Colleges value diversity partly because of the value inclusion brings to the landscape of higher education. Yet, while students with disabilities who obtain a degree are more likely to go on to competitive employment and economic independence, many individuals with disabilities remain underemployed in our increasingly complex economy. A marked increase in the number of students with disabilities on campuses worldwide has been facilitated by societal changes in increased acceptance and reduced stigma, improved treatment modalities and enhanced survivability, the internet revolution that brought digital and online course offerings, and increasingly robust state, local and federal mandates protecting the access rights of individuals with disabilities Add to that estimates that as many as 20 percent of U.S. college age students experience a disabling mental condition and upwards of 60 percent report being incapacitated by stress, and it’s clear that a coordinated response is required to ensure our students can succeed.
At Boston University, we pride ourselves on the quality and breadth of our offerings to students, faculty, staff guests, and visitors with disabilities. This talk will introduce the newly renamed office of Disability and Access Services, discuss its model for working with students, campus partnerships, challenges, and plans for the future. Particular areas of emphasis will be on achieving physical and virtual access and working with students with psychiatric disorders (including autism).
Lorraine E. Wolf, PhD, serves as BU’s Director of Disability & Access Services and 504 Coordinator, where she leads a team of six professional and three support staff who serve more than 1,000 students per semester. She received a bachelor’s degree from Hampshire College with concentrations in Genetics and Bioethics, a master’s degree in General Psychology from New York University, and a doctorate in Basic and Applied Neurocognition from the City University of New York. She has taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels, is a national and international presenter on disability topics in higher education, and has co-authored and co-edited several books. She also co-developed “Strategic Education for the Autism Spectrum”, a widely adopted support model for students on the autism spectrum in higher education. Her research interests include attention and self-regulation in neurodevelopmental disorders and service delivery for college students with autism, attention deficit disorders and psychiatric disabilities.
This event is free to Members.
BUWG Host: Elizabeth Flagg