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THE DISABILITY EXPERIENCE CONFERENCE Heroes in the Classroom: Addressing the needs of today’s student with disabilities in postsecondary education Anne.

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Presentation on theme: "THE DISABILITY EXPERIENCE CONFERENCE Heroes in the Classroom: Addressing the needs of today’s student with disabilities in postsecondary education Anne."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE DISABILITY EXPERIENCE CONFERENCE Heroes in the Classroom: Addressing the needs of today’s student with disabilities in postsecondary education Anne Barry, BS University of Pittsburgh

2 STUDENT VETERANS WITH DISABILITIES 1.9 million American troops deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) Over 50,000 troops wounded or injured  Vietnam – 3:1  OIF/OEF – 16:1 Greater than 30 % of Veterans affected by “invisible” disabilities Approximately 2 million veterans will enroll in postsecondary education 760,000 are currently using GI Bill Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Act of 2008 (New GI Bill) Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments of 2008 (ADAAA)

3 Prudential & IAVA, 2013

4 TODAY’S STUDENT VETERAN Assets: Valued skill set and knowledge Integrity and character strength Trained leaders Quick thinkers and decision making under pressure Obstacles: Non traditional student Disability/denial of disability Benefits navigation Stigma and attitudinal barriers

5 A COMPARATIVE LOOK Percentage of population 27.2% 45.9% *considered by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to be those who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces between September 2001 and the present Mitcham, M. (2013). Academic recognition of military experience in STEM education. American Council on Education.

6 TBI & PTSD Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): A traumatically induced structural injury and/or physiological disruption of brain function as a result of an external force 10-20% deployed experience blast explosion Cognitive dysfunction most frequently reported symptom Memory loss, attention, concentration, speed of processing & executive functioning Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): An anxiety disorder that develops after someone has experienced a traumatic event. Marked by 4 major types of symptoms Re-experiencing, avoidance, numbing & arousal 13.8% of OIF/OEF veterans

7 ELEVATE Experiential Learning for Veterans in Assistive Technology and Engineering at the Human Engineering Research Laboratories 10 week internship program Composed of experiential learning, targeted skills training, vocational rehabilitation, and mentoring STEM focus

8 STRATEGIES, ACCOMMODATIONS & SUGGESTIONS Understanding of military culture and prevalent disabilities Flexible schedules Scheduled breaks Mentoring (peer and group) “It takes a community” Veteran groups “People who I would consider my best friends here still cannot relate to me on certain levels as far as the experiences I’ve had. You just can’t relate unless you have been there. Those people have. Those relationships are still very strong and very important” – Marine veteran

9 QUOTE PROJECT Quality of Life Technology Enrichment (QuOTE) project Focus on the four-year college to graduate school, and four-year college to workforce junctures through a model-building intervention for students with disabilities at the University of Pittsburgh Significant need to develop interventions to assist in the transition of SWD to graduate school and employment, especially in STEM disciplines 63% of SWD had enrolled in some form of postsecondary education two years after high school compared to 72% of students without disabilities Only 5.4% of graduate students in engineering and computer science domains are SWD, yet by the time they make the decision to advance to the PhD and graduate, SWD made up only 2% of the doctorates granted

10 IMPLICATIONS & CONCLUSIONS Urgent need for discussion and sharing of best-practices Building a community Education to reduce stigma Advocate!

11 RESOURCES AND Q&A American Council on Education: Military guide New Directions for Student Services, summer 2009 Special issue: Creating a veteran-friendly campus: Strategies for transition success Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 2009 Special issue: Veterans with disabilities Anne Barry Thank you!


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