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Faculty Attitudes and Practices Regarding Students with Disabilities: Two Decades After Implementati... - page 9 / 67





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which they wished to receive more training were: legal issues (20%), classroom accommodations (42.6%), programs and services on campus (34.3%), and test accommodations (31.7%).

In response to the open-ended question asking for faculty suggestions for additional training, comments made most frequently included a need for more written information about disabilities and services in the form of brochures, pamphlets, faculty handbook, or one-page sheets. Orientation meetings for new faculty, additional use of technology and equipment, and additional funding for services for students with disabilities were also included. Some identified a need to train and encourage students to contact their instructors before the course and share their needs for accommodations or modifications.

Changes Over Time: The 1985 and 1996 Studies

Comparisons of the responses by College of Education faculty studied previously, and the responses obtained in this study, are presented in Table 3. In the 1980s, faculty in Education and in Allied Health received federal grants to support curricular changes and faculty development activities in the area of mainstrearning. While more faculty in 1996 (26.4%) than in 1985 (13.4%) reported having no personal contact with individuals with disabilities, a greater percentage also reported having a "large extent" of contact (46% vs. 37.3%) with these individuals. As to the individuals with disabilities with whom faculty had contact in 1996, more respondents reported that they had contact with friends (48.3% vs. 34.3%), coworkers (37.1% vs. 20.9%), and with immediate (37.7% vs. 17.6%), and other family members (21.3% vs. 17.9%) with disabilities. As to teaching experience with students with disabilities in higher education, more faculty in 1985 (86.8% vs. 47.6%) reported having experience with these students. A larger percentage of the faculty in 1996 reported experience in teaching students with learning disabilities than in 1985 (61.8% vs. 33.3%), while more faculty in 1985 reported having teaching experience with students who had visual, hearing, and physical impairments and with students with psychiatric disabilities. (In 1996, the term psychiatric disabilities was used, based on the American Council on Education. In 1985, we used the term social and personal maladjustment.)

A greater percentage of the faculty in the present study than 10 years previously reported having training (59.6% vs. 44.8%) in the area of disabilities through course work, presentations, and workshops. All College of Education faculty in 1996 indicated that they were willing to provide requested classroom accommodations. In 1985, about one-fourth noted they had not made accommodations to meet the needs of students with disabilities. The data showed that about 76% of faculty who responded in 1985 and 1996 indicated familiarity with resources and services on campus for students with disabilities, yet only about 40% reported having used these services. Interestingly, more faculty in 1985 than in 1996 (85.3% vs. 57.4%) reported being "very familiar" or "somewhat familiar" with important laws pertaining to the rights of individuals with disabilities which were passed in the 1980s (e.g., PL 94-142 and Section 504). However, looking at recent legislation, i.e., ADA of 1990, many faculty in 1996 (73%) reported being "very familiar" or "somewhat familiar" with this legislation.

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