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Deaf individuals participating in postsecondary settings have the right to access the environment in a manner that is most effective for them to communicate. Entities can address barriers for deaf individuals such as designing accessible environments, embracing the principles of universal design, and proactively planning to provide access in a variety of situations. Below are a list of unique access topics that provide strategies when addressing barriers in postsecondary settings.

Proactive Planning

Being proactive means to initiate changes yourself rather than reacting to things that happen. This approach is especially effective for postsecondary institutions when developing plans for creating campuswide access for deaf students. In the past, institutions may have taken a "wait-and-see" approach to the planning of accommodations for students with disabilities. However, many institutions are taking a proactive stance on planning how students with disabilities will access the full spectrum of programs and events available on campus.
 
Topics: Other Access Topics
Useful For: Administrators, Disability Services Professionals
 

Universal Design

The term universal design was coined by architect Ronald L. Mace to describe the concept of designing all products and the built environment to be aesthetically pleasing and usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) brings this concept of inclusive design into the educational setting. UDL research shows that each student learns in a unique manner, so a one-size-fits-all approach is not effective.
 
Topics: Other Access Topics
Useful For: Disability Services Professionals, Teachers
 

Creating Access: Campus Visitors

All postsecondary campuses, including community colleges, vocational training programs, and four-year universities, must ensure their programs, activities, and meetings are accessible to all visitors.
 
Topics: Other Access Topics
Useful For: Disability Services Professionals
 

Creating Access: Foreign Language Classes

Deaf students continue to explore academic opportunities in the college setting. They often seek to participate in foreign language courses alongside their hearing peers rather than settling for alternatives to foreign language requirements. Frequently, both students and staff members are unsure of how to achieve successful access and accommodations for these courses. Effective approaches are determined on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration a variety of factors, including the student's accommodation needs, available resources, and the purpose of the course in the overall academic program for the student.
 
Topics: Other Access Topics
Useful For: Disability Services Professionals, Interpreters
 

Creating Access: Graduation Events

Graduation season is a busy time for disability service offices, and many professionals have questions about providing communication access at graduation ceremonies. The law is clear that institutions must provide access to public events and ensure an equitable experience for deaf individuals. The purpose of the following information is to assist postsecondary institutions in planning for communication access.
 
Topics: Other Access Topics
Useful For: Disability Services Professionals
 

Creating Access: Internships and Field Experiences

Field experiences, such as internships, practicums, and clinicals, offer students the opportunity to gain the real-world knowledge and skills they need to become gainfully employed. Deaf students have a right to these experiences in the same manner as their hearing peers.
 
Topics: Other Access Topics
Useful For: Disability Services Professionals, Interpreters
 

Creating Access: Study Abroad

More and more deaf students are pursuing study abroad opportunities which often raises many questions for disability service offices on what steps to take. Study abroad experiences provide opportunities for students to learn essential social and professional skills to be marketable in today’s workforce. Many factors can influence study abroad accommodations and there isn’t a uniform set of guidelines followed by all institutions in regards to coordinating services for deaf students participating in study abroad experiences. Institutions and deaf students can work together using the tools found below to address important questions including emergency planning, service providers, travel logistics, and more.
 
Topics: Other Access Topics, Study Abroad
Useful For: Disability Services Professionals, Students
 

Note Taking: An Introduction

Note taking is the practice of capturing important pieces of information in a systematic way. It is not limited to the classroom. Note taking is an important accommodation in any situation requiring learning, including job sites and internships. Effective note taking is a skill that is acquired through training and strengthened through practice. It is an accommodation that deaf individuals rely on when they are in an environment of learning. In fact, research conducted with deaf college students indicates that most students view note taking as a very useful support.
 
Topics: Other Access Topics
Useful For: Disability Services Professionals, Students, Parents
 

Technical Standards in Healthcare Careers

Improved access and advancements in technology have allowed deaf individuals who might not have previously considered a career in the healthcare field to now pursue this option. Nonetheless, barriers continue to exist, caused in part by the technical standards established by academia and training programs. Technical standards are a set of abilities and characteristics a person is required to possess to gain admission to an educational or training program.
 
Topics: Legal/Policy, Other Access Topics
Useful For: Administrators, Disability Services Professionals, Employers
 

Visual Fire Alarms

In today's world, emergency preparedness is an important topic. Too often, deaf individuals do not have access to emergency alerts. Visual emergency alerting systems provide equal access and allow deaf people to evacuate safely during emergencies. Both the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act also mandate reasonable accommodations, which include visual fire alarms.
 
Topics: Assistive Technology, Other Access Topics
Useful For: Administrators, Disability Services Professionals, Employers
 

Why Captions Provide Equal Access

Captions are the textual representation of audio content in a video format, communicating spoken dialogue, sound effects, and speaker identification. Captions provide essential access for the more than 30 million Americans with a hearing loss. They also benefit emerging readers, visual learners, non-native speakers, and many others.
 
Topics: Captioned Media, Other Access Topics
Useful For: Disability Services Professionals, New Users, Parents, Teachers
 

Research Summarized! Collecting and Using Data for Decision-Making

One of the longstanding issues in supporting postsecondary enrollment, persistence, and completion for deaf individuals is the lack of comprehensive data to identify individual and systemic factors that affect these outcomes. Although there have been several efforts to collect data about the transition from high school to postsecondary settings, including careers, the field often does not have the rigor or depth of information to make truly data-based decisions about policies, programming, or service provision for deaf individuals.
 
Topics: Mental Health & Well-Being, Transition
Useful For: Administrators, Disability Services Professionals, New Users, Parents, Students, Teachers, Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals
 

Online Learning: Benefits and Barriers

This brief summarizes research related to the benefits and barriers of online learning for deaf students.
 
Topics: Other Access Topics, Research & Data
Useful For: Disability Services Professionals, Teachers
 

Accommodations Use Patterns in High School and Postsecondary Settings for Deaf Students

This study investigated patterns of educational accommodations use between high school and postsecondary settings by deaf students.
 
Topics: Other Access Topics, Research & Data
Useful For: Disability Services Professionals