Chanel and her nephew, Blake, celebrate AHEAD's big 4-0.
Even though many people think of summer as a time to kick back and relax, summer is busy for me. Summer brings a cycle of wrapping up one school year and preparing for another. School just ended in June -- can you believe we are already receiving requests for fall?
If you are a DSS director or coordinator, the same is probably true for you. You may feel like you just wrapped up the spring term, had a light summer term, and are now getting ready for fall again. I hope you are able to take a little time off to rejuvenate as you ramp up for the “Fall Rush.”
Part of my summer activities include attending conferences. In fact, I just got back from the AHEAD 2017 Equity and Excellence Conference in Orlando, FL. This year, I brought my 15-year-old nephew, Blake, to help me schlep bags, put up signs and make sure everyone got a yo-yo. We gave away 150 yo-yos!
I love attending AHEAD (Association on Higher Education And Disability) because the conference gives me a chance to stay up to date on the latest access issues, gather resources, and hang out with some of you who I work with but don’t actually see during the rest of the year.
Happy Anniversary to AHEAD and the ADA!
If you attended the AHEAD conference, you know that this was an especially enthusiastic year because of AHEAD’s 40th anniversary. Just think of the progress that has been made and all of the students who have been supported in achieving their educational and vocational goals. Whether you attended the conference or not, you can celebrate all the work you’ve contributed and all the lives you’ve touched during your career as an accessibility specialist.
Of course, our work would be much more challenging without the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As of July 26th (today!), the ADA is 27 years old. The Department of Justice published a celebratory document, “27 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” which highlights some recent important legal findings related to accessibility.
Highlights from the AHEAD Conference 2017
If you were unable to attend the AHEAD conference, I wanted to report back some of the highlights of the conference and point out a couple of things that you might want to take a look at. Of course, many of the same topics get covered every year: service animals, web accessibility, captioning, autism, veterans. Those topics were all well represented. But here are a couple of things that may be of interest to you related to real-time captioning and textbooks.
Ever wonder if the budget used for closed captioning is money well spent?
Oregon State University conducted two nationwide studies to find out and presented “A Comparison of Student Use of Closed Captions and Interactive Transcripts in Online Courses.” You can download a summary of findings here. You can also access presentation handouts on the AHEAD Conference 2017 handouts page.
When is it appropriate to use sign language as an alternative format for textbooks?
Daynia Daby, Disability Counselor, and Kristiana Nelson, ASL Interpreter, both from Portland Community College, discussed a situation that challenged their go-to strategies and required them to think outside the box to provide equitable accommodations for a deaf student. Their presentation, “Alternative Format: Textbooks in Sign Language,” provided a detailed account of how and why translating textbooks into ASL made sense. You can access presentation handouts on the AHEAD Conference 2017 handouts page.
Of course there’s plenty more to report, but I’ll save some for a future blog post or two. It’s summer, so kick off your shoes, walk barefoot in the grass, or go float the river!
I’ll be at the United States Business Leadership Network’s 20th Annual National Conference in August. Come grab a yo-yo!
A former sign language interpreter, Chanel is a certified ADA Coordinator and has been providing communication access for nearly 30 years. Her free time is spent on street photography, being someone’s crazy aunt, and rescuing standard poodles.