Accessibility Resource Center

Fall 2023 AHEAD Webinar Series

Accessibility Resource Center (ARC) is excited to present another series of engaging, thought-provoking webinars offered through the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD).

The Fall 2023 Webinar Series was created to address current issues that face AHEAD members at all career stages and at all institution types. Some sessions will address early career guidance. Other sessions were designed to provide deeper responses to recurring questions that arise on the AHEAD Community discussion boards and to address ongoing desires for trainings that further connections to other campus offices that support students. 

Please contact Mary Cox in ARC at mccox@csuchico.edu to request webinar recordings and presentation materials (only available to Chico State faculty, staff, and students). 

Neurodiversity Cultural Responsiveness: Improving Communication and Understanding

Sara Sanders Gardner, Neurodiversity Navigators at Bellevue College; Autistic at Work, LLC

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Participants in this 90-minute interactive workshop will have the opportunity to share experiences, ask questions, and learn to better understand and communicate with neurodivergent people. We will identify current practices you are already using and answer questions you have coming into the workshop, as well as those that arise throughout. We will explore neurodiversity as a culture, including communication tools for interacting in a culturally responsive manner. Participants will be better able to recognize and respond to communication patterns and needs of neurodivergent people and will learn methods to incorporate common accommodations into classroom settings to provide improved support for all. Attendees will leave with tools to apply these learnings in their daily work. Resources for future learning will be shared as well. Staff, administrators, and faculty will benefit from attending. 

Leading Offices in Challenging Times: Supporting Staff Wellness and Job Satisfaction

Chris Stone, Washington University, St. Louis

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

How do disability resource professionals balance growing demands on their time, energy, and resources, which can negatively impact their own personal wellness, self-care, and ultimately, their satisfaction in their profession? Effective leaders help staff feel supported and valued—even in the most challenging times. Join AHEAD for a session specifically dedicated to the wellness of disability office staff and a discussion of ways in which leaders can enact practices to help their staff—and themselves—establish and maintain personal and professional boundaries, work/life balance, and professional fulfillment. These practices ultimately benefit not only staff, but students, departments, and institutions, in both the short and long-term.

Psychoeducational Evaluations: A Crash Course in Reviewing Psycho-Ed Reports/Documentation

Emily Helft, Landmark College Institute for Research and Training

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Psychoeducational evaluations are a common sight in many disability offices. However, most disability professionals (understandably) do not have formal training in psychoeducational evaluation administration, interpretation, or report writing. It can be a bit confusing to understand where to begin! This webinar will cover a bird's eye view of this topic, including the purpose and limitations of psychoeducational evaluation, the anatomy of a psychoeducational evaluation report, and quick tips for locating meaningful information in the documentation you receive as it relates to accommodation decision-making. While we can't cover years of graduate training in 90 minutes, attendees will walk away feeling more comfortable with the overall concept of psychoeducational evaluation and its accompanying documentation that is likely to come across your desk in your everyday work. (Please note: due to time limitations and autonomy of institutional approaches, this webinar will *not* cover what individual subtests measure, nor will it be prescriptive in regard to concrete cutoff scores.)

The Role of Disability Resource Professionals on Behavioral Intervention Teams (BITS)

Jon McGough, M.Ed., University of California, San Francisco / Emily Ackerland, M.Ed., Western Washington University

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Every college and university has a different name and configuration of staff engaged in the important work of supporting students in crisis. Given varied orientations to the work, and different privacy concerns, communication is often muddled, and the role of each stakeholder is often ambiguous, leading some to question: Should disability resource professionals even be involved in these conversations at all? We believe the answer is YES! Whether you’re new to BITs or still working to get a seat at the table, we’ll discuss the many important roles you can play from supporting struggling students to addressing ableism and stigma on your campus.  

Wait...It's That Easy? Using Built-In Accessibility Features on Everyday Devices

Dan Darkow, M.S., Cleveland State University / Sean Poley, Miami University

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Are you working with students who need quick access to text-to-speech or speech-to-text, but don't have time for extensive training? Would you rather use built-in technology students already have access to on their personal devices for access, instead of purchasing standalone third-party software? If you've answered “Yes!” to these questions, this session is for you! We will explore accessibility features built directly into technology such as your phones, tablets, and other personal computing devices. We will also discuss specific accessibility features available in the applications commonly used and cover leveraging virtual assistants and other technologies to facilitate and evaluate access digitally. Understanding built-in accessibility features available to ALL students helps advance universal design across campus and benefits everyone.

Understanding and Developing the Foundation for Sound Accommodation Decisions

Enjie Hall, CRC, LPC, University of Minnesota / Adam Meyer, Ph.D., University of Central Florida / Kristie Orr, Ph.D., Texas A&M University

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

As student accommodation requests presented to a disability office grow in complexity, disability resource offices need to establish ways to balance individual decision-making with the consistency of process across situations and office personnel. Beyond the internal decisions, identifying when an accommodation in the classroom is reasonable (compared to when it may be a fundamental alteration) is also becoming more complicated in certain situations. The strength of decisions related to reasonable accommodations is based on the foundation that a disability office develops before critical decisions need to be made. This webinar will discuss these essential foundations and how these concepts align with and guide our reasonable accommodation decisions. As the pressures mount from students and even from our campus cultures, it is more important than ever that we do not lose focus on the essentials that guide our work. This webinar will explore considerations for making compliance-oriented decisions when your office operates from a social justice lens. 

This is the first of a two-part webinar series offering strategies on how to design internal systems to meet current accommodation review needs. The second session is on November 15. Attendees may attend one or both sessions.

Advancing Disability Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Goals in Climates Where it is Not Encouraged or Welcomed

Karen Andrews, Brown University / Zebadiah Hall, University of Wyoming / Melanie Thornton, University of Arkansas / Charnessa Warren, University of Chicago

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

A topic of growing concern for many AHEAD members is the recent increase in laws limiting higher education institutions from engaging in diversity/equity/inclusion work, and whether/how that also impacts disability equity work. Join this panel of leaders with past higher education experience in states including Wyoming, Alaska, and Arkansas for this webinar to discuss how this work can continue to move forward in spite of some recent setbacks. This discussion will not focus on any particular law or state—even in locations where such laws are not in place we sometimes encounter resistance to DEI work. Please join us for this important and timely conversation.

Accessible Technology Procurement: A Free Tool For Accurate Assessment Beyond Technical Documentation and VPATs

Kyle Shachmut, Harvard University

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

THIS WEBINAR HAS BEEN POSTPONED. THE NEW DATE WILL BE ANNOUNCED ONCE IT IS SCHEDULED. 

How do you know your school is purchasing accessible technology? And if a product is accessible today, do you have confidence it will stay that way as it gets updated?

Higher education accessibility experts from 15 universities synthesized best practices for procurement into a tool already used by hundreds of schools for IT Security vendor risk assessments to streamline processes. Learn about the questions schools are asking technology providers and how to use this free toolkit called the HECVAT (higher education community vendor assessment toolkit). Tips for collaboration on campus across units such as IT accessibility, security, privacy and purchasing will be discussed. We encourage you to invite those campus partners to join you for this webinar!

Effective Models for Reasonable Accommodation Decisions

Enjie Hall, CRC, LPC, University of Minnesota / Adam Meyer, Ph.D., University of Central Florida / Kristie Orr, Ph.D., Texas A&M University / Valerie Hamilton, Seattle Colleges / Elisabeth Morel, Western Connecticut State University

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

As a follow up to the November 2nd webinar, a panel of five disability office leaders from different institution types and office sizes will discuss their approaches to navigating individual and group decision-making regarding reasonable accommodations and will also explore how they handle fundamental alteration reviews. Through the details of the models shared, attendees will receive considerations for practical ways in which they can improve their own processes. 

This is the second of a two-part webinar series to offer strategies for how to design internal systems to meet current accommodation review needs. Attendees do not need to have attended the first session to benefit from the second, but newer professionals may want to view the first part to gain a foundation for this session.