Use Your Expertise To Advise Students with Disabilities
Does an academic advisor with no experience in NDIS Chirnside Park have the same credibility and authority as a disability rights lawyer who has spent years specializing in the subject? That is a question that many lawyers and advocates have asked over the years. Some people believe that disability specialists are overrated. Others have argued that specialists in disability have limited experience. My experience has taught me that experience is important.
An academic disability specialist who does not practice disability law is certainly not considered an “expert” by those who work on disability issues. The same applies to disability rights attorneys who do not practice in this area. They are not considered “experts” by those who deal with these issues every day. However, just as experience matters, so do the skills of disability services experts. A person with real experience in disability issues will be better equipped to collect accurate data from real people and to establish meaningful relationships with other professionals in this field.
This applies regardless of whether the disability rights lawyer is working with people who have lived experience with disability rights or those who only have a theoretical understanding of them. Many disability advocates believe that disability experts are overrated because they spend a great deal of time working with theoretical models of how to improve the disabled’s work options. This model is not able to address the real needs for disabled people. This model is often a good fit for an academic advisor, who can impress his or her client. However, it will not be a good fit for the person who must live with the work options this “expertise” offers. A better option may be to find a disability legal advisor who actually practices disability law, especially if the client already has some theoretical understanding of the subject.
The second situation in which it makes sense to identify expertise in disability law and legal disability issues is when a student researcher is searching for a topic in an area where there is less agreement. There are many disputes over whether different drug therapies are effective in treating Alzheimer’s disease patients. There is also a lot of debate about vitamin D and obesity. There are also differences of opinion between academic professionals about childhood vaccines.
In these situations, it is crucial to identify and draw upon expertise. This is not as simple as it sounds. When researching for a report about a particular topic like Alzheimer’s disease, for example, it would be wise to consider the arguments of both sides before reaching a definitive conclusion. It might be worthwhile to do additional research on the topic in this instance. If done with care and intelligence, it is possible to find an area of agreement and make the details of the expertise irrelevant.
When campus agencies or student governments have created accessible campus programs, it is another reason to use expertise from outside campus. Although these programs may not have been designed with disability in mind, they are a valuable addition that can help people understand what it means to live with disabilities. Advisers must ensure that these programs are made available to deaf and hard of hearing individuals with the appropriate frequency. Advisers should also ensure that facilities include accommodations for persons with disabilities. These could include signs, ramps, computers and printers.
Everybody who has the ability and expertise to offer a benefit in today’s world is important. A wide range of disability experts can help students with disabilities. This field is not just for student researchers but campus advising.
The right disability services expertise can be instrumental in getting a university to recognize the unique needs of disabled students and offer them an enriching learning experience. Having an academic advisor that has significant disability rights experience can be vital in ensuring that the university provides its students the best opportunity for education and career success. It’s never too soon to get started.