October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which provides education about disability employment issues and recognizes the many and varied contributions of people with disabilities.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month was formalized with the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. Every year, the U.S. Office of Disability and Employment Policy designates a theme to encourage continued advocacy during National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The theme for NDEAM 2022 is “Disability: Part of the Equity Equation.”
WSU Vancouver identifies, addresses and advocates for the dismantling of systemic inequities for people with disabilities. These efforts directly align with WSU Vancouver’s strategic imperative, Goal 4: to promote an ethical and socially just society through an intentional commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging. WSU Vancouver recognizes NDEAM (also referred to as Disability Awareness Month), and strives daily to make campus an equitable place where people with disabilities feel a sense of belonging including students, staff, faculty and guests.
The WSU Vancouver Access Center provides a variety of services and academic accommodations for more than 130 students with documented disabilities, psychological or medical conditions, or temporary injuries. Approved accommodations include sign language translators in the classroom, notetaking services, real-time captioning, textbooks in braille, accessible formats for instructional materials, alternative testing options, and accessible furniture in classrooms and student spaces.
Universal design initiatives include faculty, library and technical collaborations to make instructional materials accessible for all students such as closed captioning of videos, recordings of lectures, and sharing notes and content in accessible formats. WSU Vancouver practices universal design principles at most university-sponsored events including real-time captioning at large events, enhanced-print documents and amplified sound for presenters. Improving access for people of all abilities has been part of the universal design efforts at WSU Vancouver, which include adding assistive listening systems as part of the current AV standards in classrooms.
WSU Vancouver’s Accessibility Council facilitates a campus community where people with disabilities, and people who identify as disabled, have equitable, inclusive and full participation in all campus activities, services and programs. In addition to culturally responsive events and equity-minded enrichment sessions through the BaCE program, the Accessibility Council has also made restroom doors more accessible; increased the number of accessible parking spaces; improved accessible paths and curb access on campus; made website improvements for screen readers; launched the Accessible Information Management System; upgraded campus signage; and increased the number of students registered with the campus Access Center.
There is much more to do to realize a more accessible, equitable and inclusive campus. Disability is part of the equity equation. Throughout this month and beyond, activate your advocacy for change and join WSU Vancouver in building a community of equity, inclusion, accessibility and belonging. Below are some opportunities to get involved.
Creating Inclusive Classrooms
9:30 – 11 a.m. Oct. 14
Register for Creating an Inclusive Classroom
Educators, get a crash course in understanding the perspective of students on the autism spectrum and practical accommodations to address some of the most common challenges in the classroom. Topics cover much of Chase’s book, “From Surviving to Thriving: Classroom Accommodations for Students on the Autism Spectrum.” Two books will be given to guests.
CILA presents Dish it Up: Destigmatizing Disability with LaRonda Zupp
Noon Oct. 19
Firstenburg Student Commons
Dish it Up is a CILA series where students, faculty and staff gather and discuss a given topic in an open space. October’s topic is Destigmatizing Disability with LaRonda. You are encouraged to bring your own lunch. Van.firstname.lastname@example.org
BaCE: Removing Accessibility Barriers
2 – 3:30 p.m. Oct. 26
Register for Removing Accessibility Barriers
The Access Center is committed to supporting the university’s goal to promote equity, diversity and inclusion. Creating a campus environment that is truly accessible and inclusive of all people requires everyone’s participation. The aim is to help remove barriers to academic success and provide support to foster student learning and engagement in all opportunities available at the university.
BaCE: Accessible Documents
11 a.m. Oct. 27
Register for Accessible Documents
Learn the importance of captioning videos and strategies to ensure your office documents are accessible using the tools built into Microsoft Office.
BaCE: Disability Etiquette
2 – 4:15 p.m. Oct. 31
Register for Disability Etiquette
Increase your awareness about disability access, equity, inclusion and etiquette. Explore physical and attitudinal barriers that may prevent full student participation in the classroom and university community. Learn more about your role in the accommodations process, increase your comfort and confidence in teaching and working with people with disabilities, and learn how you can become a source of empowerment and change in reframing the traditional notions of disability.