The first edition of the Ideas Series provides a deeper understanding of the approach, practice and emerging issues faced by Universities and Colleges within the USA, in accommodating the needs of students with disabilities under the ADA.
The research was conducted via face to face interviews with disability services professionals from Universities and Colleges in the US States of Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Indiana, Ohio and Colorado, during the period March to November 2017. Interviews were conducted, using a questionnaire, openly and confidentiality and anonymity assured.
The main focus of the interviews was on students with sensory disabilities, such as students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and students who are Deaf or hard of hearing.
The primary comments in response to questions highlighted the enormous growth in the number of students presenting with issues such as an ASD or mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. Of secondary concern for disability staff were those students who are deaf or hard of hearing or had visual impairment, who were generally viewed as being well catered for under the ADA. A further challenge was described in the emerging numbers of students with English as a Second Language (ESL) many of whom did not qualify for assistance under the ADA but clearly had access issues.
No Universities and Colleges, in describing their compliance under the ADA, described their position as ‘fully compliant’ and most acknowledged that it was a challenge that they continued to address. All Universities and Colleges interviewed had staff who were fully committed to providing the best service possible.
If you would like to read the full article, you can download the PDF here: