Since its inception in 1974, the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) has always explored new ways to provide superior services to its students. As technology becomes more advanced and health care costs increase, and as funding has decreased due to economic upheaval, we seek to continue providing our students with services that will be most beneficial to their academic goals and achievement.
We have found that the five most needed areas of support are: tutoring, adaptive technology, student support services, social networking and scholarship funding. A contribution of any size to any of these areas or a financial gift of your own choosing will go a long way to seeing these programs' goals realized, and make a huge difference in the lives of students with disabilities as they pursue their academic careers.
We believe that providing funding to these crucial areas will strengthen SSD's reputation as an invaluable resource for the University of Michigan community and for its students with disabilities in particular.
We thank you for your support.
A gift of any size to this fund will lend further support to the mission of the Services for Students with Disabilities Office (SSD). SSD carries out the University's commitment to equity and diversity by providing support services and academic accommodations to students with disabilities. We share information, promote awareness of disability issues, and provide support and access for students within the University community.
In all of the surveys that we have conducted that review our services with our students the one piece of feedback we consistently receive is the lack of tutoring opportunities geared towards students with disabilities. While providing tutoring services is clearly not a legally mandated service, the research is clear that tutoring opportunities do improve a student's chance of academic success at the University. With increased resources in this fund, we could provide additional tutoring that is specifically geared for students with disabilities. Such tutoring could be modeled on the process tutoring or academic coaching format in which the emphasis is on "learning to learn" or obtaining the skills that are needed to be successful in all academic areas.
Given the rapid growth of adaptive technology in education there are now many products available to enhance the academic success of students with all disabilities. This fund was established for the express purpose of assessing and obtaining the specific technology needs for students with disabilities. This may include equipment like iPads, types of notebooks with speech output capabilities, voice recognition software, smart pens and other equipment and software that is available that would help to both ensure access to education at the University of Michigan and increase the likelihood of academic success, i.e., retention and graduation.
Scholarships & Awards
Given the rising cost of higher education, many students could be forced to either postpone or give up their dream of a University of Michigan education. A scholarship fund could make the difference for University of Michigan students with disabilities who have demonstrated both financial need and exceptional scholarship. Contributors could design the fund around a grouping of disabilities or focus on one particular disability.
While the image of the University of Michigan is that of a wealthy student body, the reality is sometimes far from the stereotype. There are significant numbers of students who come from lower and lower middle class backgrounds who lack the financial resources to obtain needed services. For example, psychological evaluations in the local community now cost from $1,500-$3,000 per testing. For many students without insurance this becomes an insurmountable barrier which keeps them from obtaining needed academic accommodations and services. This student support fund provides a needed safety net to ensure that students with disabilities are able to obtain needed assessments, interventions and equipment that would allow them an equal opportunity to succeed at the University.
A common concern of students, parents and disability service providers is that many students with disabilities feel isolated and neglected by their peers and may miss the typical social networking and social interaction experiences that most college students engage in. A social networking fund aimed at students with disabilities does a great deal to increase a students’ sense of connectedness, identity, self-esteem, and contribute to student retention. This fund provides opportunities for personal training, extracurricular and social activities, new learning experiences and community outreach initiatives.