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Introduction

HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the second of Sloan-C 2013 Accessibility Webinar Series. For this webinar, we have our student and alumni panel with the topic, What Students with Disabilities Want Faculty and Administrators to Know. And we have a wonderful group of panelists today. But I would like to first thank to our sponsors– 3Play Media, Perkins eLearning, and University of Illinois College of Education for sponsoring this webinar series and for their contributions.

We are very fortunate to have Kristen Betts, our Director of Online and Blended Learning at Armstrong Atlantic State University and as a co-moderator, our Chief Knowledge Officer Janet Moore as our moderators today. And with that, I would like to now hand microphone over to Dr. Betts so that she can introduce our panelists and best practices commissions today. Kristen, the floor is all yours. Thank you.

KRISTEN BETTS: Thank you so much, Sharon. And I want to thank all of you for attending today’s session. What we’re going to do to begin is we’ll look just briefly at our panelists here and introduce them, because we’re going to have a more detailed introduction in just a minute. We have Daniel Veit, who is currently a master’s student in a higher education program at Drexel University. He is also working with Texas School for the Deaf.

We have Alex Cohen, who is a graduate from the Master’s of Science program at Drexel University and a current Ph.D. Student at Drexel University. Henry Alphin, who also has his master’s degree from Drexel University and is working at Drexel University currently in Information Technology Services. And Dominique Williamson, who is currently an undergraduate student at Columbus State University, taking online and blended courses, and he’s a retired US veteran.

Our agenda is going to be very focused on the speakers, so we will spend some time in terms of the panel introduction so you can learn more about the academic, professional, and personal backgrounds of our panelists. We’ll then have just two questions. The first question being what faculty and administrators need to know about accessibility in working with students with disabilities. The second question, strategies to increase online students’ success.

And then we will open up the floor to questions and answers at the last 20 minutes of the session. The chat– if you would like when we began the second part of the presentation with the second question, you can start typing questions in. And we will certainly move those forward so we can ask our panelists. One thing I encourage you to think about, while the questions are the same, listen to the breadth of the responses, because for each student there’ll be similarities as well as differences.

Disability Trends Worldwide

We wanted to start off with just some global and national data. Couple of things to consider. There’s a wonderful report that came out from the World Health Organization in 2011. In it stated that we have over 285 million individuals worldwide who are visually impaired. 39 million of these individuals are blind. We have 246 million individuals who have moderate to serious severe visual impairment.

Rising Disability in the United States

When we look within the United States, 48 million Americans have significant hearing loss either in one ear or both ears. And an interesting quote here– “Nearly one in five Americans age 12 and older experience hearing loss severe enough to interfere with day-to-day communication.”

Some national data as well– approximately 20% of US population report having a disability. And for individuals who may not be involved in the Office of Disability Services may be in a different role. These numbers are based on self-reporting. 10% of individuals in the United States self-report either an individual or a hidden disability, and we’ll talk more about that in minute.

11% percent of our higher education [INAUDIBLE] population, with regard to students, report having a disability. And it’s often stated that this number is not as high as educators would assume it would be. And lastly, we have no available data in regards to our online students who have disabilities.

With regard to veterans, something to consider– online programs are certainly going out and marketing to veterans, as are most colleges and universities. What we need to think about in particular– disabilities that veterans may have. If you look at the statistics here, it is going to really be something institutions need to look at across multiple services. So 45% percent of the 1.6 million veterans that are coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan were seeking disability.

What’s interesting is, they said earlier on, eight to nine disability claims were being reported by veterans. And now with the new veterans who are coming back, they’re claiming 11 to 14 disabilities. When you look at the overall number of veterans who sought VA care, you have approximately 156 are blind. Thousands with impaired vision. You have hearing loss. You have 350,000 who report tinnitus. Tens of thousands they talk about in terms of reporting traumatic brain injury. And then when you look at post traumatic stress disorder, you also have almost a half a million.

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