Episode 71 Resources: Improving Lifelong Success: The Morehouse College approach to academic supports for students with disabilities

Speaker: Carolyn  Walker - Director, Frederick Douglass Academic Resource Center, Morehouse College
Original Air Date: August 7, 2019

Table of Contents


In today's economy, higher education is no longer a luxury for the privileged few, but a necessity for individual economic opportunity and America's competitiveness in the global economy. In an age when jobs can go anywhere in the world, skills and education are indispensable in determining success for individuals and for nations. As a result, a college education remains the best investment a student can make in his or her future.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, almost 20% of male undergraduate students reported having a disability in the 2015-2016 academic year. Critical to the success of these students is awareness and understanding of the legal and academic supports available to them in the college environment.

In this episode of ADA Live!, we will talk with Ms. Carolyn Walker, Director of the Frederick Douglass Academic Resource Center at Morehouse College, the world’s only HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) for men. Ms. Walker will discuss the importance of support for students with disabilities while in college, the supports Morehouse College provides to its students, and how students can access those supports and services to ensure a successful academic experience.

Featured Organization:
Morehouse College
Web: morehouse.edu
The mission of Morehouse College, a private historically black liberal arts college for men, is to develop men with disciplined minds who will lead lives of leadership and service. Morehouse realizes this mission by emphasizing the intellectual and character development of its students. In addition, the College assumes special responsibility for teaching the history and culture of black people. Founded in 1867 and located in Atlanta, Georgia, Morehouse is an academic community dedicated to teaching, scholarship, and service, and the continuing search for truth as a liberating force. Morehouse seeks students who are willing to carry the torch of excellence and who are willing to pay the price of gaining strength and confidence by confronting adversity, mastering their fears, and achieving success by earning it. In pursuit of its mission, Morehouse challenges itself to be among the very finest liberal arts institutions in the world.

Douglass Academic Resource Center at Morehouse College (DARC)
830 Westview Drive SW
Atlanta, GA 30314
Main: 470-639-0999
Web: morehouse.edu/academics/academicresourcecenter/acs.html
E-mail: carolyn.walker@morehouse.edu
Direct: (470) 639-0635

ADA Live! Archive

Audio: SoundCloud ADA Live! Episode 71: Improving Lifelong Success: The Morehouse College Approach to Academic Supports for Students with Disabilities
Web: soundcloud.com/adalive/
ADA Live! Episode 71: Improving Lifelong Success: The Morehouse College Approach to Academic Supports for Students with Disabilities

Disclaimer: The Southeast ADA Center cannot guarantee accessibility for external websites. We provide this information as a courtesy and do not endorse, take responsibility for, exercise control of the organization, or monitor its website content. Some websites may restrict public access or require registration.

Federal Regulations and Guidance on Postsecondary Education

This information is copied from the AHEAD website
Web: www.ahead.org/professional-kresources/accommodations
Colleges and universities have an obligation to provide access to students with disabilities in all institutional programs and activities. This obligation is articulated in:

While “reasonable accommodations” (auxiliary aids and services and academic adjustments) are just one path to access, they, along with campus-wide consultation and training, are often necessary to afford access to individuals with disabilities. Decisions regarding whether an accommodation is appropriate requires an individualized, interactive process and an understanding of the context.

  • Auxiliary Aids and Services for Postsecondary Students with Disabilities
    Source: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights
    Web: www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/auxaids.html
  • Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education
    Source: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights
    Web: www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/transition.html
  • How to File a Discrimination Complaint with the Office of Civil Rights
    The Office for Civil Rights enforces several Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education.
    Source: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights
    Web: www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/howto.html
  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
    The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
    Source: U.S. Department of Education
    Web: https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html
  • Health Information Privacy
    HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) is federal legislation that provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information. This website has information on the legal rights of individuals and the responsibilities of professionals.
    Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office for Civil Rights
    Web: https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/index.html

Other Guidance on Higher Education and the Law

  • ADA and Higher Education (Legal Brief No. 26)
    PDF download, 32 pages This legal brief looks at the ADA and Section 504 and other related federal regulations, policies, agencies, and court decisions. (May 2016)
    Source: Great Lakes ADA Center
    Web: adagreatlakes.com/Publications/Legal_Briefs/BriefNo26_ADA_Higher_ED.pdf
  • Factsheet on Disability Rights Laws for Public Primary and Secondary Education
    This factsheet explains the general obligations that public elementary and secondary schools have toward students with disabilities under Federal laws such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It also includes information on bullying, nonacademic services, enforcement and discrimination, and provides resources for parents and educators.
    Source: Southwest ADA Center
    Web:  southwestada.org/html/publications/schools/general/k12-rights.html
  • ADA Q & A: Post-Secondary Education (Fact Sheet)
    Source: PACER Center
    Web: www.pacer.org/publications/adaqa/504.asp
  • Postsecondary Institutions and Students with Disabilities
    This document explains the legal obligations that postsecondary institutions have toward students with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Fair Housing Act. Also available in Spanish.
    Source: ADA National Network
    Web: adata.org/factsheet/postsecondary
  • The Law and Accessible Texts: Reconciling Civil Rights and Copyrights
    This report analyzes how institutions of higher education can provide all students with equal access to information under current law. Ensuring equal access to research and learning materials is critical in protecting the civil rights of people with disabilities.
    Source: Association of Research Libraries and the University of Virginia Library
    Web: www.arl.org/resources/the-law-and-accessible-texts-reconciling-civil-rights-and-copyrights/
  • College Students and Disability Law - Admissions Policy
    A legal analysis of disability rights law regarding school admissions policies for students with learning disabilities.
    Source: LD Online
    Web: www.ldonline.org/article/6082/
  • Higher Education for Students with Disabilities: Rights, Resources and Accredited Online Schools
    A guide to help students with disabilities and their parents better understand their rights and responsibilities in regard to a postsecondary education. You will also find useful tips and information for locating the college or university program that best suits your needs.
    Source: Accredited Schools Online
    Web: www.accreditedschoolsonline.org/resources/best-accredited-colleges-schools-for-students-with-disabilities/

Policy Guidance and Best Practices for Colleges and Universities

  • Coalition for Disability Access in Health Science and Medical Education
    The Coalition is a collaboration among peer institutions that aims to improve the student experience with disability accommodations in graduate health science and medical education programs. There are resources for both student and faculty support.
    Source: University of Michigan
    Web: ssd.umich.edu/article/coalition-disability-access-health-science-and
  • Supporting Students: A Model Policy for Colleges and Universities
    This guide helps colleges and universities develop policies and procedures that don’t discriminate against students with mental health needs. The model was developed in consultation with mental health experts, higher education administrators, counselors and students. There is also a guide and a fact sheet for students seeking help with mental health issues.
    Source: The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
    Web: www.bazelon.org/our-work/education/campus-mental-health/
  • National Center on Accessible Educational Materials (AEM)
    This organization provides resources and technical assistance for educators, parents, students, publishers, conversion houses, accessible media producers, and others interested in learning more about and implementing AEM and the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS).
    Web: http://aem.cast.org/
    Higher Education and Accessible Education Materials
    Web: aem.cast.org/supporting/higher-education-aem.html#.XTiJJnt7nIU
  • CAST – Universal Design for Learning
    A nonprofit education research and development organization that works to expand learning opportunities for all individuals through Universal Design for Learning.
    Web: www.cast.org/
  • National Research Study: Student Uses and Perceptions of Closed Captions & Transcripts
    This study reveals that putting coursework and lectures in writing has many purposes and value that positively affect people well beyond the hearing-impaired community.
    Source: 3 Play Media
    Web: www.3playmedia.com/resources/research-studies/student-uses-of-closed-captions-and-transcripts/
  • Characteristics and Experiences of Youth Who Are Deaf-Blind
    This report provides a detailed picture of youth who are deaf-blind and who received special education services in U.S. schools from 2001-2009. It contains in-depth information about youth who are deaf-blind from multiple perspectives, including parents, guardians, youth, and teachers, and it is the first overview of the secondary and post-secondary school experiences of this population.
    Source: National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision at Mississippi State University
    Web: www.blind.msstate.edu/our-products/youth-with-deaf-blindness/
  • Resources for College - Continuing and Higher Education
    A collection of legal and practical information and resources for students, families, educators, administrators, advocates, and anyone else dealing with college and higher education issues.
    Source: Wrightslaw
    Web: www.wrightslaw.com/info/college.index.htm

Resources for Disability Student Services Professionals

Continuing Education

  • Accessing Higher Ground
    This annual conference focuses on the use and importance of accessible media, universal design and assistive technology in university, business and public settings; legal and policy issues, including ADA and 508 compliance; and, the creation of accessible media and information resources, including web pages and library resources.
    Source: Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)
    Web: accessinghigherground.org/
  • AHEAD Start Academy
    This conference focuses on the needs of disability resource professionals just learning or continuing to build fundamental knowledge and skills. The Academy educates and trains those newer to the field of disability student services.
    Source: Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)
    Web: www.ahead.org/events-programming/conferences/2019-ahead-start
  • National ADA Symposium
    This conference provides the latest information on ADA regulations and guidelines, implementation strategies, and best practices through interactive sessions. Symposium presenters represent the key federal agencies involved in implementing the ADA, including Department of Justice (DOJ), U.S. Access Board, and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The Symposium has a reputation as the most comprehensive conference on the ADA. CEUs are available.
    Source: ADA National Network
    Web: www.adasymposium.org/

Interesting Reading

Professional Development

  • Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)
    AHEAD offers resources, training and networking opportunities to disability resource professionals, student affairs personnel, ADA coordinators, diversity officers, AT/IT staff, faculty and other instructional personnel, and colleagues who are invested in creating welcoming higher education experiences for disabled individuals.
    Web: www.ahead.org/home
  • Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
    This membership organization supports and promotes a national network of university-based interdisciplinary programs in every U.S. state and territory, and all are part of universities or medical centers. They connect the university and the community, bringing together the resources of both to achieve meaningful change.
    Web: www.aucd.org
  • Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability (JPED)
    A refereed journal and forum for scholarship in the field of postsecondary disability services. It is a resource for members and other professionals dedicated to the advancement of full participation in higher education for persons with disabilities.
    Source: Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)
    Web: www.ahead.org/professional-resources/publications/jped

Selected National Deaf Center on Postsecondary (NDC) Resources

  • National Deaf Center (NDC) on Postsecondary Outcomes
    Provides technical guidance, information, research, and resources to close the substantial gaps in education and employment that exist for deaf people in the United States.
    Source: U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)
    Web: https://www.nationaldeafcenter.org/
  • National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes (NDC) Resources Page
    These resources are developed by experts, covering a variety of topics to support evidence-based practices in postsecondary outcomes for deaf individuals. Find guides, templates, overviews, publications, videos and more.
    Web: www.nationaldeafcenter.org/resources
  • Project Opening Doors
    NDC is conducting research on student and faculty perspectives on accessibility and inclusion of deaf students at postsecondary institutions across the United States. They are looking for students and faculty to complete a survey. The survey results will be used to enhance and customize technical assistance for students, faculty and institutions, and to help them better understand the current state of accessibility in higher education.
    Web: www.nationaldeafcenter.org/project-opening-doors
  • NDC Facebook Page
    Check out more resources, tips and videos related to research, employment, and high expectations for Deaf people in higher education. (All videos are captioned but not all are audio described.)
    Web: www.facebook.com/nationaldeafcenter/
  • Equitable Access Guide: Understanding Legal Responsibilities for Institutions (Second Edition)
    This resource is for professionals who want a better understanding of the legal requirements in serving deaf students. Disability law attorneys and experienced practitioners explain institutional responsibilities and provide tips for implementing policies and procedures.
    Web: nationaldeafcenter.org/resource/equitable-access-guide-understanding-legal-responsibilities-institutions-second-edition
  • Note Taker Training
    This self-guided online training course provides strategies that enable student note takers to provide accurate, comprehensive classroom notes for deaf students.
    Web:  explore.nationaldeafcenter.org/courses/note-taker-training
  • Note Taking: An Introduction (Fact Sheet)
    Web:  nationaldeafcenter.org/resource/note-taking-introduction

Webinars and Podcasts on Postsecondary Education

Student and Family Resources on Postsecondary Education

  • National Center for College Students with Disabilities
    Technical assistance and information to anyone about disability and higher education, including college students, their families, faculty, college administrators and staff, disability services professionals, researchers, and policymakers. They collect information and do research about disability services at campuses in the United States, sharing findings with the public. They also report to the U.S. Department of Education about the current status of college students with disabilities in the U.S. 
    Web: http://www.nccsdonline.org
  • Think College
    Think College is a national organization dedicated to developing, expanding, and improving research and practice in inclusive higher education for people with intellectual disability. The website has the only available database of existing college options, a comprehensive resource library and a wide array of videos, student stories, and other resources for educators and families.
    Source: University of Massachusetts Boston
    Web: www.thinkgcollege.net
  • Think College Resources for Families of Students with Disabilities
    Use this website portal to address family questions about planning for college.
    Source: University of Massachusetts Boston
  • Think College Program Directory
    This directory includes information on 273 college programs for students with intellectual disability. You can search by program name, location, and other keywords. "Advanced Filters" offer more options to narrow your search.
    Source: Think College
    Web: thinkcollege.net/college-search
  • 50 Best Disability Friendly Colleges and Universities
    Source: College Choice
    Web: www.collegechoice.net/50-best-disability-friendly-colleges-and-universities/
  • 20 Incredible Colleges for Students with Special Needs
    Source: Best Colleges Online
    Web: www.bestcollegesonline.com/blog/20-incredible-colleges-for-special-needs-students/
  • Families Think College Facebook group
    A place for families to share, chat, and make connections.
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/1065141630294756/?source_id=60511340871#_=_
  • Off to College
    Tips and resources for prospective college students.
    Source: National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC)
    Web: naricspotlight.wordpress.com/2016/08/22/off-to-college/
  • Access to Success: Free Online Course for College Students with Disabilities
    This free course is designed to help students learn about their rights and responsibilities in the post-secondary environment, and to develop self-advocacy skills.
    Source: Research and Training Center on Independent Living (RTC/IL) at the University of Kansas
    Web: www.accesstosuccess.ku.edu/
  • College for Students with Disabilities: A Guide for Students, Families, and Educators
    A free online guide for any student, family member, or educator looking for information on how to prepare for higher education if you have disabilities. It covers educational opportunities, preparation steps, knowing your rights, different types of disabilities, and recommended resources for additional information.
    Source: Maryville University
    Web: online.maryville.edu/disabilities-guide/
  • College Guide for Students with Learning Disabilities
    Source: Best Colleges
    Web: www.bestcolleges.com/resources/college-planning-with-learning-disabilities/
  • College Guide for Students with Physical Disabilities
    Source: Best Colleges
    Web: www.bestcolleges.com/resources/college-planning-with-physical-disabilities/
  • Overview of College Resources for Students with Disabilities
    Source: Best Colleges
    Web: www.bestcolleges.com/resources/students-with-disabilities/
  • College Guide for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students
    Source: Best Colleges
    Web: www.bestcolleges.com/resources/college-planning-for-deaf-and-hard-of-hearing-students/


The contents of this website are developed by the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University, with funding from the Southeast ADA Center under NIDILRR Grant Number #90DP0090-01-00 from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Southeast ADA Center is a project of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University. The contents do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. 

The information, materials, and/or technical assistance provided by the Southeast ADA Center are intended solely as informal guidance on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and are neither a determination of your legal rights or responsibilities under ADA, nor binding on any agency with enforcement responsibility under the ADA. The Southeast ADA Center does not warrant the accuracy of any information contained herein. Furthermore, in order to effectively provide technical assistance to all individuals and entities covered by the ADA, NIDILRR requires the Southeast ADA Center to assure confidentiality of communications between those covered and the Center. Any links to non-Southeast ADA Center information are provided as a courtesy, and are neither intended to, nor do they constitute, an endorsement of the linked materials or its accessibility.

NIDILRR is not responsible for enforcement of the ADA. For more information or assistance, please contact the Southeast ADA Center via its web site at ADAsoutheast.org or by calling 1-800-949-4232 (voice) or 404-541-9001 (voice). 

Contact For More Information or Assistance:

Southeast ADA Center
Email: ADAsoutheast@law.syr.edu
Phone: 404-541-9001