Tapping into Potential: Employment and Education for People with Disabilities
University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies
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Place of conference
University of Maine, Orono
Division of Student Life, Student Accessibility Services, Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies, Center for Innovation for Teaching and Learning, and Virtual Environment and Multimodal Interaction (VEMI) Laboratory
In her keynote, Tapping into Potential with Expectations: Making Employment and Post-Secondary Education the New Norm for Individuals with Disabilities, Dr. Nye-Lengerman discussed how large numbers of people with disabilities can’t access the typical trajectory for economic well-being. “We invest a lot of money. We have a lot of policies that support inclusion or prioritize inclusion. What is it about our educational settings or employment settings that are not making these spaces available or accessible to people with disabilities?”
Nye-Lengerman identified six steps to address these disparities: 1. Full inclusion: Make education and employment the new normal. Pursue, support and vigorously defend inclusion for all people. 2. Language of expectations: Raise expectations and use words that convey positivity and expectation. 3. Presuming competence: People with disabilities can be successful in post‑secondary education and employment. 4. Power of experiences: Human beings need experiences, the willingness to try, opportunities to take risk, and a little bit of failure to develop self‑awareness. Offer the same experiences in education and employment to people with disabilities. 5. Starting early: Invest in the social‑emotional development of young children and family support. 6. Universal design for learning: Make classroom spaces universal so everyone benefits from the different styles of learning students have, with different types of assignments that measure knowledge, skill and ability.
Nye-Lengerman, K. (2018, November). Tapping into potential with expectations: Making employment and post-secondary education the new norm for individuals with disabilities [YouTube]. Keynote address at University of Maine World Usability Day Conference, Orono, ME.
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