The articles published in the ALERT represent the opinions of the authors and are not an endorsement by the Association or necessarily representative of the views of the Association.
— From the President
— From the Editor
— Affiliate News
— Join AHEADtech
— Professional Development Calendar
— Copyright Issues
— Building Careers in Design
— Mentoring to Raise Awareness
— Career Strategies for People with Disabilities
— Nursing Scholarships Announced
From the President
AHEAD President Grady Landrum highlights the Miami conference.
As I write this final article, the Miami conference is less than two weeks away.
I have read through the majority of the descriptions for the conference sessions, and I am very impressed with the variety of presenters, receptions, SIG meetings and the two mini conferences that will be meeting during our larger conference. As you prepare for Miami, I would encourage you to plan on attending as much of the conference as you can because I believe it will help prepare you for your jobs this next year. I would also like to encourage you to spend some time enjoying the beautiful surroundings in which this conference is set. The accessibility is great, and the local planning teams have put together some wonderful information on places to visit while in Miami.
I want to encourage all of you to attend the Annual Business Meeting scheduled for Thursday morning. This meeting will be different from any of our previous meetings and should be full of information regarding our organization. We have two purposes for holding this meeting (other than the fact we are required to hold an annual business meeting) and are changing the format this year. First, we are excited about the things we have been able to do as an organization this past year. Second, we really want all of you to get a picture of the direction the organization is heading over the next few years. You will see some new things at the conference this year, and we will be able to go more in depth and explain how they occurred and the Board of Directors' thinking in the process. You will get to see where we have been, where we are currently, and where we plan on going in the future.
Come to Miami prepared to learn, to be challenged, to further your professional development, to network, and just as important to have some fun in beautiful Miami.
From the Editor
Happy Summer, everyone! As we settle into our more relaxed summer months, we seem to spend our time saying goodbye to graduating students and getting to know those who will be joining us in the fall. This cycle of change is what brings an endless variety to our work.
This issue of the ALERT brings useful information for career development for our students, from the new Careers in Design project to the interviewing tips from Mary Vance. I hope you will enjoy these articles and share this information with your students. You should also take a moment to read how Columbus State University used a mentoring activity as part of Disability Awareness month - it was a creative way to raise awareness and connect the students with the campus.
As always, if you have any questions, or would like to submit an article for a future issue of ALERT, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy your summer.
Jean Ashmore, Director of Constituent Relations, provides updates from AHEAD's affiliates.
Most of the nineteen affiliates will have representatives at the AHEAD conference later this month. We are excited about learning what others are doing, sharing concerns, and of course expanding understanding of the ways in which AHEAD does and can support affiliate groups.
There will be a meeting of the representatives of the Affiliates on Wednesday the 14th during the conference. The meeting will be held from 12:45 to 2 PM in Imperial IV. If people from groups not currently formal affiliates of AHEAD are interested in attending, please contact me via e-mail before conference, email@example.com, or at the Fontainebleau. There are good benefits to being an affiliate. If your group has been thinking about applying for affiliation, let's get together in Miami and talk through any questions you may have.
During the 2003-2004 fiscal year, AHEAD supported affiliate events and activities with funds from the Affiliate Fund. Thanks go to Lyla Crawford of the University of Washington/DO-IT, Jill Davis of Montana State University, and Scott Lissner of Ohio State University for serving on a committee to review the requests for these funds.
Jean Ashmore, Rice University
Director of Constituent Relations - US
An exciting opportunity to join one of AHEAD's newest Special Interest Groups.
Are you looking for a way to become more involved in AHEAD? Have you considered joining a Special Interest Group (SIG) but are not sure which one is right for you? Is it difficult to motivate technology staff on your campus to make their websites and other technology accessible to people with disabilities?
If sharing information and resources regarding access to information technology by students with disabilities in higher education is an area of interest for you, then join the AHEADtech SIG electronic discussion list. Discussions focus on policy, management, and other issues regarding the availability of assistive technology and the procurement, development and use of accessible information technology on postsecondary campuses.
To subscribe to the AHEADtech list, send a blank mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org
More information about the AHEADtech SIG can be found at http://www.ahead.org/sigs/tech/index.html. There you will find a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers provided by SIG members as well as lists of technology-related electronic discussion groups and websites that might be of interest to AHEAD members. The content of this website is provided by AHEADtech SIG participants and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of AHEAD administration or the organizations for whom these individuals work.
DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking
University of Washington
Professional Development Calendar
Take advantage of these upcoming events, conferences, and other opportunities to increase and share your knowledge.
Calls for Presentations and Articles:
ALERT submission and publication dates:
The ALERT is now being published every other month. Here is the schedule for submissions:
Submissions Due: Publication Date:
August 6, 2004 August 27, 2004
October 1, 2004 October 29, 2004
Please keep those articles coming!
Call for Papers/Abstracts/Submissions: 3rd Annual
Hawaii International Conference on Education, January 4 - 7, 2005,
Sheraton Waikiki Hotel, Honolulu Hawaii, USA
Submission Deadline: August 17, 2004
The conference will provide many opportunities for academicians and professionals from education and related fields to interact with members inside and outside their own particular disciplines. Cross-disciplinary submissions with other fields are welcome. For more information about submissions see: http://www.hiceducation.org/cfp_edu.htm
The National Educational Association of Disabled Students invites interested individuals to serve on one of three workshop panels at their next conference entitled: "Right On!" which will take place at the Delta Hotel and Suites, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on November 13th to 14th, 2004. Speakers will include students, consumers, advocates, professionals and anyone else interested in the conference themes:
- Theme 1: Human Rights
- Theme 2: Inclusion in Campus
- Theme 3: Access to Academic Materials for Print-Disabled Post-Secondary Students
Submissions and presentations are encouraged in either English or French. Deadline for receipt of all material is Friday, August 13th. Detailed information on themes, suggested topics and a web-based speaker submission form can be found on the Conference Site located at http://www.neads.ca/conference2004. Any questions can be directed to Jason Mitschele, Conference 2004 Chair at email@example.com
AHEAD and Affiliate Events:
Don't forget - AHEAD 2004 will be held in Miami Beach from July 13th to July 17th. Check the website for more information: http://www.ahead.org/conference/2004
Other Upcoming Conferences
Check out these offerings from our colleagues in the fields of disability and higher education:
National Capacity Building Institute presents Collaboration Between Secondary and Postsecondary Education: Promoting Success for Students with Disabilities. Monday, July 12th, 2004, Fontainbleau Hilton Resort, Miami Beach. The Institute is free to participants. Registration is required. The Institute will explore issues related to the transition and postsecondary participation of youth with disabilities, with a focus on improving collaboration between secondary school and postsecondary school personnel and policies. For more information, go to http://www.ncset.hawaii.edu/institutes/july2004/
The Fifth International Conference on Higher Education and Disability, Innsbruck, Austria: July 27-30, 2004 THEME: Scanning the Horizon: Global Perspectives on Higher Education and Disability. The conference, organized by the University of New Orleans Training, Resource & Assistive-technology Center (TRAC) and the University of Innsbruck, is aimed at post-secondary educators, administrators, disability service providers, members of international exchange programs and persons with disabilities. Program presenters will share practical experience with the major educational stages of university students with disabilities including preparing for college, maximizing the university experience, and moving from graduation into the world of work. Seminars will also cover innovative approaches for preparing individuals for a career in disability support services, for training persons already in the field, or for providing disability awareness training in other fields. Additional topics will include aspects of organization and participation in foreign exchange programs by and for persons with disabilities. FOR UPDATED INFORMATION VISIT: http://www.unotrac.org
Disabled Peoples' International (DPI) Summit - Winnipeg: September 8th - 10th 2004. DPI's world summit will be an opportunity for national assemblies, disability organizations, NGOs, international development agencies as well as goods and services providers in the disability field to discuss and share information. A major objective for DPI is the promotion of equality and diversity within DPI. The theme for the Summit will be diversity of people and their cultures and will focus on women, youth and indigenous and Arab people. At the Summit workshops, DPI will share collective and individual struggles for social and economic inclusion in civil society. For more information or to register, visit: http://www.dpi.org
ILSADE, the IL state chapter of NADE, will hold
its annual conference on
Sept. 30 and Oct 1,2004 at Heartland Community College in Normal, IL. The topic is "Technology for Developmental Students: High and Low Tech." The keynote speaker is David Caverly from Texas State University. For more information and registration, contact Annabelle Rhoades at firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistive Technology and Accessible Media Conference, November 9-12, 2004 at CU-Boulder, University Memorial Center. In collaboration with EASI, AHEAD & others, CU - Boulder will be sponsoring the seventh annual Assistive Technology and Accessible Media in Higher Education Conference, featuring Keynote Speaker Kathy Martinez, Deputy Director - World Institute on Disabilities. Session highlights include:
- Creating eBooks using Adobe PDF, Microsoft LIT and Daisy Format
- Aligning the Pieces: A UDL Approach to Online Learning for All
- Achieving Web Accessibility with Section 508
- Digital Collections of Historical Documents and Accessibility
- Assistive Technology: The Key to Learner Centered Teaching
- Evaluating Text to Speech Software for College Students with Learning Disabilities
For more information, go to www.colorado.edu/Atconference
Phone: 303-492-8671 (V/TTY)
National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) Conference 2004: "Right On!" at the Delta Hotel and Suites, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on November 13th to 14th, 2004. Detailed information on themes can be found on the Conference Site located at http://www.neads.ca/conference2004 Any questions can be directed to Jason Mitschele, Conference 2004 Chair at email@example.com
7th National Pathways Conference, Australia. The Gathering of a Nation - Red Centre Summit. Alice Springs Convention Centre, November 30th to December 3rd, 2004. The central Australian location of Alice Springs will provide the ambience and atmosphere to enhance and explore the conference theme, "Inspire, Include, Increase". The conference will feature a variety of speakers, including Dr. Timothy B. King, Director of the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) at the University of Arkansas; Yami Lester OAM, a prominent Aboriginal spokesman and author; Micheline Yoke Yean Lee, a senior lawyer who specializes in human rights advocacy, Francis Vicary, President of Queenslanders with Disability Network; and Kevin Coombs, OAM, a foundation member of Paravics/Wheelchair Sports Victoria. For registration details, visit their website here. http://student.admin.utas.edu.au/services/equity_resources/Pathways7_Conference/
Pre-conference Food for Thought. Elizabeth Delfs, JD, from Pearson Education and Allan Adler, Vice President and General Counsel of the Association of American Publishers, provide some background information for the AHEAD 2004 session on copyright law.
Elizabeth Delfs, JD, will be presenting at the AHEAD 2004 concurrent session entitled Copyright Law and Alternative Format Materials: A Non-Fiction Account of Publishers, the Law, and You. She recently prepared the attached memo on that issue in response to a request from the Assistant Commissioner of Education for the state of New York to clarify the publishing community's concerns regarding the Chafee Amendment, copyright infringement and accessible textbooks. She provided this memo to the ALERT so that conference attendees interested in the issue could have some background information before the session.
April 19, 2004
FROM: Allan Adler and Liz Delfs
TO: Joseph Frye
RE: The Chafee Amendment - Background and Current Issues
This memorandum responds to the Assistant Commissioner's request for information from college book publishers that will facilitate better understanding of a special exemption in the federal Copyright Act, popularly known as "the Chafee Amendment," 17 U.S.C. Section 121, and identify current concerns in the publishing community regarding the Chafee Amendment's relationship to the provision of electronic files for use by students with disabilities in New York State pursuant to Chapter 219 of the Laws of 2003, as amended this year.
Background: The Association of American Publishers ("AAP") partnered with Congress, State legislatures, educational agencies and a variety of advocacy groups for individuals with print disabilities to draft and secure the 1996 enactment of Chafee Amendment, a landmark revision of U.S. copyright law that makes certain "authorized entities" exempt from the rights of copyright owners with respect to reproducing and distributing copies of previously-published non-dramatic literary works in "specialized formats" exclusively for use by blind or other persons with disabilities.
The main purpose of the Chafee Amendment was to eliminate the need to compensate or obtain permission from a copyright owner, and thus save resources and provide greater efficiency, in the process of reproducing and distributing certain copyrighted works in formats that are accessible to persons who are blind or otherwise have difficulties making conventional use of print materials. In the absence of the Chafee Amendment, the reproduction and distribution of copyrighted works in, e.g., Braille or audio text, without the permission of the copyright owner, would infringe the copyright owner's exclusive legal rights to control the reproduction and distribution of copies of the works at issue. Although such reproduction and distribution probably would qualify in most instances for a "fair use" defense against a claim of infringement by the copyright owner, enactment of the Chafee Amendment was intended to authorize such activity under a general rule, rather than leave the legal authorization issue to the uncertainties of the "fair use" doctrine, which relies upon case-by-case determinations and analysis of the particular facts and circumstances in each instance.
Since its enactment, the Chafee Amendment has played an extremely important role in enabling state and local education agencies to meet their responsibilities under federal disabilities laws in servicing the accessibility needs of students with print disabilities in connection with their use of print instructional materials.
However, it is important to note that the Chafee Amendment was crafted to generally expand the capabilities of programs like the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, rather than to specifically meet the educational needs of students with disabilities, and that it does not address "disabilities" other than those that prevent or inhibit conventional use of print reading materials due to visual impairment or other physical limitations of the individual. In addition, the copyright exemption embodied in the Chafee Amendment is limited to certain kinds of "literary works" (e.g., audio-visual, musical, and dramatic works are not covered) and to certain rights of the copyright holder with respect to such works (e.g., "reproduction" and "distribution" are covered, but "public performance," "public display" and "preparation of derivative works" are not covered). It is also limited in terms of who is eligible to claim its protection for reproducing and distributing copies of copyrighted works, what formats may be utilized for protected reproduction and distribution of copies, and who is eligible to receive and use such copies.
Publishers' Concerns: The intended purpose of the Chafee Amendment, which shaped its scope and terms at the time of its enactment, must be kept in mind as new federal and state government initiatives now seek to improve and expand programs to meet the educational needs of students with disabilities. Definitional limitations on the applicability of the Chafee Amendment, which have generated a number of practical implementation issues in the field since the exemption was first enacted, are now producing more complicated issues as government authorities and advocacy groups raise their goals and seek to meet the educational needs of a much broader population of students with diverse "learning disabilities" by fully utilizing the capabilities of new digital technologies.
Even prior to the emergence of such initiatives, a number of troubling issues arose regarding the applicability of the Chafee Amendment. For example, although the Chafee Amendment defines an "authorized entity" as "a nonprofit organization or governmental agency that has a primary mission to provide specialized services relating to training, education, or adaptive reading or information access needs of blind or other persons with disabilities" (emphasis added), many educational institutions confronted with a duty to meet the print accessibility needs of enrolled students have simply assumed that they qualify as "authorized entities" for purposes of claiming the exemption's protection while they scan print works into digital text or arrange for the conversion of electronic files of such works provided by the publisher for the purpose of reproducing the works in one of the authorized "specialized formats." Yet, it is doubtful that Congress intended the typical educational institution, by virtue of its legal responsibility to accommodate students with disabilities, to qualify as an "authorized entity" under the Chafee Amendment. If it did, the statutory definition would likely read quite differently, without the emphasis on the entity's "primary mission." Instead, it seems clear that the closely-negotiated definition was crafted with the intention of fitting the status of groups such as the American Printing House for the Blind and Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, whose "primary mission" would clearly seem to fall within the scope of the definition.
As states, like New York, enact specific legislation that attempts to define the obligations and rights of publishers, students and disability service providers in meeting print accessibility needs, the relevance of the Chafee Amendment to the actions of affected educational institutions threatens to become more, rather than less, unclear.
What is the point of enacting such laws, which establish specific procedures, responsibilities and limitations regarding the use of copyrighted works provided to educational institutions or students as convertible electronic files or in specialized formats, if large numbers of educational institutions and related organizations continue to claim a right under the Chafee Amendment to simply take the copyrighted works and reproduce and distribute them in alternative formats because such activities benefit their students?
As important as it is for issues like this one to be addressed by groups contemplating current implementation of laws like the recently-enacted Chapter 219, publishers recognize that state officials can only work effectively on their end of the problem because the Chafee Amendment is federal law beyond the reach of state legislatures. However, the enactment of state laws like Chapter 219 should at least impose on such officials a responsibility to ensure that the educational institutions that are subject to their regulatory jurisdiction understand that their responsibility to comply with those laws should not be undercut by well-intended but inappropriate reliance on the Chafee Amendment.
Even so, the process of establishing correct institutional behavior under laws like Chapter 219 is complicated by the realization that there is likely to be only a small window of opportunity to get such arrangements right before they are overtaken by paradigmatic changes in accessibility programs that will likely make it necessary to substantially abandon the Chafee Amendment's present role in the educational context.
As implied in earlier references to its built-in limitations, the Chafee Amendment clearly was not intended to serve as the foundation for a mass-scale content distribution enterprise. Yet, current demands for accessibility solutions that meet the demands of disability constituencies other than those of the print disabilities community, combined with a growing desire to maximize the use of digital technology capabilities for pedagogical purposes that reach beyond accessibility needs, will require such an enterprise.
Increasing reliance on digital technologies in this area means that publishers face substantially increased risks that their textbooks and other instructional materials can be flawlessly reproduced and widely distributed without their authorization, causing great harm to the publishers' markets when such unauthorized copies can substitute for the purchase of such materials that would otherwise take place. Once the instructional materials are available in digital formats that facilitate online transmission and display, as well as downloading onto CDs and the use of digital audio capabilities, those versions of instructional materials can be used by persons without print disabilities just as readily as they will be used by those with such disabilities.
The problem will become more acute as publishers are urged to adhere to "universal design" concepts for the materials they produce, and to serve a much more broadly (but less clearly) defined community of students with "learning disabilities."
In such an environment, the premise of "lacking a real market," which justified enacting a copyright exemption as a keystone for addressing print accessibility needs, no longer will be valid. Instead of one hundred thousand or so students scattered across the country, whose specialized print needs did not provide publishers with traditional incentives to meet a market demand, students with diverse "learning disabilities" will comprise a community of over ten million individuals whose demand for instructional materials in a variety of digital formats likely will be supported by an equal number or more of their fellow students without learning disabilities who simply prefer to learn from materials in digital formats. With the emergence of such a broad market, driven by the goal of avoiding the need to retrofit instructional materials for accessibility purposes by producing them in the first instance with built-in disability accommodations based on cutting-edge digital technologies, it is clear that the publishers themselves (often in concert with third-party vendors), rather than the educational institutions or various disabilities services providers, should and will be tasked with production and delivery responsibilities.
But such developments are premised on a unifying concept of "learning disabilities" and the ability to address them "universally" through the capabilities of digital technologies, both of which raise serious questions about the continuing relevance of the Chafee Amendment as a basis for addressing student accessibility needs. As previously noted, for example, the Chafee Amendment only addresses the needs of individuals with print disabilities based on some physical or organic dysfunction - i.e., its narrow focus does not address "learning disabilities" as defined under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to include "a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia."
Similarly, the "specialized formats" addressed in the Chafee Amendment are limited to those which, at the time of enactment, were recognized as "exclusively for use" by persons suffering physically-based visual impairment. Apart from Braille, which generally has little utility beyond individuals with such disabilities, the listed "audio" format was understood to involve only the kind of magnetic tape technology that was typically used by blind persons, which could not be used in ordinary commercially available playback devices. To the extent "digital text" was included within the statutory definition of "specialized formats," it was understood to refer to the process by which scanned text could be used by blind persons with specialized text-to-speech translation software, rather than to digital text that might be freely transmitted via the Internet or burned into CDs like popular music. "Digital Talking Books" and other current and developing formats that not only serve special accessibility needs but could also prove attractive for use by persons without disabilities were not contemplated within the scheme of the Chafee Amendment.
In addition, ambitions for using digital technology to serve those needs of students with disabilities that do not involve impaired vision and may extend beyond accessibility to pedagogical enhancements implicate rights of the copyright owner that are not covered by the Chafee Amendment. For example, these may involve adaptations of the underlying copyrighted works, or the creation of derivative works, that implicate more than just the copyright owner's right to control reproduction and distribution. This clearly is the case with attempts to address pedagogical enhancements by adding or changing the substantive materials in such works.
For publishers to serve such a community, it will make sense to restore to them the rights over the use of their works that have been eliminated through application of the Chafee Amendment. In addition to the issue of market incentives, restoration of copyright owners' rights will be necessary to prevent the unauthorized reproduction and distribution of instructional materials on a massive, market-killing scale that may otherwise be facilitated by combining "universal design" of such materials in digital formats with lingering claims of authority for "authorized entities" to continue to reproduce and distribute copies of such works without the copyright owners' permission under the Chafee Amendment.
And, while publishers can protect their investment interests through contractual licensing and related use of digital rights management (DRM) technologies and processes, it must also be recognized that sometimes there are materials included within a published work that are subject to copyright claims which are separate from those that the publisher has in the textbook or other instructional material as a whole work. For example, certain images, graphs or textual material in a textbook that were provided by a contributing author may be authorized for inclusion only in the print version of the textbook; in such a case, the publisher may be violating its license agreement with that contributing author, as well as that person's copyright, if the publisher produces or facilitates the production of a digital version of the textbook. Ironically, publishers are not "authorized entities" under the Chafee Amendment for purposes of being protected against such claims of infringement.
Finally, it is stating the obvious but perhaps relevant to re-emphasize that Publishers invest heavily in the development of the intellectual content that, at the end of the day, is the only reason why the book is of use to the student. There are enormous costs associated with preparing a book for publication, such as market research, author acquisition, and developmental editing. Publishers also provide authors with royalty payments and assume the perilous legal risks that are associated with textbook publishing.
Chafee places authorized entities in a unique position to reap the benefits but not the costs of publishing a book. For example, authorized entities that were the subject of Chafee, such as RFB&D and the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, could obtain unparallel access to the contents of nearly all of a publisher's textbooks and can then reproduce and distribute the book in a digital format without obtaining permission. Therefore, Chafee was carefully restricted to facilitate the transformation of print textbooks into alternative formats that would be used for specific populations of persons with disabilities, and the definition of who could provide such transformation was drafted to reflect a description of non profit agencies such as RFB&D, or government agencies such as the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. In the absence of diligent adherence to the letter and spirit of Chafee, the risk of exploitation - for both authors and publishers - is untenable.
Publishers are cognizant that disability student service providers who do not obtain permission prior to scanning and reproducing text are not likely to harbor an economic interest in reproducing textbooks for distribution. However, their actions can quickly facilitate the growth and development of activities that will severely impact the publisher's exclusive right to market and sell the work and create a return on its investment. Even more importantly, the misuse of Chafee's 'authorized entity' status by well-intentioned college staff who erroneously believe that not only their reproduction and distribution activities are protected, but they are entitled to do so, can place the colleges and the students at risk of a copyright infringement suit because the Copyright Act does not distinguish between different categories of well-intentioned and ill-intentioned infringers. The methods of digital reproduction and distribution used by college staff can easily descend into a distribution of content that will erode the financial investment that has been made by the publisher, and the value of the work product that has been tediously prepared by the author. Ad hoc attempts at devising in-house security or tracking precautions is not a substitute for or protection from the penalties of The Copyright Act. With the advent of accessibility legislation such as Chapter 219, there is no valid reason for colleges to continue to assume this risk - the new law provides a lawful framework for disability student service staff to meet the accessibility needs of their students with disabilities.
Conclusion: While attempting to describe current Chafee Amendment issues affecting implementation of Chapter 219, this memorandum offers a glimpse of onrushing paradigm shifts in current programs for meeting the accessibility needs of students with disabilities, in order to highlight the growing need to revisit the basic premises of the Chafee Amendment and difficulties that publishers have in adjusting their operations to comply with the latest moving target in state regulation. To the extent that Chapter 219 can be expected to govern these matters pending the next wave of legal change, publishers need assurance that state legislative requirements obligating them to provide electronic files to students and staff at institutions of higher education will be sensibly integrated into the existing legal landscape where the behavior of such institutions has largely been anchored in a questionable application of federal copyright law. Such institutions should be made to recognize where the requirements of state law are intended to alter or even supplant their behavior in relation to the Chafee Amendment.
Allan Adler is Vice President and General Counsel for the Association of American Publishers. Elizabeth Delfs is Director of Contracts and Counsel for Pearson Education, Inc.
Building Careers in Design
Elaine Ostroff, Project Director for Building Careers in Design, announces the creation of web resources for people with disabilities interested in design careers.
We have just created Web Resources written by and for people with disabilities about the fields of design and careers in design <link> (www.careersindesign.org). Our goal is to get more people with disabilities working in fields of design regardless of their disability. Everyone is invited to explore these resources. Career seekers, vocational counselors, service providers, potential employers, and family members:
- discover if design is a good career fit
- find resources for launching a quality career in design
- see accommodations for studio education and professional practice
- explore design schools and professional organizations
- learn why universal design is good design
The project Building Careers in Design is funded by a contract with the RSA National Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center and developed by Adaptive Environments, a nonprofit center for Human-Centered Design.
'Building Careers in Design' is also a new college level online course for vocational counselors. This 6-week 30 CRC credit course begins June 21 and will be offered again through the Interwork Institute of San Diego State University, in cooperation with Adaptive Environments, Boston, MA. Daniel Hunter, ASLA, is the course instructor and Jacklyn Butcher, CRP, is course facilitator. The course fee is $175.
A printable flyer is available online at: http://www.careersindesign.org/flyer For more information see http://www.careersindesign.org or contact Kristin Schneider at 617-695-1225 ext. 35 or schneider@AdaptiveEnvironments.org
Mentoring to Raise Awareness
Joy Norman from Columbus State University shares how they used mentoring during Disability Awareness month to increase staff and faculty understanding of individuals with disabilities.
The Office of Disability Services at Columbus State University recognized October Disability Awareness month last fall through various activities on campus. Because October is also mentoring month, both themes were combined. Twenty-one faculty and staff members volunteered, and fifteen students with disabilities. The students were allowed to shadow the faculty or staff member in the workplace for a few hours. Each participant, both faculty/staff and student, was given a feedback form.
The response was overwhelmingly positive. Both students and faculty/staff agreed that the experience was beneficial. Students had the opportunity to talk about their specific challenges as a student with a disability. Faculty and staff members stated that they learned how to appreciate the challenges that the students faced and gained some insight as to what it would be like to perform their job with a disability. One staff member said, "It also reminded me that simply because someone is disabled does not mean they have to give up on life." A faculty member stated that she learned from this experience "how difficult it is for a disabled person (in a wheelchair) to get around and how much energy and determination it takes." One student commented that his experience increased awareness about being visually-impaired for the staff members he was assigned. He stated that the experience was "GREAT, SUPER, FANTASTIC...thanks again for the experience." Another student reported that the experience "showed them (the department) what I could do even though I am disabled." Students felt that they could be useful. One professor stated that she received suggestions from the participating student to share with her class of education majors. She stated, "Thanks for sending the student my way."
The participation among faculty and staff were diverse. The different departments and colleges on campus included Athletics, Director of Student Account Services, Associate Dean of Teacher Education, Career Center, Director of Financial Aid, professors from the college of Business, Teacher Education, Computer Science, Political Science, Psychology/Sociology, Art, Communications, Language and Literature, and Music. Also the Vice President's Office of Business, Oxbow Meadows (Science Center), Child Care Resource and Referral, and the Library.
The students who participated represented a variety of disabilities - cerebral palsy, disabilities in motor/mobility, quadriplegia, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, visual impairments, learning disorders, psychological disabilities and medical conditions. The fourteen students who participated are to be commended for their willingness to share a part of themselves with others and for their courage.
A display was set up in the library from August until October. The website to visit for the display is http://library.colstate.edu/displays/disabilweb/disabil.html
Columbus State University
Career Strategies for People with Disabilities
Career Strategies for Applicants with Disabilities (AWD): When to Disclose or Coming Out is Hard to Do. Mary Lee Vance, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Academic and Career Advising and Disability Support Services at University of Wisconsin - Superior, shares strategies for job seekers with disabilities.
The jury is still out in terms of what is best for applicants with disabilities (AWD) regarding when to disclose a disability, especially if one has an invisible disability. The opinions are as varied as the ages, gender, educational credentials, professional classifications and ethnic backgrounds of those queried. However one thing is clear: if the disability requires any form of accommodation, the applicant will have to divulge at some point. This, I stress to the AWD, is a matter of personal choice and consequences.
When AWD's ask me what should they do, and when, I always ask them to imagine that they are the employer. I then suggest, as employers, to consider pros and cons of having an AWD divulging at the different application and screening stages. Even though the AWD may not know what it is like to be an employer or supervisor, the AWD can still identify with what s/he might be interested in knowing from a base human view. This process provides the applicant the opportunity to explore legal, illegal and grey areas related to a candidate selection. It also helps the AWD understand why an employer would need to know about a disability, and when would be an appropriate time to disclose not only the disability but also the accommodation requirements.
After the AWD has explored what an employer's needs/interests might include, I then ask the AWD to consider appropriate, comfortable and honest responses. Most of all, I stress honesty as the best policy. If one denies having a disability, or need for accommodation, then it makes it very difficult to receive reasonable accommodations in the future. Not only that, but being evasive or untruthful are not qualities that employers admire.
First and foremost, AWD's need to apply for positions that they know they otherwise are qualified to fill. This is not the time to apply for a position requiring great physical endurance, when you are not able to lift more than five pounds. Nor is this the time to challenge the system by applying for a position requiring say math skills, and you know you are notably poor in the subject. AWD's should not waste their time, or the employers, on such clearly obvious poor fit situations. On the other hand, realize that an employer always will initially write a job posting searching for the most ideal candidate possible. Therefore if the AWD's can reasonably and justifiably feel comfortable that the majority of the job description is a good fit, and that the AWD can fulfill the essential functions/expectations of the position, then the AWD should not hesitate to apply since no one is able to perfectly fulfill the employer's dream description (unless there is an internal candidate waiting to be selected).
AWD's, and people not identifying as having a disability, generally have equal access in the initial application stage. The employer only knows what is recorded on paper (or on-line). Everything on the application and resume can and will be used against candidates, as the employer has to screen out the least likely prospects, and find the most ideal finalist. Unless the position specifically requires or desires applicants with disabilities, it is rarely a good idea to divulge a disability at the initial application stage.
But what if an AWD wants to be identified up front, to determine if the work environment will be disability-friendly and supportive? Or, what if the AWD wants to be "on record" as having a history of being involved with disability-related activities for whatever reason? This then becomes an area where the AWD must "follow the heart," but then be willing to pay the price. By identifying a disability up front, an AWD will never know if s/he was kicked out of the candidacy pool due to the disability disclosure, or other more valid qualification reason. However, there are ways to disclose a history of disability-related activities that don't necessarily mean the AWD him/herself has a disability, and this may be the best approach for someone determined to identify as being connected to people with disabilities. The employer doesn't have to know "how close" the AWD connection is, at the first stage of application.
Once an AWD has moved to the next stage, where the employer begins to do reference checks, it is very important for the AWD to have carefully briefed the references to say only what is desired. References should not offer information about a specific candidate's disability, and should only respond to direct questions related to disability, when asked directly. For example, if asked "Is there anything else you can tell me about Susan X?" the reference is certainly free to say that Susan has sensitivity and experience with working with a wide diversity of people, including people with disabilities. The reference has not directly said Susan has a disability, but has acknowledged a most commendable asset. If asked if Susan has a disability, the reference should be prepared to respond by saying that this is a question best asked of Susan (knowing this question should never be asked of a candidate). If the reference persists in asking whether the response is indicative of the fact that Susan has something to hide or may truly have a disability, the references need to be prepared to respond politely and diplomatically that this is something you are not able to discuss (for a variety of reasons), but would be more than glad to answer any other questions the employer may have about Susan.
If Susan is lucky, the employer will still be interested in Susan, but not have any hard facts to support the sneaking suspicion that Susan may have a disability. During a telephone interview, the employer sneakily may ask Susan whether she has anything she would like to add about herself, or more specifically may ask Susan if she has any limitations. Susan will need to be prepared to answer such a "fishing" question, by stating that she feels very comfortable with her qualifications and skills for the posted position, and that she has provided all the information she feels is needed.
If the employer blatantly asks Susan if she has a disability (demonstrating an appalling lack of good breeding and etiquette), then Susan would be very appropriate to respond in a mildly curious tone as to what this question has to do with her candidacy? The employer will then have to justify why this question was asked, which will be hard to do, because this is an illegal question. More appropriate would be to ask a candidate something to the effect "The finalist for this position will be required to spend a lot of time on the computer, writing numerous letters on a daily basis to our clients, with little to no supervision or oversight. Do you feel this will be a problem in any way?"
Assuming Susan may have a form of "invisible" disability, say a learning disability, this will be the time when Susan may need to acknowledge that with "x" software etc. that this would pose no problem to her. Or, if it would be a problem, then Susan needs to acknowledge that perhaps the position is not a good fit, and that she may not be able to perform the essential functions of the job.
If an AWD is invited to a personal interview, and requires a certain form of accommodation (for example in higher education it is not unusual for a candidate to meet with various groups of people across campus), then the AWD may need to ask what the itinerary will involve, and could all meetings be held in one central location rather than all across campus. At this point, it is now safe for the AWD to reveal a disability, because in this case there is a physical disability that will be obvious at the personal interview. More importantly, this disclosure did not happen until after the personal interview offer had been extended.
Again, honesty is the best approach, and reasonability essential when arranging for accommodations. In this manner, both employers and AWD's win.
Nursing Scholarships Announced
Nursing Scholarships Awarded. Donna Maheady announces that ExceptionalNurse.com has awarded four scholarships for nursing students with disabilities.
Susan Fleming, RN, BSN is a nurse who was born with a hand missing. She was awarded a $500.00 scholarship for graduate study in nursing. She lives in Chewelah, Washington and attends Gonzaga University. She plans to become a nursing educator.
Sandra Carrier, RN, BSN is a nurse with cerebral palsy. She was awarded a $500.00 scholarship for graduate study in nursing. She lives in Everett, Washington and plans to become a psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner. She attends Washington State University in Pullman, WA.
Rebecca Serdans, RN, BSN is a nurse with dystonia. She was awarded a $250.00 scholarship to continue graduate study to become a nurse practitioner. She lives in New York City. Beka is the founder of http://www.care4dystonia.org. She attends Hunter College and plans to work at a movement disorder center.
Deirdre Gawoski is a student with scoliosis and chronic pain. She was awarded a $250.00 scholarship to continue her studies to become a nurse. She lives in San Rafael, California and attends the College of Marin in Kentfield, CA.
Information about the scholarships offered by www.ExceptionalNurse.com is located on the scholarship page of the web site or by emailing ExceptionalNurse@aol.com