April 2012 ALERT
- Letter From the Editor
- Message From Ahead President
- Ahead Standing Committee On Public Policy
- Ahead Standing Committee On Professional Development
- Affiliate's Corner
- Sig Update
- Learning Differences And Employment
- Professional Development Opportunities
Conference time is almost upon us! Where did the last 9 months go? In just 3 more months, we will all be gathering at the annual conference in New Orleans. Hopefully by now many of you have looked through the registration materials. If you haven’t they are on the AHEAD web page. What a wonderful line up we have. Once again we have two full days of pre-conferences. If you are able to arrive on or before Tuesday, I highly recommend attending the welcome reception. It is a great opportunity to catch up with friends and meet some new ones and this year it is in conjunction with the opening plenary. The week looks packed full of wonderful presentations and closes with one of the more popular sessions of the legal cases in review. Those impact all of us every day and if you are like me, it can be difficult to stay on top of all of them all the time. So, to get a summary of the most important ones in one session is an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed. And what a fun place to be- New Orleans. It isn’t Mardi Gras, but I think we will make our own Mardi Gras in July. So, make sure to block off your calendar, plan your trip and come on down to New Orleans and Laissez Bon Temps Rouler!
Emily (Singer) Lucio
With this being a time of renewal, I’d like challenge each of us to be an active partner in the annual renewal of our great association by casting your vote in the upcoming elections. I really believe that once we actively participate, we become truly invested in our affiliation with an organization. Voting is one way to become more engaged with AHEAD. So please do engage. Read the candidate statements to become familiar with great folks you may not know, and cast your vote. The position of President-Elect has two candidates and Director-at-Large has nine! The election is open from April 16th to May 18th.
As you hopefully have seen, complete registration materials are available and registration is now open for the AHEAD 2012 Conference in New Orleans; AHEAD’s 35th Anniversary Conference! Throughout the conference there will be thought provoking and cutting-edge presentations. Very early registration numbers indicate this conference is generating a lot of interest.
- Dr. Georgina Dodge, Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Vice President, from the University of Iowa will open the conference on Tuesday evening with “Linked Fate and Diversity in the 21st Century” laying a foundation for wide ranging discussions and sessions during the course of the conference.
- Garrett Zuercher, an actor, writer and disability activist, will headline the Friday banquet.
- An exciting first is a dedicated concurrent strand linked to preconference sessions, AHEAD Start: OUT OF THE BOX!, aimed to reinvigorate the experienced and enlighten new professionals with a comprehensive overview and in-depth discussions of the issues that shape postsecondary disability services in today’s changing climate. This comprehensive training offering has been developed by the Standing Committee on Professional Development.
The AHEAD Conference, held in conjunction with PEPNet 2.0, is a win-win for everyone and I hope you will be able to be there. For full conference information and on-line registration procedures, go to http://ahead.org/conferences/2012
The AHEAD Board of Directors met last month in Indianapolis at the fantastic hotel which will host the AHEAD 2016 Conference. During a business-filled two days, one topic stands out front and center – forthcoming updates to the AHEAD recommendations on documentation needed by disability professionals to confirm disability and determine accommodations. We expect new guidance to be available in May. When released, AHEAD will provide a webinar to discuss the adopted recommendations and give suggestions on how to incorporate them into practice. Additionally, a concurrent session is scheduled on the new guidelines at the upcoming New Orleans conference. Next Fall, a series of focused topical distance education sessions will be offered to AHEAD members at low-cost to deepen understanding of and comfort with operationalizing the updated recommendations.
Another exciting result of the meeting was a unanimous vote approving a proposal from the Standing Committee on Member Development to establish two new means for people in other countries to become formally linked with AHEAD. Details on the two new programs, AHEAD International Regional Partners Group and International Affiliate of AHEAD, will be available in the near future. The need for these exciting programs stems from growing contacts between AHEAD and people as well as organizations in non-US countries on inclusive education. The UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD), signed and ratified by many countries, is triggering exciting initiatives across the globe to ensure rights and opportunities for disabled citizens including inclusive education. The United States Senate is expected to consider ratification of the CRPD in the upcoming months, and we will keep you posted on this through the Standing Committee on Public Policy.
The Special Interest Groups (SIGs) we all get to select when we renew our membership, are important member groups. In the event you’ve not “joined” a SIG (or two or three), take a moment to review the 17 groups and consider joining. At the recent Board meeting, the application for a LGBTQA SIG was approved. SIGs often have meetings at conference, and some have listservs and webpages as well. Please don’t be shy about becoming involved with the SIG(s) that may be of interest to you. These groups bring an important, focused, richness to our profession.
The Standing Committee on Diversity welcomed a new chair this month. Jose Soto from Southeast Community College in Lincoln, Nebraska has accepted the appointment to lead this essential committee for the next two-years. Sincere thanks to Randy Borst of SUNY Buffalo who had served as the previous chair.
Although you’ll not find annoying campaign ads coming at you daily, as we are encountering this election year, please do remember to cast your vote in the upcoming AHEAD election.
Enjoy good spring days in the upcoming months!
Jean Ashmore, President
On April 4, 2012, the public policy committee, on behalf of the organization, submitted a public comment to the Department of Justice related to the implementation of accessibility rules pertaining to swimming pools, spas and other fitness facilities at hotels, motels and other community organizations. The implementation of the rules has been challenged and Justice opened a public comment period to gather feedback from interested parties. Several business organizations submitted comments in favor of a delay; AHEAD, and other disability rights’ organizations, submitted comments against delaying the implementation.
The full text of AHEAD’s comment is below:
The Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) is the premier professional association committed to full participation of persons with disabilities in postsecondary education. Our members work with students with disabilities across all sectors of postsecondary education from small community colleges to large research universities. On behalf of our members, AHEAD urges the Department of Justice to implement the new regulations related to swimming pool accessibility without delay.
On college campuses throughout the country, students are utilizing sports and recreational facilities, including swimming pools, for a variety of social and academic reasons. Physical education classes, such as swimming, therapeutic recreation, first aid and other water aquatics, are offered in campus swimming pools. On member campuses throughout the country, but particularly in the southern states, orientation and other student life programs schedule events in the swimming pools located on campus. Students may also engage in programs and activities that take them to locations outside of the college campus, including businesses and organizations that do not currently have to ensure that their facilities are accessible, due to the differing applicability of federal laws. As an example, students with disabilities participating in college-sponsored trips where overnight accommodations at a hotel are necessary may not enjoy the same access to the hotel’s amenities as those students without disabilities. This poses not only a challenge for the colleges and universities sponsoring these activities, events and trips but also the risk of being out of compliance with the law. Our institutions are mandated to ensure our programs, activities and services are accessible yet we cannot reasonably ensure that our students with disabilities will have equal access to facilities when travelling off-campus if the implementation of these rules is delayed.
In addition to school-sponsored events, our students with disabilities patronize pools and fitness facilities within the local community surrounding the college and in their hometowns. Regular exercise and fitness are critical to the overall health and wellness of individuals with disabilities, as it is equally so to those without disabilities, to prevent and limit future medical care costs. Upon completion of their college degrees, our students are likely to take advantage of the advancements in accessible transportation and travel for both business and pleasure, making the availability of accessible fitness facilities crucial.
The new regulations were developed through a deliberative, exhaustive, public process that provided ample opportunities for those opposed to voice their concerns and influence the development of the regulations. The regulations were first published in September 2010, providing owners and operators of facilities with pools and spas ample time to address any issues or questions regarding compliance. The concepts of program accessibility and readily achievable barrier removal provide operators and business owners with alternatives and protections against undue financial burdens that are offset by available tax incentives for improving access to business.
AHEAD believes that Justice should move forward without further delay to make effective the requirements to provide access to pools, wading pools, and spas on May 21, 2012, and to resist this sudden realization of impact resulting in last minute efforts to undermine the seven year deliberative and inclusive process that lead to the development of the standard. Ignorance is not an excuse. AHEAD also requests that Justice clarify that the current delay applies only to existing pools, wading pools, and spas and does not excuse newly constructed or altered pools during this period.
The Standing Committee on Professional Development is pleased to announce AHEAD’s first program of professional development offered during its annual conference.
Designed for disability resource directors, coordinators and staff who are new to the field or seeking to refresh their approach, AHEAD START: OUT OF THE BOX! will offer a comprehensive overview and in-depth discussions of the issues that shape postsecondary disability services in today’s changing climate. Through lecture, discussion, resource sharing and relationship development, this conference experience will expose or reacquaint attendees with the ways in which our philosophical underpinnings in social justice and civil rights legislation inform the practical realities of providing disability service and consultation in higher education.
The program offers a choice of two full-day preconference sessions, concurrent presentations during each time block, the chance to meet with AHEAD’s Board to discuss leadership opportunities and learn more about the Association and a certificate to participants who register for and attend at least six of the ten concurrent sessions. Additionally, we are pleased that AHEAD is able to offer $100 off their final registration cost for members who take advantage of the full program. Please check your registration materials for more information and join us.
By Terra Beethe, M.S.
AzPAC is sponsoring a spring workshop on May 14th and 15th titled “Learning Disabilities & Psych educational Assessment: From Theory, to Understanding, to Practice” by Dr. Rhonda H. Rapp from St. Mary’s University.
Capital Area C-AHEAD
2012 Capital Area AHEAD (C-AHEAD) Annual Conference
“Accessibility, Inclusiveness, and Legal Compliance in Higher Education: Practical Applications for Your Campus and Online Disability Services”
Friday, June 8, 2012. 9am – 3:30pm
Loyola University Maryland
Columbia Campus, Graduate Center (GCCC)
8890 McGaw Road, Columbia MD 21045
Contact: Hope Fisher, FisherH@TrinityDC.edu, 202-884-9358
ILLOWA (Iowa and Illinois AHEAD)
ILLOWA AHEAD will be hosting its regional conference entitled “Doing More with Less” on April 12-13, 2012 in Champaign, IL. L. Scott Lissner will be the key note speaker and conference topics include assistive technology, disability 101, and trends in law, policy and practice in light of ADAAA. Members of other AHEAD affiliates may register for ILLOWA member rates. For more information please contact Ryan Saddler at email@example.com.
The KY AHEAD conference is May 15-16 at Lake Barkley State Park in Cadiz, KY. The theme is “Emerging Technologies, Trends and Reasonable Accommodations.” For more information contact Ronda Purdy at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Minnesota Ahead spring conference is Friday April 27. The speaker is Stephan Hamlin Smith. The President of MNAHEAD is Carlie Gebauer at email@example.com
Michigan AHEAD will have its Spring conference on May 18. The Keynote Speaker is Irene Bowen from ADA ONE. Irene is a frequent presenter at the National AHEAD Conferences. She is an entertaining and very knowledgeable speaker who will address many topics important to Higher Education. The conference will be at the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. For more information, and to register please go to the conference announcement at http://www.mi-ahead.org/conference.php MO-AHEAD
The Great Plains Regional Conference is scheduled at Tall Oaks Conference Center in Linwood, KS for Wednesday, April 11th - April 13th. I am attaching the registration form. MOAHEAD is hosting the conference this year and we will be having Salome Heyward as a guest speaker on Thursday, April 12th. Contact information for registration is located on the attached form.
New England AHEAD
The New England AHEAD spring conference, “How Do I Do This Again? Compliance with ADAA and OCR” will be held June 1st at Northern Essex Community College. The conference will focus on the changes to the ADA and how it affects best practices for students with disabilities transitioning to and succeeding in postsecondary education environments. Please contact Kirsten Behling (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
TNAHEAD Spring Conference in Memphis April 12-13
Theme: iTNAHEAD: Ideas in Memphis 2012
Keynote: Attorney Dan Goldstein of the Amazon Kindle Case
We also have a new website: www.tnahead.org
WINAHEAD (Western Iowa and Nebraska)
WINAHEAD Spring 2012 Conference is May 30-June 1. This takes place at Central Community College in Grand Island, Nebraska. Topic to include "Transition from the Battlefield to the Classroom" Discussions on PTSD and TBI. Please contact Cindy Hahn, email@example.com or 402-461-2423 for further details.
Gilligan and Rogues
The Independent Colleges and Universities (ICU) are a mix of independent schools that are relatively small in nature. Therefore, many of the colleges and universities are not widely known. When the ICU SIG met at last year’s AHEAD conference, Tony Jones, the disability services provider at Milligan College, said the name of the school at which he works is like Gilligan with an “M.” Melissa Butler at Rhodes College said that some people have misheard her and believed the school is called “Rogue’s College,” which is unfortunate because no definition of “rogue” would show the college in a positive light.
The ICU schools typically have limited staffing (perhaps only 1 person), and the staff members may also have other responsibilities outside of their disability services role. Other resources, such as budgets, may be limited. Depending on the size and organization of the campus, there may not be testing centers or central locations for students to take tests. The purpose of the ICU SIG is to create an environment in which DS providers at the ICU schools can collaborate with one another, share ideas and advice, and network with others at similar institutions.
If you are at an ICU but are not a member of this SIG, we welcome you to join us. We have a listserv which you can inquire about joining by emailing Jane Jarrow at firstname.lastname@example.org . We will also meet at the AHEAD conference. We look forward to meeting you!
Gavin Steiger and Donna Musel
By Dr. Michael McManmon
When young adults with Learning Differences complete their college education, they will need support in key areas to land a meaningful job. After years of studying and taking exams, they are ready to find work in their field of interest. While finding finding employment may be difficult in these economic times, it is by no means impossible. There are several steps young adults with Asperger’s and other Learning Differences can take to find meaningful work.
Create a Vision
The first step towards finding meaningful work is to create a vision or imagine a field of work you are passionate about. Think about what interests and motivates you. You can begin to translate this vision into a job that is appealing and exciting for you.
Do Volunteer Work
To follow your vision or passion, try to find a volunteer job or an internship in your area of interest. For example, if you are interested in health care, you can volunteer at a hospital or local clinic. You can start to develop your workplace skills and begin to determine how they might benefit a potential employer.
Shadow Mentors and attend workshops
Once you acquire new skills through internships or volunteer work, you can shadow employees or mentors who work in your field of interest. You may also find jobs at an entry level in your desired field that are supported with a job coach who can help with your transition to the workplace. These key steps allow you to develop your skills and knowledge while building a solid resume. Career counselors and job coaches can also help arrange for you to attend appropriate workshops and seminars.
Refine your skills
You will need to refine the executive functioning skills necessary to succeed independently. Executive functioning is the ability to organize, plan and achieve goals, to prioritize and manage time. This involves the skills needed to navigate the workplace and social environments. It is also important to ask for help, advice and direction when necessary.
Self motivation also plays a role in successful employment. The ability to initiate tasks and work hard is appreciated by employers. You will need to make the transition from college or career training programs to ultimately work independently with minimal supervision.
Reach out in your community
Reaching out to people you know in the community or on your college campus is also a good way to find out what jobs are available. This is beneficial because it helps you make connections and learn what skills you might need to develop in order to find the job the you’re looking for.
Don’t give up
It’s important to keep in mind that during the job search, there may be pitfalls and challenges along the way. There will be potential employers that aren’t interested and won’t call you back. It’s a competitive world we live in and many people are competing for the same jobs.
Nevertheless, with dedication and hard work it’s possible to find meaningful employment that is well suited to your skills and interests.
Dr. McManmon is the Founder of the College Internship Program (CIP), Psychology Today blog author, and author of the new book "Made for Good Purpose, What Every Parent Needs to Know to Help Their Adolescent with Asperger's, High Functioning Autism or a Learning Difference Become an Independent Adult.
The 2011-2012 AHEADtoYOU! Audio/Web Program line-up:
- April 19, 2012: Technology Accessibility: Transforming our Institutions with New Guidance and New Perspectives
- May 17, 2012: Tools and Techniques for Managing Disability Services In Challenging Times
- June 7, 2012: Postsecondary Education for Students with Intellectual Disabilities: The Role for Disability Services
Advance registration is required. Please visit http://ahead.org/events-and-workshops/audio-conference to review complete logistic and program descriptions, package pricing details, and to download the registration form.
Web-Based Professional Development in Disability Services
Beginning April 24th, AHEAD is offering a three-part webinar series geared to those who work in the community or technical colleges (and all who are interested in the two-year setting).
Respected colleagues Jennifer Radt and Tom Thompson will present:
- Two-Year Campus Partnerships: Developing an Effective Faculty/Staff Training Series on April 24, 2012
- Students with Intellectual Disabilities: Community College Responses on May 8, 2012
- Transition Planning as a Collaborative Effort on May 22, 2012
All webinars will be held from 2:00 - 3:00 pm EST
Join us for this special event!
Full details and registration materials are available at:www.ahead.org/events-and-workshops/ahead-online/spring