Mara Salter & Kay Chan

Supporting Future Professionals: Accessibility Module for University Students with Disabilities

Authors: Mara Salter, Kay Chan, Dr. Tal Jarus, & Michael Lee

Introduction. Students with disabilities, enrolled in health and human service (HHS) programs encounter a variety of barriers when engaging in their occupations as students and future professionals in both academic and clinical contexts. The DREAM (Disclosure, Rights & Responsibilities, Advocacy, and Accommodations Module) is a blended learning series comprised of an online module and face-to-face workshops, guided by gaps identified by students with disabilities. Evaluations from the pilot version of the DREAM demonstrated relevance to students’ needs and potential for widespread impact. Objectives. The purpose of this project is to evaluate the usability and efficacy of the modified DREAM in developing students’ knowledge and skills to enhance successful participation in the educational context, and on building a sense of community. Accessibility of the module will also be evaluated. Methods. Students with and without disabilities from all HHS programs will be recruited. Acquisition of knowledge and skills will be measured through the use of surveys, interviews and focus groups, before and after completing the online and in-person workshops. Results. We anticipate that the DREAM will be effective in providing knowledge and skills that will help students with disabilities in HHS programs successfully participate in their educational experience in both academic and clinical contexts. Conclusion. Adapting the environment for individuals to successfully participate in meaningful occupations is a core and historical principle of occupational therapy. Therefore, the DREAM learning series can potentially enable occupational therapy education to be more inclusive in the future.