- Colleges must become more aware and invested in meeting Americans with Disabilities Act standards for campus facilities and access.
- Some schools are incorporating "universal design" as a standard for the living and learning space accessibility, which doesn’t require special change or adjustment for students with disabilities.
- 11% of undergraduate students report disabilities, but a majority of students never report disabilities like food allergies, autism spectrum disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Most colleges and universities are aware of the Sept. 1 deadline to ensure that all campus programs and activities meet federal ADA compliance standards. For many campuses, the question of priorities arises when trying to assess how to bring the university website, fire and smoke detection systems, food service plans and other campus elements into compliance with limited time and resources.
Campus executives could benefit from looking at current disability reportings, and identifying problem areas with building access and learning technology, as these areas are the most difficult to offer temporary solutions in comparison to dining, housing and transit. More importantly, schools must be transparent about the challenge areas and plans to fix them, in order to build confidence and partnership with students and faculty who might otherwise resent the lack of information, or perceived insensitivity.