Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Resources for Students with Disabilities

The Arkansas State Library has a wide range of materials available for the public and for educators, including resources that can help students and teachers improve educational opportunities for students with disabilities. I was alerted to one website recently by a patron, and was prompted to find others. Here is that website, along with another informational publication and two books that are available here at the library.
  • The DO-IT website from the University of Washington. DO-IT stands for Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology, and the program "serves to increase the participation of individuals with disabilities in challenging academic programs and careers. It promotes the use of computer and networking technologies to increase independence, productivity, and participation in education and employment." The website provides information about the programs and camps offered for students, as well as links to the many free publications for students, parents and educators. There is so much information hidden behind the plain website front (designed to be easily read by people with visual impairments) that I can't even begin to go into it all here.
  • As a government repository, the Arkansas State Library gets copies and access to all the publications put out by the federal government, including those for students with disabilities and educators who serve them. One of these is Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities. This is available on the internet, or through our catalog. This particular pamphlet focuses on the civil rights of students with disabilities who wish to continue their education by going to college or other postsecondary educational programs.
  • If you are visual impaired, and have decided to go to college or another educational program, Funding for Persons With Visual Impairments by Gail Ann Schlachter and R. David Weber is a good starting place. This book provides a list of scholarships, fellowships, loans, grants, awards and internships that may be available to you. Some of the funding sources are location specific, such as those offered by the various states, while others are open to a wide range of applicants. Some of the sources are also available for deaf or deaf-blind students.
  • The materials at the Arkansas State Library also include resources for students with learning disabilities. The Complete Learning Disabilities Directory from Grey House Publishing has contact information and short summaries for thousands of associations, newsletters, publishers, products & services, and websites directed at students, parents and professionals. The K&W Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities from The Princeton Review has information about colleges in each state that have accomodations for students with learning disabilities, including the admissions policies and services available. Both of these books are available in the reference section of the library for in-house use.