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Faculty Attitudes and Practices Regarding Students with Disabilities: Two Decades After Implementati... - page 1 / 67





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This is a reprint of the Journal on Postsecondary Education and Disability, volume 13, #3, Fall 1998, published by the Association on Higher Education And Disability.

Faculty Attitudes and Practices Regarding Students with Disabilities: Two Decades After Implementation of Section 504

Yona Leyser, Ph.D., Susan Vogel, Ph.D., Sharon Wyland, Ms.Ed., Northern Illinois University

Andrew Brulle, Ed.D. Wheaton College


The following study examined experience, knowledge, and attitudes toward accommodations for students with disabilities of a large sample of 420 faculty. Participants responded to a 35-item survey questionnaire. Findings revealed that many faculty had limited experience and contact with individuals with disabilities and limited training and knowledge of disability legislation. Still most faculty expressed willingness to make classroom accommodations and reported that they have made various teaching adaptations. Several variables such as gender, personal experience, rank, and discipline were related to knowledge, attitudes, and practices. A number of differences were noted in the responses by faculty in education between this study and a study conducted 10 years ago. Implications for practice and research are discussed.

Federal special education legislation, namely PL 94-142, The Education of All Handicapped Children Act (U.S. Congress, 1975), which mandated that all individuals with disabilities have a free appropriate education resulted in a significantly larger number of students with disabilities being identified and served in elementary and secondary schools. In addition, the amendment PL 101-476, The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (U.S. Congress, 1990), mandated that an Individual Transition Plan (ITP) be included in the Individual Education Plan (IEP) to prepare all students with disabilities for transition to postsecondary education or employment. As a result, individuals with disabilities, their parents, counselors, and teachers became more aware of a variety of postsecondary options for students with disabilities. Students who had not previously aspired to higher education found that colleges and universities were more responsive to their needs because of passage of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which mandated that any higher education institution receiving federal assistance had to make its campuses and programs accessible to qualified students with disabilities.

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