What is Current Practice?
Job descriptions and job announcements for people working in disability resource offices typically emphasize counseling and helping skills. Knowledge of legal compliance is also often emphasized.
The example below was created by combining a few job announcements we found recently. It represents some of the current language that is used to describe the role of a person working in a disability resource office.
The Department of Disability Support Services at Anytown University is seeking a caring professional with experience counseling and supporting individuals with disabilities. The ideal candidate will have knowledge of providing accommodations and assistance to students with disabilities. The candidate will provide students with a thorough understanding of the service office processes and orient students toward their role as a self-advocate.
- Extensive knowledge of the American Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
- Experience working with individuals with disabilities
- Excellent case management skills
- Knowledge of assessment as applied to educational settings
- Willingness to research relevant case law in post-secondary disability services and respond to requests for interpretation of legal mandates
- Conduct intake interviews with students, determine the need for evaluation and referral to appropriate support services as it relates to disabilities
- Provide on-going counseling related to disability management
- Review disability documentation for students with developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, and physical disabilities
- Determine appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities by conducting intake interviews and analyzing medical, and/or psychological documentation
We encourage you to explore the job announcements that exist and analyze them using a social justice lens. A good source for accessing job announcements is provided below.
Higher Ed Jobs Advanced Search
What are the implicit messages?
- Disabled students need counseling and support and need someone else to help them manage their conditions.
- The problem is located with the individual rather than in institutional structures and systems.
- Students are not the expert on their own experiences. External evaluators are required to verify disability.
- Best practices are based upon legal decisions, rather than on what most effectively provides access.
How might this be different?
Job announcements and descriptions represent disability as an aspect of diversity and assess as a matter of social justice and equity. They focus on facilitating access, collaborating with the campus community, promoting inclusive design, and assessing service delivery efficacy.
What is the potential impact of this change?
- The job description emphasizes the primary role of collaboration and consultant to facilitate designs and practices that reduce the need for individual accommodations.
- The problem and the solution belong to the entire campus community, not solely disability resource staff.
- The office is seen as having a leadership role in promoting inclusive environments that expect and appreciate disabled individuals.
- Disabled students’ experiences are valued in determining access solutions.
- The campus commitment is not simply a reaction to legal requirements but a part of a larger institutional commitment to diversity, social justice, and equity.