Many students fear that reporting their disability and access needs will result in them being ‘judged’ or ‘perceived differently.’
“Many students aren’t coming forward, either because they’re scared of being ‘labeled’ or because they’re not aware of the resources available to them,” said Bethany Stoltz, Customer Success Manager at Verbit, who works with colleges across the US and UK. “To truly include students of all abilities, we need to take a proactive approach in making them feel welcome and respected in our communities.”
To address this reality, many institutional leaders are also looking beyond just encouraging students to report their access needs, and are asking themselves, “What can I do to help my campus community understand disabilities better?”
To reach all students and educate the greater campus community around disabilities, Oregon State University’s accessibility leaders have launched a method using well-known Disney characters to illustrate different types of disabilities and normalize them.
To dive into this creative strategy, Verbit is hosting a live webinar for its higher education and eLearning communities on January 6th at 12pm EST. The event, Disabilities Through Disney Characters, will feature all-star accessibility expert Martha Smith, Director of Disability Access Services at OSU.
For over 30 years, Smith has been working in higher education to build better learning environments to make them more accessible and engaging for students with disabilities. As a disability expert, her professional goal is to find fun and creative ways to engage people around the topic of disability, with work that has helped thousands of students during her decades-long career.
In the webinar, Smith will discuss how she worked with faculty and staff to raise awareness about disabilities through the likes of Elsa, Tigger and Eeyore, to name a few. Stoltz will moderate the session and provide greater insights into approaches to promote greater inclusion and equity for students.
Live participants will also be able to engage in a Q&A to share their common experiences and learn how to better support students with unreported disabilities at their schools.
“There’s still so much to be done. Students with documented accommodations often aren’t being represented enough and there are so many ways that we can start making a difference in their education,” said Stoltz.
Don’t miss the chance to join Verbit live, meet your peers and learn how to better support and include students with disabilities at your institution. RSVP for the webinar here.