PTI Program [2016]

28th 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, Wednesday, June 8th – Friday, June 10th, 2016

The Sheraton Society Hill, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Last updated 3/4/16

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 Descriptions

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

Pre-Institute Session I:

A Framework for Faculty Workshops on Universally Designed Inclusive Instruction (All Levels) ~ Allison Lombardi, University of Connecticut; Joan McGuire, University of Connecticut; & Noel Garrett, Connecticut College.  In this session, we present a framework based on the tenets of Universal Design for Instruction (UDI) for disability services professionals to adapt when working with postsecondary faculty committed to inclusive pedagogy.  Participants will practice selected strategies: (a) syllabus design, (b) course mapping, (c) self-assessment, and (d) instructional scenarios.

Pre-Institute Session II:

Disability Law 101:  A Basic Legal Primer on Understanding a Campus’ Legal Obligation to Students with Disabilities (Beginner) ~ 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 new compliance officer charged with handling student ADA grievances?  This is the session for you.

Jeanne Kincaid, an attorney who specializes in representing schools, colleges and universities on disability-related matters, will lead attendees through a basic framework of analysis so that you are more comfortable when you return to your campus and attempt to implement these laws.  The seminar will focus on students with disabilities attending postsecondary institutions and will discuss who qualifies for disability protection and making that determination; assessing and implementing reasonable accommodations; understanding the tension between academic decision-making and legal entitlements to reasonable accommodation; types of testing accommodations; accommodations in non-academic settings such as dining, housing and internships; confidentiality; and handling ADA/Rehabilitation Act grievances.  Law can be complicated but better understanding how these laws operate will give you more confidence in meeting your institution’s obligations to students, staff and faculty.

Pre Institute Session III:

Learning Strategies and Coaching: Pathways to Self-Determination (All Levels) ~ David Parker, Children’s Resource Group.  Academic success stems from self-directed learning, resilience and grit. Self-determined college students have these qualities.  The presenter will demonstrate learning strategies and ADD coaching techniques participants can “take home.”  These practical experiences will culminate in an exploration of self-determination.  How can these approaches promote students’ autonomy and retention?

Pre-Institute Session IV:

The Importance of Program Review in Disability Services (Intermediate/Advanced) ~ Donna Korbel, University of Connecticut.   The Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) promulgates professional standards of practice for Disability Resources and Services.  These standards provide criteria to assist in enhancing good practice.  The standards are often used as a basis for self-study to conduct a program evaluation.  This session will discuss the merits of conducting a program review as well as outline the basic steps for implementing one on your campus.

Poster Descriptions

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

  • SSI/SSDI in Postsecondary Education: Higher Education Institutional Enrollment Profile ~ Katherine Aquino, Seton Hall University.
  • Identifying Instructor Bias Towards Students with Disabilities in Nursing Programs ~ Jessica Dzyak, Laboure College.
  • Experiences of College Students with ASD ~ Nick Gelbar, University of Connecticut Health Center.
  • Career Development for Students with Disabilities in Higher Education: A Systematic Literature Review ~ Jennifer Kowitt, University of Connecticut; Adam Lalor, University of Connecticut; Joseph Madaus, University of Connecticut; Allison Lombardi, University of Connecticut; Nicholas Gelbar, University of Connecticut Health Center; Michael Faggella-Luby, Texas Christian University; & Lyman Dukes, III, University of South Florida St. Petersburg.
  • Executive Functioning Skills to Aid in Student Success and Retention ~ Erin Leuthold, Holy Family University.
  • Advocating Through a Student Organization in Higher Education: The Warhawk Disability Alliance at Auburn Montgomery ~ Tamara Massey Garrett & Keyonna Dailey, Auburn University Montgomery.
  • Career Readiness for Students with Intellectual Disabilities at the Secondary and Postsecondary Level ~ Jessica Monahan & Allison Lombardi, University of Connecticut.
  • Anxiety and Depression and College Students with Learning Disabilities: Cross-informant Agreement and “Faking Good” ~ Jason Nelson & Spencer Liebel, University of Georgia.
  • Alt Text Production: Providing More Effective Services and Promoting Student Self-Reliance ~ Jenna Atkinson, Utah Valley University.
  • Easier Ways to Register for Accommodations on ETS Test: Just Scan and Send ~ Loring Brinckerhoff, Nora Pollard, & Morgan Murray, Educational Testing Services.
  • Been There, Done That and Thriving! Navigating the First Year Transition with a Peer Mentor ~ Isabella Moreno, Oberlin College.
  • Family Engagement for Youth with Disabilities in Postsecondary Education ~ Mindy Larson, Institute for Educational Leadership.
  • Ensuring that Veterans with Disabilities Become Successful Online Learners ~ Terry Watson & Maggie Kwok, Penn State University World Campus.
  • Peer Advisory Leadership (PAL): Creating a Peer Mentoring Program within a Disability Services Office ~ Kelly McGill Seega, Worcester State University.

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)

  1. Influencing a Culture of Universal Access (All Levels) ~ Andrew Cioffi & Kirsten Behling, Suffolk University. Through targeted trainings, and a focus on normalizing access verses enforcing compliance, strides can be made towards influencing a culture of universal access. This strand will cover “Disability as Diversity” as a philosophy and training tool, best practices for faculty staff and student leader training, and how to influence institutional change by creating top-down approaches from the middle.
  2. Star Wars & the ADA: The Sky Is the Limit! (All Levels) ~ Jeanne Kincaid, Drummond Woodsum. The focus of this strand is to provide participants with up-to-date legal insight about students with disabilities attending higher education institutions.  The presenter weaves discussion on presentation topics through an analysis of agency and judicial decisions and settlement agreements in effect within the past year.  In this interactive session, participants will become familiar with the range of student disability-related legal developments of which campuses should be aware so that when participants return to campus, they can review their practices and modify them accordingly.
  3. Improving Math Success for Every Student: Applying Study Skills, Accommodations, Course Substitutions and Growth Mind (All Levels) ~ Paul Nolting, Hillsborough Community College. Participants will learn math study skills, tutoring strategies, effects of processing deficits, how to interpret test scores and recommend appropriate accommodations and course substitutions, especially for LD, TBI, ADHD, PTSD and wounded warriors.  Additional focus is on documentation for TBI, PTSD, case studies, math success plans, math redesigns and growth mindset.
  4. Documentation 101: Understanding and Interpreting LD and ADHD Evaluations(Beginner) ~ Will Lindstrom & Gerri Wolfe, University of Georgia. Designed for novices, this didactic and interactive strand will provide training on the interpretation of documentation commonly submitted by students with learning disabilities and/or ADHD. Specific topics will include psychometric score interpretation, understanding frequently used measures, and using data to inform disability and accommodation decisions under the ADA.

Strand II, Sessions A-D (Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday; 10:15-noon)

  1. Disability Documentation: Who Needs it Anyway? (Intermediate to Advanced) ~ Manju Banerjee, Landmark College, & Loring Brinckerhoff, Educational Testing Services.  Recent directives from the Department of Justice to testing agencies have resulted in much discussion among high-stakes testing entities, with implications for disability service providers. At the center of the debate is the importance and merits of disability documentation in determining accommodations. This session, directed at seasoned professionals in the field, will address the resurgence of embracing self-reported evidence of disability and the decline of neuro-psychological documentation.
  2. Accommodating Students with Psychiatric Disabilities in the Postsecondary Environment (All Levels) ~ Laura DiGalbo, Central Connecticut State University. This strand will address the prominent concerns of postsecondary educators and administrators as students with psychiatric disabilities access our campuses. We will look at who these students are, the differences between “bad behavior” and psychiatric disabilities on cognition. Specific attention will be paid to perspectives held by administrators, faculty, disability service staff, and students as we navigate the world of postsecondary education together. Finally the relationships among symptoms, functionality, and strategies/accommodations will be delineated.
  3. It’s Not Just ADHD: Best Interventions for Students Who Have Issues in Addition to Focus and Motivation (Intermediate) ~ Stephanie Sarkis, Florida Atlantic University.  About 50% of students with ADHD also have another mental health issue, like anxiety or depression. Over the course of three days, learn how students with ADHD and depression, anxiety, autism spectrum, and learning disabilities impact needs and services.  Discover the best strategies for helping students who are overwhelmed with the intricacies of academics and independent living.
  4. Studying Doesn’t Have to be Boring: Advertising Tricks, Sensory Engagement, and Atypical Neurology (All Levels) ~ Jacqueline Ahl, 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 (1:30-3:00 pm)

  • Determining Eligibility and Accommodations for Students with LD and/or ADHD (Intermediate) ~ Alan Babcock, Penn State Harrisburg. Deciding if students diagnosed with a Specific Learning Disorder and/or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder are eligible for academic accommodations is a complex, challenging process. The purpose of this workshop is to assist providers in creating a process that meets their needs and the needs of the students they serve.
  • Autism, Conduct, and Title IX (All Levels) ~ Jane Thierfeld Brown, University of Connecticut School of Law; Lorre Wolfe, Boston University; & Linda Sullivan, Harvard University. Students with autism add richness and diversity to our campuses. For a small number of students on the spectrum, behavior and conduct can challenge our institutions in many new ways. Title IX cases are complicated for all students, for students with Autism these issues can be especially unique. This session will discuss Autism, behavior and strategies for students and the campus.
  • Using Career Development and Individualized Planning Strategies to Increase College Success(All Levels) ~ Mindy Larson, Institute for Educational Leadership. The journey to college and career success starts with understanding yourself, exploring various career options, setting meaningful goals, and choosing the right path to achieve them. Learn how Onondaga Community College is using career development and individualized planning to help students with disabilities make informed decisions and build skills they need to navigate pathways into employment.
  • Assistive Technology in Higher Ed: App-solutely Everything You Need to Know! (All Levels) ~ Alyssa Marinaccio, University of Connecticut. Providing support and access to assistive technology encourages students to be successful, independent learners. In this strand we will discuss the key components to providing effective assistive technology related services as well as demonstrate software, apps, and other technology resources commonly used at the postsecondary level.

 Wednesday, Single Session II (3:15-4:30 pm)

  • Preparing a University for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (All Levels) ~ Ian Kunkes, The Catholic University of America & Melissa Blackwell, NeuroBehavioral Associates. Presenters will discuss pertinent issues the current state of adolescent ASDs and best practices for supporting students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder transition to higher education.
  • One Testing Agency’s Approach to the Department of Justice Technical Assistance Document (All Levels) ~ Loring Brinckerhoff & Nora Pollard, Educational Testing Services, Educational Testing Services. ETS, the world’s largest testing entity, has made changes to their approach to reviewing documentation and approving accommodations based on the technical assistance provided by the DOJ. ETS has “soften” their approach in many areas but remains steadfast in others. Participants will learn about these changes at this session.
  • Help by Hangouts: An online tutoring model of postsecondary students (All Levels) ~ Rebecca Murray & Lisa Elliot, Rochester Institute of Technology. This session covers the considerations and implementation of an online tutoring program at the college level. It will highlight the benefits, challenges, and software options available for establishing online tutoring.
  • Digital Accessibility: Stepping It Up (Intermediate) ~ Carla Hoskins, Dan Jones, & Alaina Beaver, University of Colorado Boulder.  The University of Colorado Boulder has experienced remarkable advancement in the implementation of policies, standards, service modifications and documentation in digital accessibility for students and the campus. This presentation will overview that process and discuss plans for promoting campus awareness and training, and creation of an ongoing digital accessibility program.

Wednesday, Single Session III (4:45-6:00 pm)


  • Strategies for Students on the Autism Spectrum, College, Employment, and Beyond (All Levels) ~ Jane Thierfeld Brown, University of Connecticut School of Law, & Lorre Wolf, Boston University. The increasing numbers of students with Autism on college campuses have brought some unique challenges to faculty, residence halls and career services/internship coordinators. Students often have not learned strategies for these environments which are drastically different from their high school education. This session will introduce effective strategies for these settings and implementation points to best serve students, staff and faculty.
  • Documenting Berkshire:  Pitfalls and Gains of a Developmental Reading Pilot (All Levels) ~ Pamela Farron, Berkshire Community College, & Dan Herlihy, Connective Technology Solutions, Inc. Students who struggle with reading, writing and/or math are increasing at community colleges nationwide.  At the same time, the pressure is on to raise graduation rates, meet workforce needs, and close achievement gaps.  What’s more, in some states, like Massachusetts for example, college funding is now tied to its ability to meet these performance standards. With a shift in focus from access to completion of degrees, it is now more critical than ever to address the issue of students showing up to college academically unprepared, especially when the national data shows the majority of students who begin in remedial courses never complete their college degrees. After learning about the number of students who place in remedial courses at Berkshire Community College (BCC), Pamela Farron, Coordinator of the Disability Resource Center at BCC, proposed a pilot study utilizing Kurzweil 3000/Firefly, a web-based literacy tool, in their developmental reading courses.  Her hypothesis was that utilization of this program would enable students to be more engaged in the learning process, improve their reading placement scores, and minimize time spent in remedial reading.  Was the pilot successful?  Join Pam and Dan to hear the results.

 Thursday, Single Session I (1:30-3:00 pm)

  • Implementing the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) for Disability Resources & Services (All Levels) ~ Christine Wenzel, Bryanna Anderson, & Katie Hudd, University of Connecticut. Disability service provision is complex and the challenges are well documented. Shifting mandates and an increased emphasis on accountability demand the need for disability professionals to adhere to principles of good practice. The Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) provides a template to assure appropriate service provision and compliance with legislative mandates.
  • Balancing Student Support and Instructional Support for Students with Learning Differences in the Postsecondary Setting (All Levels) ~ Sarah Williams, East Carolina University; Diane Majewski, East Carolina University; Andrea Neal, Fayetteville State University; & Ellie Hoffman, Appalachian State University.  The College STAR initiative enables participating campuses to strive to become more welcoming places for students with learning differences (e.g. learning disabilities or ADHD). This strand will share what we have learned so far about balancing direct support to students as well as instructional support for faculty and staff across campus in different educational settings.
  • High Achieving Students, Low Resiliency, Increased Need: Accommodating First-Year Students (All Levels) ~ Shawna Foose, Patrick Randolph, Kelly Walsh & Michelle Kricheff, Tulane University.  The current generation of traditional first-year students, millennials, are presenting in higher numbers with a perceived higher need than previous cohorts.  Tulane University’s Goldman Center for Student Accessibility presents this round-table discussion profiling the traditional first-year student, their presenting needs, and creative solutions to meet those needs.
  • Technology Tool Kits: Empowering Students with Disabilities through Universally Designed Technological Tools (Intermediate) ~ Erin Benson, University of Georgia. We have come a long way from “MICROSOFT SAM”. Technology has opened up a world of opportunity for students with disabilities. This session will focus on the free/low cost tools available and the role that Disability Services Provider can play to encourage students to utilize technology in college and beyond.
  • Sage Advice About the Accommodations Review Process in the Realm of Standardized Testing: Ask the Experts (All Levels) ~ Ruth Loew, Educational Testing Services; Katie Bugbee, Association of Medical Colleges; Teresa Elliott, Graduate Management Admission Council; & Loring Brinckerhoff, Educational Testing Services. This panel presentation will provide information regarding the accommodations review process at three major standardized testing agencies, given the current legal landscape and the unique aspects of the standardized testing setting. The information presented will be useful for those assisting test candidates in preparing applications for accommodations for such tests.

 Thursday, Single Session II (3:15-4:30 pm)

  • Students with Disabilities in Science Laboratories: Teaching Practices, Supports, and Accommodations (All Levels) ~ Tina Doyle, University of Toronto Scarborough; & Elizabeth Martin, University of Toronto Mississauga. Accommodating students with disabilities in the laboratory creates a unique challenge for accommodation planning.  The presenters will discuss academic tasks in the lab (e.g., bell ringers, lab reports), impacts of disabilities on these tasks (e.g., difficulty accepting imperfect results), concerns (e.g., allergens, safety), accessibility, accommodation and inclusive teaching strategies.
  • Notetaking Accommodations: How Technology Can Help (Beginner) ~ Keith Brock, West Hills College Lemoore; Joseph Polizzotto, Taft College; Thad, Selmants, Sierra College District; & Joshua Hori, University of California Davis. Technology has revolutionized the options and solutions for in-class notetaking. Our panel will demonstrate some of the latest mobile technology available. (PC, MAC, iOS, Android).
  • Facilitating a Social Group for Post-Secondary Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Principles and Practices (All Levels) ~ Jason Manett, University of Toronto. This presentation will discuss the processes of developing and facilitating a social group for post-secondary students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The presenter will discuss the perspectives and practices that have contributed to the success of the Social Association for Students with Autism (SASA) at the University of Toronto.
  • In the Classroom and Beyond: Meeting the Needs and Empowering Students with Hearing Loss in Higher Education (All Levels) ~ Tess Fosse & Marybeth Bergen, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. More Deaf and hard of hearing students are educated in mainstream programs and pursue higher education. It is challenging for offices of disability services, at the college level, to meet the unique needs of this student population.  Come learn effective practices you can take back to your institution.
  • Make Learning Come Alive with the Swivl Robotic Platform and Double Robotics Telepresence Robot and Technology Applications Such as Swivl Recap, Zaption, Video Scribe, and Top Hat (All Levels) ~ Peggy Koshland Crane & Billy Barry, Notre Dame de Namur University. Interactive technology is transforming educational practice and improving the way faculty and students interact and learn together. Technology such as the Swivl robotic platform and telepresence robots and new innovative interactive applications allow faculty to address students’ learning needs in a variety of need fulfilling ways. These new educational technologies allow students to effectively interact and demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and understanding in interesting and unique ways.

Friday, Single Session I (1:30-3:00 pm)

  • Managing Chronic Health Conditions: the benefits of student support groups (All Levels) ~ Jodi Rosenblatt, Brandeis University. Many students work extraordinarily hard to be academically successful while maintaining a chronic health condition, illness, and/or pain. They share that it’s challenging, sometimes lonely, and frustrating to manage everything. Come discuss how weekly, drop-in groups build community, share knowledge, and enjoy peer camaraderie!
  • Clickbait: Reeling in a Digital Generation (All Levels) ~ Kathryn Weber, Northeastern University. Northeastern University’s Disability Resource Center (DRC) provides the same level of support to students on campus and students in online and hybrid programs through the DRC’s Blackboard classroom. This session focuses on the development of our classroom, the resources offered, an analysis of student usage, and predictions for future material.
  • The Role of an Academic Counselor for Students with Learning Disabilities, ADHD, and Autism Spectrum Disorders (All Levels) ~ Brandi Schreiber & Kyla Shannon, Texas Tech University. Supporting students with disabilities should foster resiliency, self-advocacy, and retention to the university. In this session, staff from the TECHniques Center at Texas Tech University will share how their approach to academic counseling and advising promotes these three areas and how others can develop similar approaches to supporting students.
  • Testing for Accessibility (All Levels) ~ Andrew Cioffi, Suffolk University. During this session, we will review 508 and WCAG 2.0 web access standards and take a comprehensive look at the various methods for accessibility testing. This session is open to all levels, and will cover some simple, yet effective testing and decision making protocol for both beginners and experts alike.
  • Interdisciplinary Coaching As a Nexus for transforming how institutions support undergraduates with disabilities (iCAN) (Intermediate) ~ Matthew Marino, University of Central Florida; Eleazar Vasquez, University of Central Florida; & Manju Banerjee, Landmark College. This presentation will focus on phase one research conducted in the fall of 2015. The PIs at UCF and Landmark conducted semi-structured interviews with a cross-section of undergraduate students with executive function disabilities in STEM majors. They also interviewed academic coaches, advisors, and faculty members. Presenters will identify a learning and persistence model with digital supports.

Friday, Single Session II (3:15-4:30 pm)

  • Strategies for Math Accessibility in Handouts and Exams (All Levels) ~ Marshall Sunnes & Mary Liz McNamara, New York University. This session shares practical, effective, and inexpensive strategies for providing accessible math handouts and exams, especially when there’s no time to find a qualified vendor to help and resources are thin.
  • Creating a Peer Support Network for College Students with Diversabilities (All Levels) ~ Emily Tarconish, Clark University. Accommodation offices implement academic and residential adjustments for students with diverseabilities, but who better to foster social support and disability awareness than college students themselves? This session will discuss how to create peer supports for students with disabilities, including student groups focused around disability-awareness and support and peer-mentor programs.
  • Test Anxiety: Assessment, Documentation, and Management (All Levels) ~ Benjamin Lovett, SUNY Cortland; & Jason Nelson, University of Georgia. Students with disability diagnoses often mention having significant test anxiety (TA). This presentation will review the nature and causes of TA, and how it is best assessed, documented, and treated. In addition, the presentation will consider when students with TA fall under legal protections and what accommodations are appropriate.
  • Striking a Match: Developing a Remote-Mentoring Program for College Students with Disabilities (Beginner) ~ Lisa Elliot & James McCarthy, Rochester Institute of Technology. This session focuses on the considerations involved in establishing a remote-mentoring program for college students with disabilities who major in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Although the case under discussion primarily involves deaf and hard of hearing college students, attendees will learn useful strategies suggested by current mentorship research.
  • Get Out of the Corner: Creating Collaborative Partnerships Across Campus Constituencies (Beginner) ~ Jacqueline Smith & Bridget Ponte, Carlow University.  Affecting attitudinal changes across campus constituencies can lead to a deeper understanding of student needs and the appropriate ways to accommodate them. This session will help novice Disability Services providers create influential campus partnerships, develop department goals and identify student learning outcomes.