Disability resource professionals set the tone for how a campus frames and responds to disability. In a society that is uncomfortable with disability, disabled students are often seen as “other” and accommodations questioned. Therefore, the messages sent by our offices must intentionally challenge these frames. When we create cumbersome procedures for disabled students and communicate concern about the fairness of accommodations, we invite our campus colleagues to question disabled students’ integrity and the appropriateness of accommodations. The frustrations we experience as we advocate for access can often be the result of the messages we ourselves have sent.

Refocus 2.0 offers a tool for examining the role the resource office can play in challenging stereotypes and creating truly equitable environments. We hope you will find it helpful as you work to shift your practice and align your daily work with your values and beliefs.

Use of Language

The descriptors disabled people and nondisabled people are primarily used in this website, since disability studies scholars and disability rights activists prefer these terms. To understand the rationale for this choice, please refer to:

  • Linton, S. (1998). Claiming disability: Knowledge and identity. New York: University Press. 
  • Swain, French, and Cameron. (2003). Controversial issues in a disabling society.Buckingham, England: Open University Press. 

When we use the term environment, it is used in a broad sense—referring to the physical, curricular, policy, service, information, and social environments.


Refocus 2.0 is an update of Refocus: Viewing the work of disability services differently, a product of Project ShIFT, which was initially funded by U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education (PR Award # P333A080082-09)  and later by a partnership with Access to Design Professions, Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD). In addition to these sponsors, we acknowledge, Lane Community College, the University of Arizona and the University of Arkansas-Little Rock for supporting this original work. 

The authors are pleased to build upon that original work with this update. Refocus 2.0 is now overseen by the original authors and supported by Project LENS, a project of the University of Arkansas – Partners for Inclusive Communities.

We are grateful to both fans and critics for feedback and suggestions.

A special thanks goes to all of the participants of Project ShIFT.


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Carol Funckes

Tucson, Arizona

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Sue Kroeger

Tuscon, Arizona

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Gladys Loewen

Vancouver, Canada

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Melanie Thornton

Little Rock, Arkansas