Invisible Disabilities Project

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This project aims to identify gaps in institutional accommodations and social support services for students with invisible (i.e., learning, attention, psychiatric or chronic health conditions) disabilities. In this case, the term “institutional” refers to offices and functions within UCR as a campus. By gaining an understanding of the nature of these gaps, the project can inform interventions to ensure that students with invisible disabilities receive appropriate support. The primary goal is to produce a report that identifies areas for improvement and suggestions for how to correct them. A secondary goal is to create an awareness campaign to ensure that faculty, staff, and fellow students understand the nature of these impairments and how best to assist students with these disabilities.

The project will achieve these goals in three stages. The first stage is a survey of disabled students about their experiences with disability. The second stage includes focus groups of students who agree to participate in group discussions drawn from the survey responses. The final stage of the project is the report that identifies gaps and makes suggestions for improvements and an awareness campaign. The report will distinguish between the experiences of students whose impairments arise primarily from learning disorders, attention disorders, and mental illnesses and students whose impairments arise primarily from chronic physical health conditions. Although the target audience of the report and campaign is the entire campus, the project focuses on student experiences. Because they are typically younger and less experienced than faculty or staff, students may lack awareness of accommodations and how to obtain them.

This study is funding by a generous grant from the University of California, Riverside Healthy Campus Initiative.

Results and reports will be posted here on my website as they are generated. Currently, I am collecting focus group data.