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Students with disabilities face unique challenges as they transition from high school to post secondary academic and employment settings. What factors help students with disabilities secure success in academics and employment? This article summarizes research findings on school and employment outcomes for students with disabilities and shares practices that support successful transitions.Transition activities that develop and provide opportunities to practice social, academic, career, and self-determination skills can promote success for students with disabilities. Research-based practices that have helped bring students from other underrepresented groups into challenging fields of study and employment include:• access to technology,• participation in programs that bridge …

Represented in most distance learning courses are a variety of racial/ethnic backgrounds, ages, native languages, and learning styles. In addition, students may have disabilities that include blindness, low vision, hearing impairments, mobility impairments, and learning disabilities. However, most distance learning programs only deal with accessibility issues when a student with a disability enrolls in a course; in other words, they provide accommodations.The process of making accessibility decisions while a distance learning course is being developed is an application of Universal Design (UD). Applying UD can be easier and therefore less expensive than only quickly developing accommodation strategies each time a …

Each year the DO-IT Center coordinates technology-rich activities at selected summer camps. They teach campers how to send messages to their friends and family with electronic mail, use the World Wide Web for fun and education, create World Wide Web pages and program computers. DO-IT also teaches camp administrators how to develop programs. For example, Camp Courage, a residential camp in Minnesota for youth with disabilities, has developed technology-rich offerings that delight campers season after season. Other camps can do it, too! DO-IT has found the following steps helpful when developing technology-rich offerings at a typical summer camp: Put together …

Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler is an Affiliate Professor in the College of Education at the University of Washington in Seattle. Her teaching and research focus on the successful transition of students with disabilities to college and careers and on the application of universal design to technology, learning activities, physical spaces, and student services in educational settings. She founded and continues to direct the DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Center and the UW Access Technology Center. She can be reached at sherylb@uw.edu. Many programs nationwide serve to provide computer access and other supports to promote the success of students with disabilities …

Peer, Near-Peer and Mentor SupportStudents with disabilities can benefit from help in developing self-determination, academic, employment and independent living skills necessary to successfully transition to college and other adult life activities. Getting this support from successful role models with disabilities can be particularly impactful as they establish goals, develop skills and learn to request reasonable accommodations. Individuals in helping relationships have sometimes been classified into three types – mentors, peers and near-peers.Mentors, typically more experienced adults, can help proteges explore career options, set academic and career goals, develop professional contacts, identify resources, strengthen interpersonal skills and develop a sense of …

Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D. is an Affiliate Professor of Education at the University of Washington in Seattle. She founded and continues to direct the University of Washington’s Access Technology Center and the DO-IT Center (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology). She has published dozens of articles and a book and has delivered numerous presentations on the application of universal design to technology and in educational settings. She can be reached at <sherylb@uw.edu> Olivia, who is blind, has a computer equipped with text-to-speech technology at school. It reads aloud all of the text presented on her screen. She goes to the computer lab …

Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler founded and directs the DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology) Center at the University of Washington. Dr. Burgstahler is an affiliate professor in the College of Education at the University of Washington in Seattle. Her teaching and research focus on the successful transition of students with disabilities to college and careers and on the application of universal design to technology, learning activities, physical spaces and student services. Scott Bellman currently serves as program manager at DO-IT, where he has worked for 12 years. His interests include the career development of students with disabilities and access to challenging …