PTI Program 
32nd Annual Postsecondary Disability Training Institute (PTI)
Sponsored by the Center on Postsecondary Education and Disability, Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut
Tuesday, June 7th – Friday, June 10th, 2022
Sheraton Inner Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland
Last updated 2/18/2022
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
- 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:
Skill Building Workshops (Beginner) ~ Kelly McGill-Seega and Gabrielle Tyler, University of Connecticut
We welcome all learning specialists and support staff to come learn different skills that students can develop during their postsecondary transition. This strand will be a collection of workshops that have been presented to students on skill building strategies for being successful in college.
Pre-Institute Session II:
Re-framing the Pandemic Experience- Learning Lessons and Moving Forward (All Levels) ~ Kirsten Behling, Tufts University
Students returned to residential halls, in-person classes resumed, and accessibility offices re-opened. In this new normal, how do we capture and maintain the innovation that we put into place during COVID including exam proctoring, in-take modalities, and university policies? We will celebrate our accomplishments and utilize lessons learned moving forward.
Pre-Institute Session III:
Basic Legal Primer for Understanding Campuses’ Legal Obligations to Students with Disabilities (All Levels) ~ Philip Catanzano, Education and Sports Law Group
Phil Catanzano, co-founder of Education & Sports Law Group, will provide a basic overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and to the extent it impacts residential life on campus, the Fair Housing Act to provide attendees a user-friendly introduction to the federal laws that most commonly address disability issues on campus. This primer is designed to provide a practical (and enjoyable) discussion of the ways these laws function on campus, the differences between them, and the common challenges that arise.
Pre-Institute Session IV:
Partnerships for Accessible Career Pathways at Your Institution (All Levels) ~ Molly McKeon, Katherine Fernandes, Providence College
Students with all types of disabilities have their own set of strengths and challenges that can affect their performance in an internship or workplace setting. This engaging presentation will offer a starting point to developing key partnerships across campus to further the mission of accessibility, focusing on career.
Poster Session and Opening Reception (Tuesday evening, 7:30-9:00 pm)
- Promising Practices: A Guide for Working with Students with Low Vision and Blindness~ Leslie Thatcher, Perkins School for the Blind
- Understanding and Supporting the Mental Health of Neurodivergent Students ~ Jay Kuder, Amy Accardo, and John Woodruff, Rowan University
- Using UDL and HLPs in Post-Secondary Education for Students with Cognitive Disabilities ~ Erika Moore and Michelle Patterson, University of Central Florida
- UConn Certificate Program in Postsecondary Disability Services ~ Tabitha Mancini, University of Connecticut
- Leveraging Person-Centered Technology to increase Independence, Inclusion, Expression, and Employability ~ Kevin Winslow and Gretchen Ward, MPower Me
- The Call is Coming from Inside the House: Addressing Ableism with Disability Services Offices ~ Ursula Idleman, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- Supporting ELL Students Across Campus~ Kelly McGill-Seega and Gabrielle Tyler, University of Connecticut
- A College Transition Program for 2e-ASD Students ~ Christopher Esposito, University of Connecticut
- Engaging Neurodiverse Students Through Individualized Coaching ~ Heather Conroy, Skukura Woods, Erin Zacher, and Kristen Horn, Evolve Coaching
- Mitigating the Intersectionality of Ableism and Racism in Higher Education ~ Lisa Yates & Estefany Solis, Mt. San Jacinto College
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 A, Sessions A-E (Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday; 8:15 am -10:00 am)
Unprecedented Accessibility: From Pandemic Response to Contingency Planning (All Levels) ~ Andrew Cioffi, Suffolk University. Tech-enhanced learning is part of our “new normal.” Through the lenses of web accessibility standards and Universal Design for Learning principles, this interactive session will explore how to stay ahead of the curve in terms of new demands for access and accessibility-related accommodations.
Becoming a Flexpert: An Active, Collaborative Approach to Flexibility as an Accommodation (All Levels) ~ Joe Andenmatten, Ellie Brigger, & Ulises Mendoza, University of Colorado Boulder. The goal of these sessions is to equip disability service providers and leadership teams to develop sound policy and procedure around disability-related absences and flexible deadlines. Expect these sessions to be robust and full of collaborative discussion so that participants can take back ideas to share with their own campuses.
You Can Improve Math Success: New Accommodations, Study Skills, Anxiety Reduction and Course Substitution Strategies (All Levels) ~ Paul Nolting, Bradenton, FL. Participants will learn to apply new accommodations, math study skills, COVID tutor strategies, processing deficits effects, test score interpretation, ethics, and course substitutions for students with SLD, TBI, ADHD, PTS, ID, LI, and Autism. Additional focus is on the math gene and real case studies for accommodations and course substitutions.
LD and ADHD evaluations: Demystifying Terminology, Tests, and Scores and Applying Them to Accommodation Decisions (Beginner) ~ William Lindstrom & Gerri Wolfe, UGA Regents’ Center for Learning Disorders. This interactive strand focuses on evaluations and relative value of the various types of LD and ADHD evidence commonly submitted by students seeking accommodations. Topics will include psychometric score interpretation, assessment measures, informed analysis of self and collateral reports, historical records, and making evidence-based accommodation decisions under the ADA.
Navigating in a Storm: Discussing Disability Issues in the Wake of an Administration Change, a Pandemic, and Anything Else that Comes Your Way (Intermediate) ~ Philip Catanzano, Education and Sports Law Group. Phil Catanzano, co-founder of Education & Sports Law Group, will provide an overview of the way that disability issues have presented on campus in the wake of the Trump Administration and moving into the Biden Administration. He will also discuss the ways that institutions have addressed disability-related requests and challenges during an unprecedented national health challenge, including requests for remote or hybrid learning, added focus on digital accessibility both from an institutional and an individual level, heightened mental health challenges, and related safety issues on campus. Using real world examples, he will discuss the ways that these issues present, the analytical legal structure to think through appropriate (and creative) responses, and other challenges that may arise, both from students requesting services as well as from faculty/staff charged with implementing accommodations. Each concept explored will include tips for providers/coordinators to consider folding into practice in their home institution.
Strand II, Sessions F-J (Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday: 10:15 am-12:00 pm)
Tackling the Trickiest Situations with Options (All Levels) ~ Kirsten Behling, Tufts University & Andrew Cioffi, Suffolk University. This strand will tackle your hardest disability-related issues. Participants will be asked to identify a complex issue with no clear solution on their campus (e.g., types of disabilities, COVID, administrative and faculty push back, technical issues) and submit them ahead of time. We will then explore those situations throughout the strand.
The New Professional Institute – Presented by VCU’s Transforming Accessibility Initiative (Beginner) ~ Ian Kunkes, Virginia Commonwealth University. The New Professional Institute will provide insights and tips for professionals new to the disability resource and accessibility field. We will cover topics including core competencies, navigating the higher education landscape, understanding the history of our field and where we are headed, and planning a career path for growth and success.
Think Again: Your Office, Your Purpose, Your Vision (All Levels) ~ Kristie Proctor, Terri Rodriguez, & Mikaela Kitka, Quinsigamond Community College. For the past two years, disability services providers have faced uncertainty and unknown challenges without preparation, and this trend will continue in an ever-changing world. To thrive, we must be comfortable learning, as we continue to do our work without knowing exactly how to do it before doing it. If you are trying to change, solve, fix, or rethink any aspect of your services, join other service providers to prepare for change using creative growth mindset and the tenets of design thinking to produce positive change for your setting.
Studying Doesn’t Have to be Boring: Sensory Engagement, Advertising Tricks, and Atypical Neurology (Intermediate) ~ Jacqueline Ahl, Dutchess Community College. 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.
Understanding and Supporting Students with Traumatic Brain Injury: Perspectives from a Researcher, Provider and Survivor (Advanced) ~ Emily Tarconish, University of Illinois Champaign Urbana. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can have major impacts on a student’s development and learning. Sharing her perspectives as a researcher, a former disability services provider, and a survivor of a severe TBI herself, the presenter will discuss symptoms that can be experienced by students with TBI and share effective ways to support this population.
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)
- (A)ccess Before (B)elonging: 3 Steps to Include Disability in DEI Initiatives (All Levels) ~ Charnessa Warren, University of Chicago. A should come before B. Individuals need equitable access before they can feel a sense of belonging in higher education. This session will introduce a three-step approach to systematically include disability access in higher education institutions.
- Educating Educators about the Ability Spectrum (Intermediate) ~ Lisa Yates, Mt. San Jacinto College. This session will frame disability as a diverse human predicament along a multi-pointed ability spectrum. Topics discussed will be commonality of debility, aging, visual and auditory information processing, understanding how these predicaments impact learning, historic influences on disability perception, 21st century disability support in postsecondary institutions
- Creating an Approachable Web Accessibility Audit to Build Buy-In at Your Institution (Intermediate) ~ Molly Mckeon, Katie Fernandes Providence College. Web Accessibility sounds daunting – to the point that many owners of web content at institutions get overwhelmed, feel it is not their role, and avoid the responsibility. Join this session to learn about how staff at Providence College created an approachable web content review process to help expand ownership in the process.
- Accidental UDL: How COVID was the Impetus for UDL Adoption (All Levels) ~ Kirsten Behling, Tufts University, StAAR Center; Lisa Bibeau, Salem State University. COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the world while also expanding the diversity of learners and their needs almost overnight. Faculty were challenged to ensure the continuity of learning through the rapid transition to an online learning environment. Students struggled with changes in their physical locations, social isolation, time zones, concerns about family and friends, technology, and the transition to a fully online experience. To offset the many challenges, faculty began to use principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), particularly preemptive flexibility, iterative design, and anticipation of variability among learners and learning environments. Despite these challenges, best practices associated with UDL were readily and accidentally adopted. This session will provide strategies for replicating accidental UDL adoption on other campuses and detail the role of disability service providers in that effort. We will encourage colleagues to discuss what they saw in their institutions and how these observations can be turned into a more permanent pedogeological practice at their institutions.
- Resolving Faculty-Student Conflict and Promoting Advocacy Using the ACT Matrix (All Levels) ~ Chris Parthemos, Virginia Commonwealth University. When promoting accessibility at the postsecondary level, we often mediate conflict between students and faculty related to the implementation of accommodations. This session presents an evidence-based method for identifying overlapping values among students and faculty and taking steps toward a more equitable and inclusive campus, one conversation at a time.
Wednesday, Single Session II (2:45-3:45 pm)
- My computer can do WHAT?! (Intermediate) ~ Martina Svyantek, University of Virginia – SDAC. Interested in supporting STEM students with technology but not sure where to start? Want to learn more about built-ins and add-ons that improve the learning experience, even if there’s a learning curve? Join this discussion-based session to learn more about matching tech with your needs!
- Preparing for Adulthood: Maximizing On-Campus, Non-Academic Learning Opportunities for Students with ASD (Beginner) ~ Lindsay Carr, Muskingum University. The college campus is the ideal microcosm for adulthood. Students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) benefit from the opportunity to utilize the residential college experience as a necessary method of priming for the expectations of adulthood. Information shared will identify ways to support students with ASD using non-academic learning opportunities.
- Home is Where the Accommodation Is: Meeting the Needs of On-Campus Residents (Beginner) ~ Kimberly Kosinski & Matthew Brown, Rutgers University-New Brunswick. With one of the largest student housing operations in the country, Rutgers University-New Brunswick has a specialized unit dedicated to ensuring the housing accommodation needs of its 16,000 residents. In this session, participants will learn about the different types of housing accommodations offered through Rutgers Residence Life, as well as our comprehensive case management model for supporting students.
- Why Can’t I Just Zoom In To Class? Navigating Remote Participation Requests (All Levels) ~ Barbara Zunder, University of Virginia & Tom Merrell, University of San Francisco. Higher education is forever changed by the adaptations and technological advances made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this session, learn how two very different institutions are navigating the uncharted waters of student requests to participate in coursework remotely.
- Building a Disability Resource Office’s Assessment Mindset at a Research I Institution (All Levels) ~ Leslie Watts & Jordan Luzader, North Carolina State University. A comprehensive review highlighting how the Disability Resource Office partnered with the division’s assessment office to create an annual assessment report with outcomes that support the mission of the DRO office, inform its allocation of resources, and ensure it is supporting faculty/staff and the access needs of students.
Wednesday, Single Session III (4:00-5:00 pm)
- Updates at ETS: New Teleassessment Guidance and Tips for Assisting Test Takers with Accommodation Requests (All Levels) ~ Morgan Blisard, Lori Muskat & Robert Plienis, ETS. ETS continues to progress in our on-going efforts to make the accommodations process less burdensome. More recent steps include recognition that multiple situations may make it difficult for test takers to participate in an in-person evaluation. ETS representatives will discuss the newly developed ETS Teleassessment Guidance and other recent policy updates to the accommodation request process.
- The current state of disruption in higher ed: An inclusive and innovative tool to navigate the chaos (All Levels) ~ Neal Lipsitz, College of the Holy Cross, Michael Berger, Simmons University & Eileen Berger, Harvard Graduate School of Education. Attendees will learn how to use a novel tool/framework to provide optimum access and accommodations for students with disabilities in light of the complexities and disruptions brought about by the pandemic. Focusing on students’ challenges with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and inclusion the workshop provides a collaborative model involving all stakeholders.
- Incorporating Mental Health and Coaching Services into the Disability Services Delivery Model (All Levels) ~ Teresa Davenport, Kimberly Collins & Brian Siemann, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. This presentation will describe the model used by Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in providing mental health services to approximately 400 students per year. Ways to flexibly implement this model in other higher education settings will be discussed.
- Supporting Students with Executive Functioning through a UDL Framework (All Levels) ~ Kelly McGill-Seega & Gabrielle Tyler, UConn. Executive functioning is a skill that is commonly overlooked but severely affects a student’s ability to access college materials. This session will discuss the implications that executive functioning has on a students’ success in college and how to best support them by looking at a UDL framework.
- Reimagining Administrative Support for Your Hybrid Team (All Levels) ~ A. J. Lyman, Tufts University. Wondering how to best support hybrid administrative demands? Discussing lessons learned, presenters will highlight how a team-focused approach and re-envisioning of administrative processes have fueled their center during an unprecedented time. This session will discuss program evaluation, new hybrid systems, useful tools, holistic staff support, and explore workplace culture.
Thursday, Single Session I (1:30-2:30 pm)
- Integrating the “A[ccessibility]” into “DEI” (All Levels) ~ Kathryn Zimmerman, Roger Williams University. The integration of Accessibility into all Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEIA) efforts is fundamental throughout the campus community. This presentation explores a brief history of DEIA efforts that parallel the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and the utilization of best practices and universal learning design.
- Mental Health Differences in Autistic College Students: Recommendations from an Autistic Advisory Council (Intermediate) ~ Jessica Monahan, Brian Freedman & Cassidy Edmondson, University of Delaware. In this presentation, we discuss the differences in mental health presentations of autistic college students who access college counseling services compared to students with other disabilities and no disabilities. We will review recommendations for practice from an Advisory Board of autistic college students.
- Collaboration Across Campus (All Levels) ~ Kelly McGill-Seega, Gabrielle Tyler & Christopher Scott, UConn. Student-Athlete Success Program Learning Services collaborates with and enables eligible students who have disabilities to coordinate support services, programs, and academic support that enable equal access, through reasonable accommodations, to the student during their time at the University of Connecticut.We will describe the program and best practices for assisting students.
- Experiences of College Students with Disabilities During the COVID-19 Shift to Remote Learning (All Levels) ~ Ashley Taconet, University of Connecticut, Emily Tarconish, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign & Lyman Dukes III, University of South Florida. During Spring 2020, there was a rapid shift to remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This session will share results from a national online survey on experiences of college students with disabilities during Spring 2020 and Spring 2021. Topics include their experiences with support from disability service offices, faculty and their institutions.
- LEAP Into College: Transitioning from High School to Higher Education (Beginner) ~ Melissa Choate, Muskingum University. Muskingum University’s LEAP (Learn, Educate, Adapt, Prepare) Program is a 2-week summer “bridge program”, designed to aid students with learning differences transition into college. This model focuses on a blend of lecture, experiential, and online learning components in an attempt for neurodiverse students to develop a more comprehensive set of skills needed for success in college.
Thursday, Single Session II (2:45-3:45 pm)
- Staging an Amygdala Intervention: Practical and Radical Strategies to Reduce Test Anxiety. (Intermediate) ~ Jacqueline Ahl, Dutchess Community College. “I’m a terrible test-taker! Why do I go blank? My professor wants me to fail!” Let’s change that narrative. We will examine a variety of interventions, including concrete changes in preparation, radical means of re-framing thinking, and a program used by Navy Seals to decrease performance anxiety and increase success.
- Work Backward: A New Paradigm for Assembling Evidence to Support an Accommodations Request for High-Stakes Testing (Advanced) ~ Deborah Kai Kai, AAMC. This presentation explores a new paradigm for gathering documentation to support accommodations requests for high-stakes testing programs. Instead of building a case for accommodations based on diagnosis, start by identifying the accommodations necessary and work backward through the process to efficiently identify documentation to support your request.
- Strategies to Support Service Providers who assist Students with Disabilities Handle the Impact of COVID (Intermediate) ~ Terri Massie-Burrell, Dayna Geary & Sarah Gould, Johns Hopkins University. A university disability services office shares how they collaborated to create an effective work environment that serves students with disabilities experiencing the impact of COVID in remote and face-to-face learning. At the same time, they attended to much needed self-care.
- Diversability: Connecting Students With and Without Disabilities (All Levels) ~ Ashley Taconet, Shannon Langdon & Abbey Engler, UConn. This presentation will discuss a student-led club, Diversability, for students with and without disabilities. Diversability provides a community for students to discuss disability, ability, inclusion and access, and an avenue for campus disability advocacy efforts. The presentation will close with a panel discussion with the club’s student leadership.
Thursday, Single Session III (4:00-5:00 pm)
- Why Thinking Aloud Beats “When in Doubt, Pick ‘C’”: Using Cognitive Interviewing Techniques in Tutoring Students with LD (Intermediate) ~ Jacqueline Ahl, Dutchess Community College. Cognitive interviewing has extraordinary potential to enhance metacognition, illuminate misinterpretation, and reveal the origin of retrieved information. Participants will 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.
- Using Student Voice to Promote Inclusive College Faculty Teaching: Disability-Awareness Videos (All Levels) ~ Emily Tarconish, University of Illinois Champaign Urbana & Ashley Taconet, University of Connecticut. This session will describe the features of a Disability Awareness & Inclusive Teaching video training for faculty that featured the narratives of students with disabilities. Presenters will discuss how the video training was created as well as how it affected faculty members’ disability-related self-efficacy and teaching practices.
- Promoting Inclusive Pedagogy on Your Campus (All Levels) ~ Rebecca Smith & Lyda McCartin, University of Northern Colorado. Join as Lyda and Rebecca discuss ways that they have promoted inclusive pedagogy at the University of Northern Colorado via collaboration between DRC and CETL. Presenters will also discuss the results from their research study entitled “Understanding Instructor Motivation for Embracing Universal Design”.
- Addressing Challenges of Postsecondary Disability Service Provision: A System-Wide Approach (All Levels) ~ Kim Linek, Georgia Highlands College, Michele Harold, Georgia State University, & Sheryl Ballanger, Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation, Georgia Institute of Technology. Postsecondary disability service professionals are providing services to a growing and more diverse population, and with that growth, their responsibilities have significantly increased. We will share how an innovative system approach in Georgia is maximizing access, enhancing consistency across institutions, empowering students, and supporting providers.