Perspectives on Disability, Higher Education and Disability Resources! For those who don’t know me, I am a Disability Resources professional who has worked in higher education for 35 years. I was formerly Director of Access & Disability Services at William Rainey Harper College in Palatine, Illinois. Currently I am serving as the Interim Director of Disability Support Services at California State University – Fullerton. Over the past 25+ years, I have worked as a consultant to a wide variety of institutions and have been active in AHEAD (Association on Higher Education and Disability) and in NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education).
I have noticed some trends in my role as a Director and as a higher education consultant, including the following:
- Students using accommodations and access from Disability Resources seem to continue increasing even when general college enrollment is declining.
- Students with invisible disabilities (ADHD, LD and Psychological) have grown significantly and make up the majority of students seeking support.
- Few campuses are proactive about systemic change in accessibility, both in facilities and digital communications. In the best of circumstances, I have witnessed a few colleges that are doing great things and not just as a result of a OCR Settlement Agreement.
- Resources (staffing, space, technology) are growing in Disability Resource offices, but many if not most DRS professionals are over-tasked. Administrative reviews of the DRS department are often a means of gaining more resources.
- DRS professionals are dealing with requests for accommodations that must be consultative, such as attendance, extensions of deadlines and use of crib/memory sheets in testing. Clearer guidelines or policies/procedures are necessary.
- Disability is slowly being brought into discussions and training about diversity.
I plan to post an article or blog here on a regular basis, monthly or perhaps semi-monthly. I will also be adding links to valuable resources and to other articles of interest. I would love to connect with DRS professionals and hear how you’re doing, what issues you’re facing and how I can use this web site to provide valuable resources. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested. I’ll soon have a way for you to ‘subscribe’ to my blog posts.