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Faculty Attitudes and Practices Regarding Students with Disabilities: Two Decades After Implementati... - page 6 / 67

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A descriptive item analysis was conducted regarding the frequency of the responses for all items. Chi square tests were conducted to examine differences in responses (the dependent variable) as determined by the independent variables of gender, personal experience, academic rank, and academic discipline. An alpha level of .05 was established for null hypothesis rejection.

Results

Faculty Knowledge, Experience, and Accommodations

Table 2 presents percent and means of 4-point scales (1= low, 4 = high) regarding faculty experience with individuals with disabilities, their willingness to make accommodations, and their knowledge of disabilities, disability legislation, and services. A substantial number of faculty members (64.2%) reported limited personal contact with individuals who have disabilities (M = 2.16). Even more (83.5%) reported limited teaching contact in higher education (M = 1.74). About half of the respondents reported having contact in their classes (not reported in Table 2) with students with learning disabilities (54.3%), or with students with visual impairments (52.1 %), hearing impairments (54.1 %), and students with orthopedic impairments (46.4%). Faculty had less teaching contact with students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (20.2%), students with psychiatric disabilities (24.8%), and students with chronic health illnesses (20.7%). More than 40% of faculty indicated that they had limited knowledge and skills for making requested accommodations (M = 2.63), and two thirds reported spending little time in making accommodations (M= 2.06). Most (68.2%) spent less than 30 minutes per student per week (M = 1.40). A majority of faculty (88%), however, expressed a willingness to provide accommodations if such requests were made (M= 3.76). Interestingly, many faculty (54.6%) were unfamiliar with resources and services on campus serving students with disabilities (M = 2.36). Sixty two percent reported that they had no contact with these service providers and an additional 24% said they had very limited contact (M = 1.56). A large number of faculty (82%) reported having limited or no training in the area of disabilities (M = 1.60). Many indicated that they had no familiarity (66.7%) or very limited familiarity (14%) with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (M = 1.62). Forty percent were not familiar with ADA and 26% had only limited familiarity with this law (M = 2.10).

Faculty Reported Teaching Accommodations

Faculty were requested to provide open ended comments regarding accommodations they provide for students with all types of disabilities (verbal statement concerning behavior). All reported accommodations were organized into six categories. In classifying these responses categories similar to those provided in the literature were used (Mathews et al., 1987; Nelson et al., 1990; Rose, 1993). These categories and examples of adaptations are presented below.

1. Instructional accommodations. For example manipulation of visual input and verbal cuing. Comments were: "Enlarging handouts for class;" "writing more on the board in the classroom;" "Face them when talking, use more hand signals;" "For deaf students provide

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