At Your Fingertips: Disability Resource Center
UA Little Rock’s Disability Resource works to ensure accessibility to all students.
The UA Little Rock Disability Resource Center (DRC) collaborates with faculty and staff to ensure that physical, curricular, and web environments are accessible to as many students as possible.
“Say you have somebody who is blind or low visioned. If they can’t see the text, then it’s not accessible,” said Reed Claiborne, Director of the UA Little Rock DRC. “We try to focus on what the barriers are, versus what a student’s diagnoses are.”
Having been with the department for 12 years, Claiborne explains the focus of the department has shifted to reframing disability. Reframing in this context involves shifting the focus toward the design of the environment and the removal of barriers that prevent accessibility, according to Claiborne.
“By and large, the people that come to this office look like you and me; they just have hidden disabilities,” Claiborne said. “Whether a student is blind, low visioned, or temporarily having issues with vision, our job is to ensure the document is formatted properly for everyone with vision problems.”
In the DRC, the idea of reframing disability begins with the faculty.
“If an instructor has made sure materials are in an accessible format online, everyone will have access to the document regardless of their disability,” Claiborne said.
Many of the services offered in the DRC pertain to not only students but faculty members as well. The DRC will assist faculty members with captioning videos, braille materials, and converting books to audio or digital format.
All of the services and accommodations provided by the UA Little Rock DRC fall under the concept of “universal design.” Claiborne explains universal design as making sure preparation of curriculum, materials, and environments are accessible by not just a few, but all that need it. For example, automatic door openers benefit individuals using walkers and wheelchairs, as well as people carrying groceries or babies.
DRC Looking Ahead
As UA Little Rock’s enrollment of people with disabilities increases, the DRC is dedicated to furthering the resources currently being offered.
“Some of the things we’ve started to do is broaden the assistive technology that is out there,” Claiborne said. “We are testing an audio note-taking program that may help people who struggle with taking notes or reading notes from a notetaker.”
The audio notetaking program has been in use for 3 semesters and has been beneficial for a lot of students, according to Claiborne.
For more information regarding the DRC or accommodations needed, please contact
501-569-3143 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.