Disability Services for Students

302 Memorial Union Univeristy of Rhode Island Kingston, RI 02881


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Seminar Curriculum Philosophy

Mentor Training Video
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The guiding philosophy of this training curriculum is that disability is an example of cultural diversity.

Our culture endorses a negative stigma of disability that is similar to what other minority groups experience.

This stigmatization can be the most limiting feature of having a disability.

Additionally, it impacts all of us by denying the contributions of this group to society at large.

Fortunately, information, knowledge and sensitivity can combat this negative stigma and facilitate inclusion.

All aspects of society, including higher education, have an obligation to all of its members to facilitate integration of all persons, including persons with disabilities, into the community and to advance their development toward each individual’s maximum potential.

The overall goal of this curriculum is to foster the development of an integrative, accepting and facilitating environment for Rhode Island college students who have disabilities.

This goal will be reached by providing specialized training to a cohort of faculty and administrators at the state’s institutions of higher education.

These trained faculties will serve as ongoing mentors to their peers in relationship to disability issues.

Participants completing the training curriculum will be able to:

Participants completing the training curriculum will be able to:

  1. describe common stereotypes of persons with disabilities and the associated limitations these stereotypes foster
  2. identify and implement strategies to combat the negative stigma of disability
  3. summarize the basic principles of the IDEA and the ADA
  4. explain the concept of “reasonable accommodations” and give examples for a range of disabilities
  5. summarize the latest research on learning disabilities, including types, causes and accommodation strategies
  6. describe common mental illnesses including their symptoms, treatments and unique associated stigma
  7. demonstrate mentoring skills, including active listening, problem-solving, and consideration of multiple points-of-view
  8. describe affective and psychomotor consequences of selected (simulated) disabilities
  9. describe/discuss first person accounts of life with a disability
  10. disseminate seminar content to departmental/administrative/unit colleagues

Techniques/learning activities to reach objectives
A variety of techniques have been utilized to meet the overall goal of this project and the more specific objectives. These techniques are organized and integrated across three major activities:

  1. a series of training seminars
  2. dissemination activities by seminar participants to individual departments
  3. ongoing support meetings for the seminar participants

The training seminars have been a twenty-four hour program designed to give participants a range of experiences to broaden their understanding of disability issues and persons with disabilities.

A diversity of leaning activities will be utilized in this seminar including:

  1. didactic presentations with accompanying discussions/question-and-answer sessions
  2. simulated disability sessions
  3. hands-on experiences with technical supports for persons with disabilities
  4. consideration and discussion of disability media including books and award-winning documentaries and short films about persons with disabilities

An important aspect of this seminar is that students and others with disabilities are integrated into all aspects of the training to provide positive role models and first-hand accounts of life with a disability. Please see the attached curriculum for tentative topics and schedule for the proposed seminar.
Each seminar participant is responsible to disseminate the essentials of the seminar content to their home academic department or administrative unit within the next academic year.

This dissemination may take many forms with formats varying to maximize compatibility with the learning culture in individual departments.

For example, the degree of formality of these presentations is on a continuum from formal agenda items at departmental faculty meetings to informal (but multiple) discussions involving fewer participants at a time.

The purposes of the ongoing monitoring (which has been folded into the training sessions) are to:

  1. support dissemination of information at the departmental/ administrative unit level
  2. provide feedback to the grant PIs for refinement of the seminar content
  3. monitor the number, type and resolution of disability-related inquiries/incidents in which participants are involved
  4. provide support to participants in their role as disability liaisons

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