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Challenges Integrating Students With Disabilities

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Colleges and universities continue to face challenges integrating students with disabilities into the campus milieu, despite social, legislative, and technological policies designed to provide equal opportunities in higher education. Education about the rights and necessary supports to further inclusion of students with disabilities in campus programs and activities is key for student affairs practitioners. Over the past 25 years since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the number of students with disabilities enrolled in postsecondary education has more than doubled (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2000; 2012) and about 11% of all students in postsecondary educational institutions in the U.S. are students who report having disabilities (NCES, 2012). Higher educational attainment is linked to increased likelihood of employment and higher incomes (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014); a higher level of education for people with disabilities improves the chances for them to sustain themselves financially with dignity and greater participation as citizens. The call to inclusion for academic institutions is to make programs and services accessible to all students, which may include making physical adjustments to facilities, providing accessible information technology, and incorporating the concept of universal design in programming and activities.

This chapter is designed to assist student affairs professionals in providing full and
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