Program 2019

PTI 2019 Program – PDF  

31st Annual Postsecondary Disability Training

Sponsored by the Center on Postsecondary Education and Disability, Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut 

Tuesday, May 28th, Wednesday, May 29th – Friday, May 31st, 2019 

The Boston Park Plaza Hotel, Boston, Massachusetts  

Last updated 2/4/2019 

How do  You  Meet the Unique Needs of College Students with Disabilities? 

Come learn skills you’ll use every day! The objective of the Training Institute is to assist concerned professionals to meet the unique needs of college students with disabilities. Participants can select sessions about a wide range of cutting-edge topics in variety of formats, including 3-day strands, single sessions, poster presentations and pre-institute sessions. All formats provide participants with in-depth information and adequate time for questions and follow-up activities. 

Participants also have opportunities to share information and network with each other at various activities throughout the week. 

Should  You  Attend? 

Yes! If you are one of the following, you should attend this Institute: 

  • LD/Disability Specialist 
  • 504/ADA Administrator 
  • Administrator 
  • Faculty/Instructor/Tutor 
  • Educational or Career Counselor 
  • Academic Skills Center Personnel 


Please note that the posted sessions and/or times may change depending on circumstances beyond our control 

Pre-Institute Sessions (Tuesday, 1:00-4:00 pm) 

Pre-Institute Session I: 

Community Colleges: The Same, But Different (All levels) ~ Kristie Proctor & Terri Rodriguez, Quinsigamond Community College. Documentation, accommodations, interactive process, assistive technology, outreach, student success, faculty, ESAs, parents, and other duties as assigned; community colleges and 4-year universities all manage these priorities, however, in the community college there are subtle differences. Explore key components of community college service-delivery while encouraging peer interaction and networking. 

Pre-Institute Session II: 

Scaling ADA Collaborations: Across Campuses and Between Institutions (All levels) ~ Audrey Silva, Joshua Rucker, Kathryn Weber-Hottleman, & Erin Eighan, University of Connecticut.  Continuing last year’s introduction to UConn’s current collaborations in the fields of ADA Compliance and Communication Access, this session will focus on legal obligations, collaboration strategies, website accessibility, and captioning across all campus entities. The session highlights how these strategies can be implemented at both public and private institutions. 

Pre-Institute Session III: 

A Basic Legal Primer for Understanding Campuses’ Legal Obligations to Students with Disabilities (All levels) ~  

Jeanne Kincaid, Drummond Woodsum. New to your position? Do you have a background in another profession but now are trying to figure out how the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act operate on college campuses?  Or are you a compliance officer charged with handling student ADA/504 grievances?  This is the session for you. 

Pre-Institute Session IV: 

Above the Baseline- Building Better Practices for Exceptional Accommodations (Beginner) ~ Kirsten Behling, Tufts University; Andrew Cioffi, Suffolk University. Disability services are seeing more complex disabilities today. With the complexity of disabilities comes the need to think outside of the box. This session will explore the development of policy for non-standard and challenging accommodations. Topics will include accommodations for attendance, emotional support animals, meal plan, social interpreters, and PCAs. 

Poster Session and Opening Reception (Tuesday evening, 7:30-9:00 pm) 

  • Programming Collaboration between Campus Life and Academic Access ~ Meagan Grant & Gabrielle Colageo, Montserrat College of Art 
  • Collaboration in the University Community: Necessity to Meet Students’ Disability Needs ~ Andrew Wislock, Mount Aloysius College 
  • Prevention of Secondary Conditions in Students with Chronic Disease ~ Dr. Ruth Mercado, Dr. Raul Rivera, Kevin Hernandez, Yanelee  Pérez Haddock, & Romina González Pons, University of Puerto Rico at Cayey 
  • Prevalence Trend and its Associated Factors of Physical Activity Among Persons with Selected Disabilities Yohannes DelelegnTemesgen Gebru, & Ali Tarekegn, University of Gondar 
  • Hi! I’m New Here: Successes and Setbacks in Establishing an Accessibility Office ~ Catherine Flynn & Kirsten Behling, Tufts University 
  • UDL concepts in higher education ~ Kelly McGill Seega, University of Connecticut 
  • Self-Advocacy Workshops: Students Knowing Their Rights and Responsibilities ~ Stacy Lee & Emily Baker, University of North Alabama 
  • Creating More Inclusive Environments for Students with Disabilities: Findings from Participatory Action Research~ Wendi Matthews, LCSWMelissa Bessaha, PhD, LMSW, Beck Reed, PhD, & Amanda DonlonPsyD, Stony Brook University 
  • Disabilities Resources at Your Libraries ~ Michelle Kowalsky & John Woodruff, Rowan University 
  • Risk Factors and Strategies for Supporting College Students with Visual Impairments ~ Leslie Thatcher and Kate Katulak, Perkins School School for the Blind, Watertown, MA.

Strand Descriptions 

Please note: Each  Strand  is continuous for three days. You will make one choice from Strand I  and  one choice from Strand II. Also, note the  level of the Strand  appears in parentheses after the title. Please select your attendance accordingly. 

Strand I, Sessions A-D (Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday; 8:15 – 10:00 am) 

A. LD and ADHD evaluations: Demystifying Terminology, Tests, and Scores and Applying Them to Accommodation Decisions (Beginner) ~ Will Lindstrom & Gerri Wolfe, University of Georgia. This didactic and interactive strand will provide training on the interpretation and relative value of the various types of learning disability and ADHD documentation commonly submitted by students. Specific topics will include psychometric score interpretation, understanding frequently used assessment measures, and using data to inform accommodation decisions under the ADA. 

B. Sinkholes, Potholes, Ice, Rain & Snow: Navigation the Rough Roads of Legal Compliance (Intermediate) ~ Jeanne Kincaid, Drummond WoodsumTwo years into the Trump administration, some things have changed but largely they have not.  Where the Department of Justice (DOJ) has suspended web accessibility rulemaking, private litigants and advocates continue to make their mark.  Even though the Office for Civil Rights has indicated a shift in deference to colleges and universities in addressing self-harming students, private litigants continue to bring claims and the DOJ does not appear to have taken a back seat on this pressing issue.  In addition to the rising number of students seeking disability-based accommodations, the nature of some of the requests may be pitting disability providers against faculty who are asserting that some accommodations undermine essential technical standards and/or other academic decision-making. Each concept explored includes tips for providers/coordinators to consider folding into practice in their home institution.   

C. Are the Kids Alright? Challenges to Students’ Emotional Well-Being (All levels) ~ David Parker, Children’s Resource Group. The rise in students with psychiatric disorders is nested within a larger trend of increased emotional fragility amongst undergraduates with and without disabilities.  This strand will explore societal causes, describe campus practices designed to promote students’ resilience and grit, and link these efforts to becoming more self-determined. 

D. Math Success Strategies: Applying Student Skills, Anxiety Reduction, Mind Set, Accommodations and Course Substitutions (All levels) ~ Paul Nolting, Hillsborough. Participants will learn to apply math study skills, mindsets, anxiety reduction, tutor strategies, effects of processing deficits, interpreted test scores, appropriate accommodations and course substitutions for students with LD, TBI, ADHD, PTSD and other disabilities.  Additional focus is on real case studies to determine accommodations and student math success plans. 

Strand II, Sessions E-H (Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday: 10:15 am-12:00 pm) 

E. Accommodations for Students with Psychiatric Disabilities: A Functional Collaboration (All levels) ~ Laura DiGalbo, L DiGalbo Consulting, Central Connecticut State University. This strand will drill down into the effects of psychiatric disabilities on learning. We will review the functional limitations common in these disorders that must be considered as craft accommodations.  Finally, we will explore the collaboration between Support Services and the student’s role in managing the post secondary environment. 

F. Autism, Neurodiversity and the Sensory World of the College Campus (Intermediate) ~ Jane Brown, Yale University & Lorre Wolf, Boston University. The population of students with autism and other neurodiversity is growing exponentially on college campuses. Professional staff and faculty are learning about this group of students who may have unique needs in the classroom and on campus. We will explore accommodations and sensory alternatives that assist all students. 

G. Implementing an Accessibility Process (All levels) ~ Andrew Cioffi & Michael Connor, Suffolk University. During this strand, we will explore the role of disability service offices in the procurement of electronic and information technology. Topics will include updated accessibility standards, established practices for accessible procurement policies, communicating with vendors regarding access, vetting product accessibility, reporting findings, and negotiating solutions with partners and vendors.

H. Studying Doesn’t Have to be Boring: Sensory Engagement, Advertising Tricks, and Atypical Neurology (Intermediate) ~ Jacqueline Ahl, The Culinary Institute of America. Looking for ways to integrate strategy instruction and academic coaching? This session covers the development of efficient, effective, engaging study strategies, applicable across academic disciplines. Learn how to combine the tricks and techniques of commercial advertising with highly tailored sensory engagement. The result? Enhanced semantic memory and higher order thinking. 

Single Sessions (see below for specific days and times) 

You will be asked to register for the single sessions. This will help us plan room placements and give presenters information about anticipated turnout and information about any accommodation needs. You can change your session choices at the Institute – just contact the staff at the registration desk. 

Wednesday, Single Session I (1:30-2:30 pm) 

  • Compliance Issues on the Horizon Part I (All levels) ~ Salome Heyward, Salome Heyward and Associates. This session will explore recent court decisions and OCR rulings that shape the compliance obligations of colleges and universities. Important developments regarding accommodation practices; the responsibility of faculty; testing practices and procedures; graduate and professional programs; and access to technology will be discussed. 
  • Strategies for Getting UDL to Stick at your Institution (All levels) ~ Kirsten Behling, Tufts University. We can all agree that UDL is a great idea! You may even have faculty who are championing the way forward. However, the reality is that UDL as an intuitional initiative does not stick. This session will share the stories and strategies of different schools who have made it stick. 
  • Navigating the Ups and Downs to Caps and Gowns: A Path to Success for College Students with Mental Health Conditions (Intermediate) ~ Paul Cherchia & Sarah BerrettaBoston UniversityThe Peer Academic Supports for Success (PASS) peer coaching intervention is a program that utilizes upper-class students with mental health conditions to coach other students who face similar campus challenges. We will share the results of the program over the past two years at Boston University and hope to provide attendees with an understanding of the effectiveness and innovative approaches used within collegiate peer work. 
  • Perceptions and Use of Extended Time on Tests (Intermediate) ~ Jennifer Lindstrom, Will Lindstrom & Erin Benson, University of GeorgiaThis session will present evidence regarding the amount of extended time students registered with a disability services center use, and whether it varies by time allotted, disability, or year in college. Findings from interviews and surveys of students and disability coordinators about their perceptions of extended time will be shared.  
  • VCU’s Transforming Accessibility Initiative: Creating a Culture of Access and Inclusion (All levels) ~ Ian Kunkes & Crystal Coombes, Virginia Commonwealth University. During the fall 2018 semester, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Office of Student Accessibility and Educational Opportunity and Equity and Access Services joined to create the Transforming Accessibility Initiative (TAI). The birth of this initiative represents a milestone in the university’s commitment to creating a culture of access and inclusion for individuals with disabilities. Through identifying key campus stakeholders involved or interested in the field of disability supports or accessibility and creating focused opportunities for collaboration, TAI has effectively broken down the silos so common within universities and created a dedicated cohort of like-minded professionals. As this partnership has grown collaborations have emerged between student and academic affairs units, administration, and academic units across the university, along with other regional universities and local community groups. We have brought to fruition a series of large-scale events and individual workshops aimed at fostering a culture of access and inclusion, including two annual conferences featuring nationally prominent speakers. The purpose of this session is to provide a comprehensive overview of how the Transforming Accessibility Initiative came to be and how this initiative, or one like it, can be started on your campus. We will cover some of the key philosophical and practical aspects of our initial planning process and share lessons learned about identifying stakeholders for collaboration, raising funds, planning events, and effective communication and marketing.  

Wednesday, Single Session II (2:45-3:45 pm) 

  • Compliance Issues on the Horizon Part II (All levels) ~ Salome Heyward, Salome Heyward and Associates. This session will explore recent court decisions and OCR rulings that shape the compliance obligations of colleges and universities. Important developments regarding accommodation practices; the responsibility of faculty; testing practices and procedures; graduate and professional programs; and access to technology will be discussed. 
  • Successfully Transitioning a Campus-Based Disability Office to Supporting Students ian Online Program (All levels) ~ Samantha BaconSouthern New Hampshire UniversityHear from Southern New Hampshire University on their transition of an office that exclusively supported on-campus students to one that served online students as well. You will learn steps for supporting online students, including staffing support changes, types of accommodations that work (and don’t!) and how to garner buy-in from key stakeholders through your university, even with minimal funding support. 
  • iCAN: Enhancing Executive Function in STEM Majors (All levels) ~ Matthew Marino & Eleazar Vasquez, University of Central Florida; Manju Banerjee & Adam Lalor, Landmark College. This presentation describes the results of a National Science Foundation study of postsecondary STEM majors with disabilities. Participants in the study received weekly executive function training and monitoring from special education teachers pursuing a Master’s degree in special education. Common executive function challenges and strategies for success will be discussed. 
  • Advancing Inclusive Teaching: A Framework for Collaboration Between Faculty and Disability Services Providers (All levels) ~ Allison Lombardi, Ph.D. & Emily Tarconish, MS, CRC, LPC, University of Connecticut. This session will provide an overview of inclusive instruction (based on principles of Universal Design for Instruction), which can be utilized to guide and support faculty in planning and delivering instruction, and evaluating learners.  Presenters will discuss relevant strategies, including accessible syllabus design, course-mapping, self-assessment, and instructional and assessment scenarios. 
  • When the Extended Time Recipe DoesnWork: Revitalized Strategies for Accommodating Students with Chronic Conditions (All levels) ~ Laura Walsh, Colleen Lewis, & Laura Dayan, Columbia University. With an increase in enrollment of students with chronic medical conditions, it is evident the traditional approach to disability accommodations and services does not promote equity and access. This session will focus on updated best practices and an expanded, flexible student-centered approach to accommodating students with chronic medical conditions to ensure access and equity to higher education. 
  • Building an Effective Disability Services Office: A Campus Collaboration, Part 1 (Beginner) ~ Jacqueline Smith, Carlow University. Novice DSS providers consider collaborative relationships across campus constituencies and develop department mission, vision, and goals. A case study of a single-provider departments development of a campus-wide acknowledgment of responsibility through collaborations will be examined. The participants will re-vision their own department effectiveness, and goals, and start action planning. 

Wednesday, Single Session III (4:00-5:00 pm) 

  • Creating a Culture of Accessibility, Rebuilding a Disability Support Office (Beginner) ~ Michael Barnes, Atlantic Cape Community College. This session will focus on one school’s journey to rebuild their disability support office, through the lens of a consent decree. This session will benefit those who wish to revamp and/or completely overhaul their disability support office. Participants will leave the session with an understanding of the challenges, successes, and the overall timeline associated with rebuilding a disability support office.  
  • All the Things I Wish I Knew When I Started as a New Disability Services Professional. (Beginner) ~ Kelly McGill SeegaUniversity of ConnecticutIt is hard to know, what you dont know. During this session, I will share some real-life experiences and teachable moments I had during my first year as a new disability services professional. The goal is for new professionals to learn from colleagues’ experiences, network and make connections with other new professionals in the field. 
  • The Forest and the Trees: Scaling for Enterprise-Level Digital Accessibility (All levels) ~ Kathryn Weber-Hottleman, University of Connecticut. The presentation discusses proactive planning for digital accessibility, including evaluating current accessibility levels, remediating issues, and positioning for future ICT accessibility.  It starts off with policies, then moves into website accessibility testing.  It also covers the role and responsibilities of an IT Accessibility Coordinator, for those institutions who don’t have one and are considering creating that position.  There is a section about stakeholders, addressing administrative buy-in and peer buy-in.  At this point, the procurement process and priorities are discussed in detail.  Finally, the session talks about shifting institutional culture towards one where accessibility is the norm.   
  • Flip or Flop: Peer Note-taking Redesign (Beginner) ~ Kate Pillette & Kimberly Doan, Tufts University. Wish you could get HGTV to re-model your peer note-taking accommodation? This presentation is the next best thing! We’ll discuss dilemmas in peer note-taking, and possible solutions in assistive technology, student instruction, and universal design. Attendees will come away with a “toolbox” full of quick and easy best practices for supporting student note-taking.  
  • Building an Effective Disability Services Office: A Campus Collaboration, Part II (Beginner) ~ Jacqueline Smith, Carlow University. Novice DSS providers consider collaborative relationships across campus constituencies and develop department mission, vision, and goals. A case study of a single-provider department’s development of a campus-wide acknowledgment of responsibility through collaborations will be examined. The participants will re-vision their own department effectiveness, and goals, and start action planning. 

 Thursday, Single Session I (1:30-2:30 pm) 

  • Emotional Support Animals:  The Roommate on the Rise (Beginner) ~ Steph Russo Bohler, Stephanie Brodeur & Antonio Willis-Berry, Bentley UniversityHas your institution seen a rise in requests for emotional support animals? Are you trying to develop a process for these requests? Join our session on emotional support animals to learn about relevant federal legislation, documentation and procedural guidelines regarding the request process, as well as guidelines for developing institutional protocol.   
  • Access for All: Program Accessibility (Beginner) ~ Allie Reeves & Ashleigh Johnson, University of Alabama at Birmingham. Disability Support Services (DSS) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has identified effective ways to obtain buy-in from other student facing departments and student organizations to ensure all programming is accessible by providing departments with an accessibility checklist. During our presentation, we will share our checklist and hopefully host discussion from other schools on their consulting practices around accessible programming and finding other ways to get departments to adopt this practice. 
  • Caring for Yourself to Care for Others:  Approaches to Workplace Wellness (Beginner) ~ Tracy JalabaUniversity of Southern CaliforniaWork-related stress is increasing and leads to burnout, absenteeism, and development of chronic conditions. Due to the nature of our work, DS providers are at high risk of experiencing these phenomena. Come learn a variety of wellness tools you can use to improve your productivity, health, and job satisfaction.   
  • Tackling Tricky Accommodations: Facilitated Discussions with Seasoned Professionals Part 1 (Advanced) ~ Sherrie BorowskyHaverford College; Alison Hobbs, Franklin and Marshall College; Marni Jones, Dickinson CollegeEngage in small-group conversations about managing challenging accommodations at schools with limited staff and resources. Discussion topics, chosen by pre-conference polling of participants, may include accommodations for attendance, extensions, concussions, notes, test-taking, housing, dining, etc. Participants will also have a chance to seek answers to burning questions.  
  • Applying UDL to Student Services Departments (All levels) ~ Kirsten BehlingTufts UniversityUDL is not a new concept, but it may be to those who work in student services. This session will share a new student services UDL audit tool and multi-media tips for how to add UDL into the non-academic side of the college experience.   

Thursday, Single Session II (2:45-3:45 pm) 

  • Tackling Tricky Accommodations: Facilitated Discussions with Seasoned Professionals Part 2 (Advanced) ~ Sherrie Borowsky, Haverford College; Alison Hobbs, Franklin and Marshal College; Marni Jones, Dickinson College. Engage in small-group conversations about managing challenging accommodations at schools with limited staff and resources. Discussion topics, chosen by pre-conference polling of participants, may include accommodations for attendance, extensions, concussions, notes, test-taking, housing, dining, etc. Participants will also have a chance to seek answers to their “burning questions.” 
  • Field of DREAMs: If You Build It, Will They Come? (Beginner) ~ Amy Borggaard, Katherine O’Malley & Elizabeth Keleher, College of the Holy CrossLearn about creating a student-led peer education group as an extension of your Disability/Access Services office. With professional guidance, students can serve as disability experts on your campus and promote awareness and disability education in efforts to reduce stigma and join in social justice development. 
  • Scrutinizing Disability Documentation across the Lifespan (All levels) ~ Loring Brinckerhoff, Nora Pollard & Morgan Blisard, Educational Testing ServicesDisability documentation requirements across institutions can vary and what is acceptable at one institution might not be acceptable at another. Using case studies, ETS representatives will discuss legal consideration, documentation requirements, and provide examples of when disability documentation may be acceptable in one setting but not another. 
  • Staying Cool, Calm and Collaborative to Do Effective Disability Services Work When Under Siege by Demanding Stakeholders (All levels) ~ Neal Lipsitz, College of the Holy Cross; Eileen Connell Berger, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Michael Berger, Simmons University. This session presents a user-friendly model helping disability services maintain perspective and provide effective service delivery satisfying SWDs, faculty, administrators, staff and parents in the context of a demanding environment. The model offers a framework that encourages collaborative practices promoting inclusion and equity in the classroom, administrative offices and community. 
  • Understanding Students with Traumatic Brain Injuries: A Growing Population (All levels) ~ Emily Tarconish, MS, CRC, LPC, University of ConnecticutPostsecondary students with TBI are a growing population, encompassing individuals who endured injuries as children/adolescents, those who are injured during college, such as athletes, and adults who sustain injuries and attend higher education later in life, including veterans. This session will describe the issues these students experience and how TBI can interact with other disabilities. 
  • The Interdisciplinary Approach: Moving Beyond Compliance in Offices of Disability Support (All levels) ~ Zack Batchelder, Matthew Mueller & Emily Mattison, Vassar CollegePresenters will demonstrate how an office of disability support, no matter the size, can embrace crafting and recruiting an interdisciplinary team to promote student agency. This session will provide attendees with concrete strategies to attract strong and diverse job applicants and encourage a culture of collaboration and outreach. 

Thursday, Single Session III (4:00-5:00 pm) 

  • Teleporting In-person Intake to Virtual Reality: Site-maps for Digitizing your Intake & Registration Process (All levels) ~ Colleen Lewis, Ashley Schleimer & Laura Dayan, Columbia University. Technology has impacted almost every aspect of higher education. Even in the midst of the digital age many still rely on paper forms and in-person intake interviews. In an effort to streamline access to services to meet rapidly increasing demand, this session will explore opportunities to create an intake and registration process in a digital environment that will increase efficiency, while maintaining student engagement and participation throughout.  
  • Online High School Dual Enrollment:  A New Frontier for Disability Services (Intermediate) ~ Manju Banerjee & Adam Lalor, Landmark College. High school students are enrolling in college courses at increasing rates (NCES, 2013). These students are college students while taking these courses, and pose unique challenges for DS personnel. This session will discuss the learning opportunities, challenges, and considerations associated with online dual enrollment as they relate to DS services.  
  • Strategies and Tools to Support Students with Traumatic Brain Injuries (All levels) ~ Emily Tarconish, MS, CRC, LPC, University of ConnecticutThis session will present strategies and tools that can help students with TBI. As the symptoms of TBI are vast, a range of possible accommodations and approaches to address cognitive, emotional, behavioral, self-awareness, physical and other issues will be discussed. 
  • Why Thinking Aloud Beats When in Doubt, Pick C”: Using Cognitive Interviewing Techniques in Tutoring Students with LD (Intermediate) ~ Jacqueline AhlThe Culinary Institute of AmericaCognitive interviewing has extraordinary potential to enhance metacognition, illuminate misinterpretation, and reveal the origin of retrieved information. Participants will therefore learn how to implement key components, including “think aloud and verbal probing techniques. This presentation is the first step in implementing cognitive interviewing techniques in coaching, tutoring, and testing. 
  • Just Follow the Recipe: Making Accessibility Program Development Easy as Pie (Beginner) ~ Kimberly Doan & Kate Pillette, Tufts University. Interested in increasing programming but are unsure where to begin? This session explores programming initiatives developed in an effort to increase outreach, build academic skills, and provide disability education. The presenters will review programs developed at Tufts to support students and attendees will leave with workshop topics and outlines to guide programming at their own institutions. 
  • Low Cost AT to Empower Students (All levels) ~ Nicole Feeney & Adam Kosakowski, NEAT Center at Oak Hill, CT. Interested in Assistive Technology (AT) for your students but worried about budget and resources? Search no further, we’ve got your back! In this presentation, an AT expert and experienced higher ed disability services provider team up to demo low-cost tools for notetaking, reading, and time management. We’ll explore notetaking apps, text to speech tools, and different ways to approach time management, digitally! While demoing awesome low-cost tools we’ll discuss how you can empower your students and your school culture to be more open in thinking about universal design. It may need to start with accommodations, sure, but the question is, how can you help your institution move forward from there? Let’s figure it out together! 


Please note that there are no single sesssions on Friday afternoon. The two Strand sessions will be held Friday morning and the Institute will end at 12:00 pm.