PTI Program [2015]

27th Annual Postsecondary Disability

Training Institute (PTI)

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

Tuesday, June 9th , Wednesday, June 10th – Friday, June 12th, 2015

The Boston Park Plaza Hotel, Boston, Massachusetts

Last updated 2/6/15

 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 from a variety of Strands, Single Sessions, and Pre-Institute Sessions taught by experts in the field that 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, 1-4 pm)

Pre-Institute Session I:

Studying Doesn’t Have to be Boring: Sensory Engagement, Advertising Tricks, and Atypical Neurology (All Levels) ~ Jacqueline Ahl, SUNY New Paltz.  This session covers the development of efficient, effective, and engaging study strategies. It highlights the applicable tricks and techniques of advertising, and the importance of sensory engagement. The workshop culminates with several means to conquer test anxiety, including a technique used by Navy Seals to increase performance success.

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.

Pre Institute Session III:

Preparing for PTI and the Next Academic Year: A Primer to the Hottest Topics in Postsecondary Disability Services (All Levels) ~ Andrew Cioffi, Suffolk University; Kirsten Behling, Suffolk University; Lisa Bibeau, Salem State University; & Chip Kennedy, Curry College.  This session, which is geared towards all levels, will highlight current and coming challenges facing the field of postsecondary disability services, and will provide guiding principles for managing them on our respective campuses.  Topics will include physical access, online accessibility, service and support animals, meal plan and housing

Pre-Institute Session IV:

A Neurologically-informed Approach to Executive Dysfunction (Intermediate/Advanced) ~ Lorre Wolfe, Boston University & Mark Greenberg, Harvard University.  The umbrella of Executive Functioning (EF) encompasses a wide range of capabilities all with the common theme of self-regulation. There are cognitive, motivational and behavioral aspects to EF. Among the elements are attending to the environment for salient cues, monitoring the internal milieu for needs and preferences, initiating and inhibiting behavioral output, as well as the processes of prioritizing, planning and decision making. Individuals with defective EF can display apathy, impulsivity, impaired judgment, disorganization, poor time management and difficulties shifting among competing priorities. A variety of disabling conditions commonly impact brain systems linked to executive functioning. This session will provide a neurologically-informed model for understanding the range of EF and will focus on the interplay between EF and self-regulation in college students with and without disabilities, and the role of neurodevelopmental factors in controlling risky behaviors.


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

  • Suggestions from College Students with ASD ~ Nicholas Gelbar & Allison Shefcyk, University of Connecticut Health Center
  • Beyond Accommodations: Supporting Students with Disabilities to Reclaim Their Academic Power ~ Aillie McKeever, Luccia Arruda, & Cassie Record, North Shore Community College
  • Keys to Campus Access for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing ~ Tia Ivanko & Lisa Caringer, Pepnet2
  • Preparing for Deaf or Hard of Hearing Student: A Tour of Pepnet 2 Resources to Support DSS Professionals, Lisa Caringer & Tia Ivanko, Pepnet2
  • Delta Alpha Pi: Coming Soon to a Campus Near You! ~ Bryanna Anderson, Katie Hudd, & Jody Miele, University of Connecticut
  • Using Mobile Technology to Improve Accessibility of Alternate Format Textbooks ~ Ann Panetta, Quinsigamond Community College
  • The Alabama Alliance for Students with Disabilities STEM (AASD-STEM) Program at Auburn University Montgomery ~ Tamara Massey Garrett & Keyonna Dailey, Auburn University Montgomery
  • College Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Trends in the Literature ~ Jennifer Kowitt, University of Connecticut; Adam Lalor, University of Connecticut; Nicholas Gelbar, University of Connecticut Health Center; Lyman Dukes, III, University of South Florida St. Petersburg
  • College Compass: Utilizing Natural Supports to Expand Your Autism Spectrum Disorders Coaching Program ~ John Woodruff, Rowan University
  • Building Ethics While Saving Costs – A Volunteer Note-taker Program that Works! ~ Sherry Hillyard, Shippensburg University
  • Literature Trends in Higher Education and Disability: Construct Development ~ Adam Lalor, University of Connecticut; Jennifer Kowitt, University of Connecticut; Nicholas Gelbar, University of Connecticut Health Center; Lyman Dukes, University of South Florida St. Petersburg; Allison Lombardi, University of Connecticut; & Joseph Madaus, University of Connecticut

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. Autism – Strategies, Conduct, Accommodations and Retention (of students, faculty and staff!) (All Levels) ~ Jane Thierfeld Brown, University of Connecticut Law School & Lorre Wolf, Boston University.  The majority of students on the autism spectrum contribute to our communities in many positive ways. A small number of students have behaviors which challenge our campuses and our conduct boards. This session will address how to best work with students on the spectrum. Issues for classrooms, residence halls and students organizations will be discussed as well as dealing with parents.
  2. The Boston Tea Party Returns – Understanding the Latest ADA Developments in the Absence of Law (Intermediate) ~ 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. Typically we turn to statutory amendments and/or regulatory changes to understand legal changes. However, in the current political climate, in this area, most agency action today turns on reinterpretation of existing law in the form of “Dear Colleague Letters” or enforcement actions by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice. Attendees will benefit from hearing about the latest legal trends and the breadth of agency interpretation – which is not always to be expected. In the unlikely event that statutes or regulations are revised – or even proposed – this session will analyze these proposals/changes.
  3. Online Accessibility and Our Place of Public Accommodation (All Levels) ~ Andrew Cioffi, Kirsten Behling, & Michael Patrick Connor, Suffolk University. Online content delivery is providing dynamic new barriers for students with disabilities.  Ensuring the accessibility of our online domains for all students as part of our place of public accommodation is paramount.  This three-day strand will focus on current challenges, proposed solutions, and best practices for evaluating and improving our campus online accessibility.
  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-E (Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday; 10:15-noon)

  1. Learning Strategies and Coaching: Pathways to Self-Determination (All Levels) ~ David Parker, Children’s Resource Group.  In an age of helicopter parents, it is more important than ever to promote students’ volitional competence.  The presenter will demonstrate specific learning strategies as well as ADD coaching techniques.  These practical experiences will culminate in an exploration of self-determination.  Is it the services we offer, or how we do so, that promotes students’ autonomy?
  2. Implementing the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) for Disability Resources & Services (All Levels) ~ Donna Korbel, 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. Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) provides a template to assure appropriate service provision and compliance with legislative mandates.
  3. Improving Math Success:  Applying Study Skills, Accommodations, and Course Substitutions for all Disability Groups (All Levels) ~ Paul Nolting, State College of Florida.  Participants will learn math study skills teaching strategies, understand affects of processing deficits,  interpret test scores, recommend appropriate math 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 and math redesigns consequences.
  4. Accommodation Conundrums in Assessing Self-Reported Evidence for Students with Multiple Disabilities (Intermediate) ~ Manju Banerjee, Landmark College & Loring Brinckerhoff, Educational Testing Services. Recent increases in college students with co-morbid and multiple disabilities has resulted in accommodation conundrums for DS personnel. Back by popular demand, this repeat session from 2014 will address ways to authenticate students self-report of disability and accommodation needs using a case study approach. Recommendations for out-of-the-box thinking on accommodations for hidden disabilities will be offered.
  5. Students with Psychiatric Disabilities: Access, Function and the Ability to Cope (All Levels) ~ Laura DiGalbo, Central Connecticut State University. This strand will address the cognitive and emotional repercussions of psychiatric symptoms on learning. Strategies for increasing student accomplishment will be shared. Finally research around the differences between aberrant behavior and psychiatric disabilities including models of risk management and student conduct policy will be explored.

Single Sessions (see below for specific days and times)

New this year – 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)


  • A to Z implementation of Accommodations for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (Beginner) ~ Tia Ivanko & Lisa Caringer, Pepnet2. This session is designed for providers who want to build on their existing knowledge base for providing accommodations for deaf or hard of hearing students.  Aspects such as transition, strategies for determining accommodations, and campus access will be covered. Participants will engage in activities that will foster an understanding of effective accommodations.
  • When Time Flies: Reasonable Accommodations for Participants and Staff in Short-Term Programs and Activities (Intermediate) ~ Melissa Kistler & Brent Mosser, Johns Hopkins University. ADA compliance and accessibility are often overlooked in short-term programs until a problem arises or an individual with a disability requests accommodations. In this session, participants will explore case studies and best practices that come from running short-term residential and non-residential university-affiliated programs for K-12 students.
  • Compliance Issues on the Horizon: Part 1 (All Levels) ~ Salome Heyward, Salome Heyward & Associates.  This session will explore legal compliance developments related to faculty obligations, technical standards and clinical placements, and access to technology.
  • A Review of Assessment Tools for Students and Faculty Relevant to Postsecondary Education and Disability (All Levels) ~ Allison Lombardi, Jennifer Kowitt, & Yan Wei, University of Connecticut. In this session, we will provide an overview of available assessment tools intended for postsecondary students and faculty, including measured constructs and psychometric properties. We will discuss strategies to utilize assessments and encourage data-based decision-making in postsecondary education environments that will benefit and support students with disabilities.
  • Unlocking Potential: Giving Every Student a Fair Shake at Graduating (All Levels) ~ Alan Babcock, Penn State Harrisburg; Alexa Schriempf, Penn State University Park; & Will Skeels, Kurzweil Education. Postsecondary graduation statistics are discouraging – especially for struggling learners. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 59% of first-time, full-time undergraduate students at a 4-year degree-granting institution complete their degree. For students with learning disabilities, only 41% complete college. What can be done to give students, especially those with learning disabilities, a chance to succeed in postsecondary education? In this session, you will hear how the Office of Disability Services at Penn State implemented tools, including Kurzweil 3000-firefly, to support learners who require accommodations. The panelists will explain how, and why, the products they provide help their students unlock their potential and achieve their goal of graduating from college.

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

  • Apps for College Students in a Disability Services Environment (All Levels) ~ Kimberly Doan & Brianna Giacoppe, Tufts University. This presentation will be presented by Tufts University Student Accessibility Services Office staff members; Brianna Giacoppe (Assistive Technology Specialist) and Kimberly Doan (Learning Specialist).  This session is geared to explore the use of iOS and Android applications and the ways in which students can utilize assistive technology solutions to assist in academic and executive functioning skills
  • The Good, the Bad…and Some Luck: The Steps Used to Improve Accessibility for All Students in Online/Hybrid Courses (All Levels) ~ Kathi Jo Burker-Weinert, Northampton Community College. Strategic steps taken through collaboration between Disability Services and Online Learning to reorganize and improve individual course material formats for online/ hybrid courses, while championing the academic freedom of faculty. Includes strategies utilized to persuade senior administrators the importance of increased digital accessibility and support in a funding reduction recession.
  • Strategies to Promote Student Preparation for the College Environment (Beginner) ~ Elisabeth Morel, Western Connecticut State University & Jane Thierfeld Brown, University of Connecticut Law School. Students with disabilities are often underprepared and/or unaware of the multitude of new academic and social requirements. For many students, the provision of reasonable accommodations is simply not enough. These students need supports that address their particular needs. This presentation will explore strategies that can promote preparation for college.
  • Compliance Issues on the Horizon: Part 2 (All Levels) ~ Salome Heyward, Salome Heyward & Associates.  This session will explore legal compliance developments related to documentation standards; student responsibilities; and housing, animals, and food service.
  • Workforce Recruitment Days and the Job Search – A Collaboration between Centers for Career and Disability (Intermediate) ~ Laura Evangelista, University of Connecticut. The Center for Career Development (CCD) and the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) recognize the need to provide specific job search preparation programming for students with disabilities. A series of workshops will be created to address job search preparation and marketed specifically students registered with CSD.

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

  • The Impact of the LSAC Consent Decree on Testing Industry Practices (Advanced) ~ Loring Brinckerhoff, Educational Testing Services; Manju Banerjee, Landmark College; & Nora Pollard, Educational Testing Services. In May 2014, the LSAC and the Department of Justice (DOJ) entered into a consent decree with potential far-reaching effects on high-stakes testing agencies and college campuses. Although many of the issues agreed upon in the decree are longstanding practices of ETS (e.g., elimination of flagged scores), other portions of the decree have led to reexamining policies and practices.
  • So, What IS a Qualified Interpreter? (Beginner) ~ Lisa Caringer & Tia Ivanko, Pepnet2. This session will be a practical discussion about how to meet the communication needs of students who use sign language interpreters. Keeping in mind guidelines for effective communication as it has been outlined by the U.S. Department of Justice, presenters will offer information and resources to support securing qualified interpreters while addressing common concerns.
  • Not Going it Alone: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Housing Accommodations (Intermediate) ~ Christine Street & Liz Reinhards, Washington University in St. Louis.  Students with disabilities often need housing accommodations.  This session will review the housing accommodation approach at one institution.   The process involves multiple student services units, who sit on a housing committee. The session will provide key lessons learned, offer ideas for replication, and summarize how evaluative data is collected and used.
  • “I Second that Emotion” – Managing the Brave New World of Emotional Support Animals  (All Levels) ~ Jeanne Kincaid, Drummond Woodsum & Deborah Cohen, Mount Holyoke College. This presentation covers the nuts and bolts logistics of managing requests for assistance animals, including: policies, procedures, the interactive accommodation process, making sense of disability documentation and determining eligibility, room selection and roommate considerations, emergency procedures and related ethical and logistical dilemmas.
  • Attachment Theory on Significant Early Classroom Experiences and Self-Regulation for Academic Success in College ~ Patty Kean, Curry College. Implicit in every learning experience are the powerful questions, “Who am I?” and “How am I doing?” Considered in depth in psycho-social constructivist literature, identity is also a cognitive-affective process of metacognition and self-regulation. A primary assertion of this presentation is that identity, and therefore learning contexts, depend upon attunement, misattunement, and healthy repair.

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

  • Access for Online and Satellite Campuses: Coordination Between Disability Services, Faculty, and Staff (All Levels) ~ Tami Strouth, Quinsigamond Community College; Ann Panetta, Quinsigamond Community College; & Kirsten Behling, Suffolk University.  This panel session will highlight access to services in online and physical satellite environments.  Topics to be discussed include a mandatory training for faculty in regard to the needs of students with disabilities in online classes; and coordinating appropriate accommodations and consistent services across campuses to ensure integrity and quality of student services in all classes.
  • Striking the Balance of Time for Test-Takers with Disabilities (All Levels) ~ Linda Sullivan & Kimberly Doan, Tufts University. Do you find yourself wondering how much extended testing-time is enough? This presentation is geared for the Disability Service Provider who has experienced an up-tick in the requests for double, triple, or unlimited testing time for in-class exams and is unsure how to handle the onslaught of requests.
  • Interns: Tap into this Creative Resource! (All Levels) ~ Kathy Loder-Murphy, Rutgers University. Interns can be a valuable asset to your office, while at the same time providing the intern with a transformative educational experience. Join me to learn how to develop an intern program that creatively stretches your resources to meet the needs of your students!
  • Graduate Students. Guiding and Developing Academic Success In and Out of the Classroom (All Levels) ~ Martha Lee-Sullivan, University of Pennsylvania & Brian Cuzzolina, Thomas Jefferson University. For graduate and professional students with disabilities, the academic experience of graduate school may find them challenged by courses, assignments and components outside of the classroom that stretch the scope of their comfort zone while simultaneously second guessing strategies that cinched undergraduate school success.
  • Demystifying the Writing Process for Students with Disabilities (All Levels) ~ Susan McMenamin, Joseph Fisher, & Wade Fletcher, George Washington University.  This panel seeks to offer strategies to support the confidence of those with learning challenges when tackling “academic writing”.  At its core, this panel will examine ways of demystifying the academic writing process—drafting, research revision—by situating that process in relation to the highly contextualized and interactive forms of writing that contemporary students complete in their everyday lives.

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


  • Atlas to App: Taking the Transition Roadmap Digital (All Levels) ~ Kathryn Weber & Kyle Droz, Northeastern University. Northeastern University’s Disability Resource Center supports students through a challenging transition: the move from high school to college.  Our preparatory Transition Video Series is sent to registered DRC students prior to beginning academics.  Our session focuses on the reasoning behind the video series, the series content, and the technology used.
  • College Success for Students with ADHD (All Levels) ~ Stephanie Sarkis, Florida Atlantic University. College students with ADHD have difficulty establishing structure, staying organized, following multistep directions, and become distracted during testing.  In this presentation, you will learn tips and tools to best help your college students with ADHD.
  • Foreign Languages for Students with LD? Why Not and How To (All Levels) ~ Linda Hecker, Landmark College. Students with LD are often steered away learning foreign languages via waivers and course substitutions, but is this defensible in our increasingly connected world? Despite the difficulties, success is possible with the right approach. This session considers best practices to meet those challenges.
  • Applying for Testing Accommodations with an Emphasis on TBI: Tips from the Experts Behind the Curtain (All Levels) ~ Loring Brinckerhoff, Nora Pollard, Morgan Murray, & Charnetta Teel, Educational Testing Services. Requesting accommodations can be a complicated process for test takers with disabilities. This session will include a discussion of our documentation requirements with an emphasis on ETS’s most recent guidelines for TBI, ways to streamline the process of requesting accommodations, and common pitfalls that test takers can avoid when seeking accommodations from ETS.

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

  • From Pacing to Passing: Accommodating and Supporting Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (Intermediate) ~ Pearl Levey & Jason Manett, University of Toronto. The presentation will include a discussion of the evolution of supports for students with Autism in university. Areas addressed include unique academic accommodations, promoting appropriate classroom and seminar conduct, and social integration. A short case history will be presented as well as the origins and development of a social group for students with ASD.
  • The Role of the Disability Services Provider in Campus Threat Assessment (Beginner) ~ Daphne Gilles, Rhode Island College & Michael Cunningham, Community College of Rhode Island. In this session, presenters will share original data collected from New England area disability services providers; the data will focus on disability services providers and their relationships to campus threat assessment teams.  Session participants will learn about typical threat assessment-related practice among New England area disability services providers and leave with concrete guidelines for having their professional code of ethics align with their role and responsibility as a member of a campus behavioral intervention or threat assessment team.
  • How to Host a Weekly Workshop on Mindfulness Practices to Help Students Reduce Anxiety and Improve Concentration (Beginner) ~ Claire Weigand & Liz Gasparini, Tufts University. Mindfulness can enhance emotional regulation and concentration while reducing anxiety. In this session, we will review recent studies looking at evidence-based practices. Attendees will learn about an interactive eight-week workshop developed to help students learn a variety of mindfulness practices and their benefits.
  • Findings from the National Coordinating Center on Transition Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (All Levels) ~ Debra Hart, University of Massachusetts Boston. The findings of this groundbreaking three-year comprehensive evaluation of 27 demonstration projects implemented at 44 US colleges and universities will be shared. Presenter will offer insights about effective K-12 transition and higher education practices and policies that allow students with intellectual disability to access higher education.