JPED Volume 12, Number 1, Summer 1996

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Summer 1996

Concerns and Needs of University Students with Psychiatric Disabilities

Abstract: A needs assessment employing individual interviews was administered to 24 university students with psychiatric disabilities. All of the students were participants in an on-site, supported education service for students with psychiatric disabilities. Five themes were identified as areas of concern: problems with focusing attention and organization, low self-esteem, problems with trust, stigma, and high levels of stress. The findings point to the need for comprehensive services for this particular population of students. The importance of a peer support group and a one-to-one relationship with a counselor and an academic advisor were seen as essential, in addition to career counselling and academic accommodations.

Using Collaboration to Enhance Services for College Students with Learning Disabilities

Abstract: Collaboration is a frequent term in policy and practice in K-12 education and adult services for individuals with disabilities. Yet, its potential as a means of structuring services for college students with learning disabilities has been largely overlooked, To consider how collaborative structures may enhance services for college students with learning disabilities, definitions of collaboration and the context of federal law are examined, current practice is discussed, and a vision for implementing collaborative services is presented. Advantages and disadvantages of implementing collaborative services are reviewed and future directions proposed.

Speaking Out: Perceptions of Students with Disabilities Regarding Adequacy of Services and Willingness of Faculty to Make Accommodations

Abstract: This article examines the perceptions of 264 students with disabilities attending universities in Canada regarding the "adequacy" of services from the Office of Students with Disabilities (OSD) at the postsecondary settings they attend and the "'willingness" of faculty to make accommodations for their unique needs in the classroom. The majority of students rated services as good or excellent. Thirty-five percent indicated their needs were not being adequately met, with nearly one quarter of the students reporting that lack of service from the OSD had seriously impacted their ability to pursue a postsecondary education. Even though approximately two-thirds of the respondents reported that faculty were very willing to make accommodations to meet their needs, lack of accommodation from instructors had seriously impacted the ability of roughly one third of the respondents to pursue a postsecondary education. Twelve percent responded that faculty were unwilling to make accommodations and 9% reported taking some type of action as a result of lack of accommodation (e.g., lodging a complaint with the Academic Vice-President). Recommendations to improve the quality of services from the OSD and to foster willingness of faculty to accommodate students with unique learning needs are given.