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Faculty Attitudes and Practices Regarding Students with Disabilities: Two Decades After Implementati... - page 26 / 67





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take" with the instructor was another style dimension of concern. With modeling and practice, participants became more natural in the presentation of the 17 target behaviors. For example, early on, one participant actually counted the target behaviors out on her fingertips during her role plays and tests. This "counting off" helped her master the behaviors initially, and she eventually ceased to rely on this method. Future use of the self-advocacy training would be enhanced with the addition of videotape feedback to help individuals observe and improve on variable such as facial expression, posture, eye contact, and voice volume.

Participants indicated that they enjoyed the program and that they felt "as if" they were in the real situation when they completed the pre and posttests with the faculty member. They agreed that the target behaviors were easily understood, although they commented on the challenge of recalling all 17 behaviors in the proper order. Initially, they experienced some difficulty in describing their disabilities in functional terms and relating accommodations to those functional limitations.. They also needed to review the "approved" procedures for requesting an accommodation, particularly with respect to the responsibilities of the student and the faculty member. Nevertheless, they mastered both of these situational demands with the input and practice provided in the self-advocacy lessons.

Described in detail in an instructor's manual (Rumrill, Roessler, & Brown, 1994), the self-advocacy training approach is easily learned and taught by disability specialists and other student personnel professionals. The training manual includes an introduction to self-advocacy training, procedures for assessing the impact of the training using role play tests, and specific instructions for delivering the seven self-advocacy lessons. Since the completion of this study, other trainers have successfully offered the program in a variety of other settings, (e.g., three other universities, two community colleges, and a comprehensive rehabilitation center). In addition, a colleague has added conflict resolution skills to the package to help students cope with any resistance on the part of instructors to the student's requests for classroom accommodations.

One should also note that the self-advocacy training described in this study is easily modified to help students and employees with disabilities implement the process of requesting reasonable accommodation in the work place consistent with guidelines in Title I of the ADA (Roessler & Rumrill, 1995). Data indicate that students rarely receive such training during their college years (Roessler & Kirk, in press), and that they are concerned about having the requisite skills to handle the accommodations request process when they become employed (Altschul & Michaels, 1994; Thompson & Dooley Dickey, 1994).

Further research is needed to determine how advocacy training of this nature would generalize to other life situations such as employment, In addition, more research is needed to identify how different types of disabilities, particularly learning disabilities, affect training outcomes, with an emphasis on modifying instructional approaches to meet the needs of different students.


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