What’s Trending in Disability: Accommodations or Inclusivity? Donna Johnson, Disability Resource Center
Agenda Disability in Postsecondary Education What is a Disability? The Problem is the Environment, not the Individual What is Inclusive/Universal Design and Why does it Matter?
Disability in Postsecondary • Students with disabilities make up 11% of the student population in postsecondary education (US Department of Education, 2015). • Students with disabilities and their peers without disabilities graduate at similar rates from some institutions (Knight, Wessel, Markle, 2018). • Studies indicate that personal characteristics, academic and social engagement, and accommodations are potentially related to postsecondary success of students with disabilities (Kutscher & Tuckwiller, 2018.)
Disability at the Univ. of MN • Students with disabilities make up about 8% of the UM student population. • As the number of UM students, faculty, staff with disabilities continues to grow, so does the need for accommodations. • At five years, UM students with disabilities and their peers without disabilities graduate at similar rates. • Faculty interactions make a difference (Ehlinger, 2016 Doctoral Dissertation).
University of Minnesota – Twin Cities Disability Resource CenterSummary of Services ProvidedFY03 – FY18
UM Students with Disabilities: • 79% undergraduate • 19% graduate/professional • 2% post-secondary options (high school) • Students with disabilities are enrolled in every college at the UM. The largest numbers are enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts
Definition of Disability A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (including, but not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, working, and operation of a major bodily function). ADA 1990; ADAAA 2008
Medical Model Social Model Disability is a deficiency or abnormality. Disability is a difference. Being disabled is negative. Being disabled, in itself, is neutral. Disability derives from the interaction between the individual and society. Disability resides in the individual. The remedy is cure or normalization of the individual. The remedy is a change in the interaction between the individual and society. The agent of remedy is the professional. The agent of remedy can be the individual, an advocate, or anyone who creates change. Carol Gill, DirectorChicago Institute of Disability Research
Small Group Discussion • Think of something in your life that has not worked well for you (an object or device, a course, a living or work space, something you have experienced, etc.) How was the DESIGN connected to its not working well? • Now consider something that has worked well for you. How was the DESIGN connected to its working well?
Video Intro into Inclusive/Universal Design https://vimeo.com/138670685
Traditional design focuses on the needs of the “average”user. Barrier-free design focuses on the needs of people with disabilities.
If we “get what we design for,” and, in U.S. society, we’ve been designing for the “average” or “privileged” user, then how have we been designing for exclusion? • Who were the original users of the U.S. political system (who could vote? serve in Congress? serve on juries, etc?) • Was our educational system designed with people with disabilities in mind? How so?
Universal Design promotes and expands the goal to make products and services welcoming and useful to groups in many dimensions - including age, ability, gender, culture, language, and learning style.
Universal Design: Is a proactive process that can be implemented in incremental steps; Is accessible, usable, inclusive, aesthetically appealing, and sustainable; Does not lower quality or standards; Does not replace the need for individual reasonable accommodation.
Universal Design “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without need for adaptation or specialized design.” (Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University http://www.ncsu.edu/project/design-projects/udi/)
Universal Design for Learning: • Includes alternatives • Focuses on inclusivity • Benefits many students, including English language learners, students with diverse learning styles, students with disabilities
CAST’s UDL Principles: • Multiple Means of Representation • There is no one way of presenting information or transferring knowledge. • Information must be presented in multiple ways. • Use a variety of lecture, group activities, experiential learning, problem-solving, etc.
CAST’s UDL Principles: • Multiple Means of Expression • Students differ in the ways that are best for them to demonstrate their knowledge. • Offer opportunities for students to write a paper, give a presentation, engage in a project or take an exam.
CAST’s UDL Principles: • Multiple Means of Engagement • Students differ in the ways that are engaged in course materials. • Studentswill not use knowledge they do not find valuable. • Connect the material to topics students care about and see as relevant.
Physical Space • Provide accessible entry and clear paths of travel; provide reception desks of different heights. • In classrooms, provide desks that accommodate different users (e.g., people who are left-handed; people of different sizes) – and consider room configurations that build community (e.g., circles rather than rows). • Provide adequate signage, including in multiple languages, where applicable. • Provide gender-neutral restrooms or directions to the closest gender-neutral restroom. • Offer images and messaging (posters, wall hangings, etc.) that are welcoming and inclusive.
Information/Language • Use inclusive language (people power vs. manpower); consider the questions on forms (for gender, are M & F only options?). • Caption videos. • Provide materials in electronic form, to all participants, prior to a meeting/event; provide materials in print at the meeting/event. • Share important information in a variety of formats, including (but not limited to): websites, email, posters, social media. • Learn the best methods to reach particular audiences, including students, staff, faculty, alumni – and also particular communities outside the U of M.
Instruction • Evaluate curricula and materials for inclusivity: consider the backgrounds, worldviews, and lived experiences of the authors of your texts – are there “voices” you could be adding? • Create an accessible learning environment (e.g., build in time for breaks, consider room lay-out). • Be creative – vary instructional and evaluation methods. Consider using lecture, small and large group discussion, in-class writing assignments, timed and untimed quizzes and tests, peer review of written work, group projects, self-evaluation, in-class presentations, online forums, among others • Give clear written instructions for all assignments and review with students; encourage questions and participation from all.
Exercise: Designing for Inclusion • If you were teaching Sociology 3452, what is one thing you would incorporate in the course to make it more universally designed or universally designed for learning?