Deaf students are seeking postsecondary education and training at the same rates as hearing students. Yet institutions are not always ready to provide equal access to the full student experience, not only in the classroom but across the campus. This can greatly impact a student’s ability to get started, stay on track, and successfully complete college.
The National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes (NDC) is releasing its latest report about improving the full deaf student experience called Supporting Deaf College Students: Perspectives from Disability Services Professionals. It summarizes the findings of a national survey of disability services professionals in 2018-2020 about services provided to deaf college students on their campus.
The survey includes the insight from 87 disability service professionals from a variety of colleges, universities, and training programs across the nation. They answered questions related to campus policies, practices, resources, support services, attitudes, campus climate, social engagement, and extracurricular activities.
The survey findings provide an overview of different approaches to campus policies and practices. They also reveal that disability service professionals and deaf students often have different perspectives about the deaf student experience. For example, 91% of disability services professionals indicated that it is likely they will respond to deaf students in a timely manner. However, fewer deaf students (72%) agreed with that statement. Findings like this show that disability services professionals were likely to select more optimistic responses than deaf students when asked similar questions.
It includes recommendations for improvement based on these survey findings. These include:
· Recruit and retain qualified professionals and provide professional development
· Consider creative solutions to provide dedicated support for deaf students
· Improve the communication pathways for students
· Ensure that deaf students have full access to campus life
· Make a campus wide commitment to accessible technologies
The report breaks down each of these recommendations and provides helpful information on how to promote #DeafSuccess in all areas of student life. We encourage you to read the report and share it with your friends and colleagues. With proper preparation and support, you can be a key part of creating a truly equal experience for deaf students.