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Faculty Attitudes and Practices Regarding Students with Disabilities: Two Decades After Implementati... - page 56 / 67





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advisors had a significant relationship to accommodation self-confidence. Participant ratings of academic advisor knowledge correlated positively and significantly (p < .05) with confidence ratings on five of the seven accommodation tasks, with similar trends on the other two tasks (p < .10). Therefore, program recommendations address the role of the academic advisor as well as other means for improving technology services for students with disabilities.


Program Recommendations

The following recommendations about improving the technology training services that postsecondary institutions offer students with disabilities are based on the results of this study. Each of these recommendations is discussed in detail.

1. Conduct systematic evaluations of technology needs of every entering student and on an as needed basis thereafter. Survey respondents reported using a variety of auxiliary classroom aids that proved to be adequate for certain needs. Thirty-seven percent of the sample reported that they needed other accommodations. Moreover, 92% of the sample had not participated in an evaluation of their technology needs. Based on these results, OCA has initiated an assessment (504 Conference) for all entering students (first year and transfer students). This review is a concrete response to the call for individualized assessment contained in Title II of the ADA. Involving the student, academic advisor, and OCA staff experienced in technology assessment, the 504 Conference culminates in a written accommodation plan for the student's upcoming academic year. The student may request a review of this plan on an annual basis. This assessment process contributes to two significant outcomes. It helps students make a smooth transition into college (Enright et al. 1996), and it ensures that students with disabilities at least initially participate in an important technology service (Friehe, Aune, & Leuenberger, 1996).

2. Incorporate more types of assistive technology in students' accommodation plans. Consistent with other findings in the literature (Carroll & Johnson Bown, 1996), the most frequently used types of accommodations cited by participants of this study included auxiliary and, often, non-technological classroom aids, such as extended time for testing, non-distracting testing environment, notetakers, and readers. Respondents rarely reported experience with assistive technology such as voice-activated word processing, closed circuit television, modified keyboards, different types of screen enhancers, and grammar check software that would reduce or remove barriers to academic success. In addition to using resources for assistive technology consultation for students such as the state vocational rehabilitation agency, the Job Accommodation Network, and ABLEDATA (Rubin & Roessler, 1995), postsecondary institutions must develop mechanisms for delivering the services students need to resolve the problems noted in Coomber's (1996) focus groups. They include a lack of awareness regarding how to access and use technology and ongoing support in terms of troubleshooting and upgrading.

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