Volume XII Number 1, June 2008


John Slatin, who passed away in March, was a member of Information Technology and Disabilities' Editorial Board. This issue of ITD is dedicated in his memory.

Feature Articles

Delivering The General Curriculum: Pre-service Teacher Perspectives Regarding A Technological Approach For Students With Moderate And Severe Disabilities

Thomas Simmons
Debra Bauder
Michael Abell
William Penrod
University of Louisville

The emphasis on inclusion of children with disabilities has brought about significant changes to how students with disabilities are able to access the general curriculum. Students with moderate to severe disabilities have historically been offered few instructional resources that provide such access and alignment with instruction offered in the inclusionary setting. With the advancement in technology, curriculum can now be universally designed in digital format while offering more ways for students to engage the learning process. This article discusses how pre-service teachers viewed the use of digital curriculum content with this student population. In particular, how pre-service teachers view digital curriculum developed using Intellitools Classroom Suite™ as a new and flexible instructional tool that can help meet the broad learning needs of all students including those with severe disabilities by offering improved ways to modify the curriculum.

Accessible IT: Lessons Learned From Three Universities

Sheryl Burgstahler
University of Washington

Alice Anderson
University of Wisconsin–Madison

John Slatin and Kay Lewis
University of Texas at Austin

Technology has the potential to maximize personal productivity, access to information, and collaboration among students, faculty, and staff in postsecondary institutions. However, many websites and other information technologies (IT) at postsecondary institutions are not fully accessible to people with disabilities. There is no single way to increase the use of accessible IT on campus, but there are promising practices that advance this effort, including (1) securing the support of high-level administrators; (2) involving key stakeholder groups; (3) adopting guidelines or standards; (4) providing training and technical support; (4) developing goals, benchmarks, and timelines; (5) implementing a system for monitoring accessibility progress and revising policies and procedures; (6) working with one program to create a model of accessibility policies and practices to share with others; and (7) recognizing those who promote the use of accessible IT on campus. This article summarizes the experiences of three large state universities that have addressed IT accessibility issues in multiple ways. Their experiences can help other institutions begin or revise policies, procedures, and practices in this area.

A Regional Profile Of Assistive Technology Services: Assessment Of Service Delivery And Suggestions For Improving Post Secondary Transition

Brian J. Kearney
James Sissom
Southern Illinois University

This article describes a study that investigates the adaptation and use of an existing survey (School District Profile of Assistive Technology Services), to perform an assessment of the delivery of Assistive Technology (AT) services and training in seven Special Education Cooperatives that provide special education services to the K-12 schools in the southern Illinois region. The survey assesses: The quality and type of AT services that are currently being used to support special education students in the school setting; the type of training needed by school personnel with regard to AT; and the survey instrument, in its modified form, perceived as an effective instrument for assessing the delivery of AT services. The authors discuss the appropriateness and challenges associated with applying authentic collaboration conceptual models and guidelines suggested by researchers for developing teams that facilitate the transition of students with disabilities from K-12 to postsecondary levels of education.

Online Accessibility And Leadership: A Critical View At The American Library Association

Axel Schmetzke
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

The author takes a critical view at the leadership of the American Library Association (ALA) and discusses the extent to which its policies and mode of operation promote, or fail to promote, a barrier-free online library environment. The author analyzes selected ALA policies, and examines the degree to which accessibility advocating groups within ALA participate in the process of policy making. He finds that several ALA policies and guidelines dealing with digital resources neglect to address the needs of users with disabilities, and that the organizations within ALA that are advocates for people with disabilities, particularly the Libraries Serving Special Populations Section (LSSPS) and the Accessibility Assembly, fail to pay attention to policy development in other ALA branches. The author's major recommendations include: First, advocates for people with disabilities within ALA need to band together and put in place an organizational structure (a kind of watchdog group) that enables them to systematically monitor, and, if deemed necessary, to respond to the policies and guidelines drafted by other ALA groups. Second, ASCLA, LSSPS, the Accessibility Assembly, and other "disability advocates" within ALA need to lobby the ALA Accreditation Committee to pay attention to the accessibility of library/information science programs and to require a curriculum that ensures that all newly trained librarians understand the needs of diverse populations, including those of people with disabilities. Third, suitable ALA organizations should establish a clearinghouse providing easy access to vendor-supplied information as well as pointers to data collected by independent researchers.