access statute that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity offered by an entity or institution receiving federal financial assistance. In summary, section 504 makes the following important statement: “ no otherwise qualified person with a disability in the US shall, solely on the basis of disability, be denied the benefits of, be excluded from participation in, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” For the first time colleges and universities were mandated to make their programs accessible for students with disabilities. This is the primary piece of legislation that effects postsecondary institutions.
Lee College has a strong history of working with students with disabilities. In the 70’s, in corporation with TRC, was a recipient of a grant to work with students who are deaf. At that time, we had over 60 students with full time interpreters and counselors on staff. At the end of the grant the college maintained the interpreters and a counselor. I was hired in 1989 and at that time, duties were expanded to include working with all types of disabilities. Students who wish to receive accommodations need to go through a specific process--one that requires that the student request services through the counseling Center. Appropriate documentation is required and the student and I decide on the accommodations--based on course requirements and the documentation. Faculty will receive a memo stating the student’s accommodation and the disability. Once received, the instructor can assume that the student is entitled to this accommodation based on law. For unusual or extreme accommodations, the instructor will be often called.
To conclude our discussion of accommodation examples here are some general suggestions for making classes accessible. Add a statement to the syllabus inviting students who have disabilities to discuss their needs and accommodation strategies with the instructor. Select materials early so that they can be procured in appropriate formats in a timely manner Ask student about accommodations which have worked for them in the past. Use materials which are available in electronic format Use the disability services available on our campus.
Disability Services:Working with Students WhoAre Deaf or Hard of Hearing Rosemary Coffman, PhD, CRC
Presentation Overview• Introduction• The Law• Deafness defined• Communication tips• Classroom accommodations• Universal Design• Lee College’s Office of Disability Services• DO-IT Prof Project
Introduction• In the U.S., 45 million adults with a disability• 28 million with a hearing loss• Understanding and support of faculty and staff is critical
The LawSection 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act“No otherwise qualified person with a disability shall , solely on the basis of disability, be denied the benefits of, be excluded from participation, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance” The Americans with Disabilities Act Civil rights legislation which reaffirms the 504 regulationsand brings new attention to disability issues and the rights of people with disabilities
Deafness Defined• Beyond the audiogram• Prelingual versus postlingual• Implications on learning English• Mode of Communication – Oral – American Sign Language National Information Center on Deafness
Communication Tips• Even a small impairment will hamper understanding• Get the person’s attention• Face the person• Make sure the person can clearly see your mouth and face• Try to talk in a quiet area• Speak and enunciate clearly and normally
Communication Tips (con’t)• Use your voice, but don’t shout• Use facial expressions and body language• Be sensitive to whether the person is understanding• Write technical or difficult vocabulary on the board• Rephrase sentences• Use paper/pencil or visual aids as necessary
Remember!• Problems with English are common• The interpreter’s role is to facilitate communication• The best source of information is the student• If the student is not watching, he or she is not listening
Classroom Accommodations• Sign language interpreters• Seating arrangements• Provide written information as much as possible• Repeat questions and comments of the other students• Notetakers The Faculty Room
Using an Interpreter• Rights and responsibilities• Role of the interpreter• Interpreter’s code of ethics• Speak directly to the student• Lee College Policy – If the student does not come or is late – If the interpreter does not come or is late
Other Support Services• Relay Texas• Tutoring• Interpreting services outside the classroom• Closed captioning• E-mail
Universal Design• Universal design in learning – new paradigm for teaching, learning, assessment, drawing on new brain research and new media technologies to respond to individual learner differences• Examples: – Provide multiple representations of the material and means of expression – Provide multiple ways of motivating and engaging students Universal Design in Learning
Hard of Hearing• Frustrations• Lip-reading / facing the person• FM loop system Self Help for the Hard of Hearing
Lee College’sOffice of Disability Services• History• Process – required documentation – accommodation request – Faculty input
General Suggestions / Resources• Statement in the syllabus• Select materials early• Referrals to Disability Services Office• Faculty Guide• Internet resources Internet resources Postsecondary related to hearing loss Education Consortium
DO-IT Prof Project• National Project – Collaboration of 25 Colleges and universities and their partner schools• Creation of Materials – Workshops – Internet/Web training – Videos/handouts