U of A to observe Disability Awareness Month with webinar series

University of Arkansas-OEOC

Image 2021 of the National Disability Employment Awareness Month campaign: powered by inclusion

At the U of A, we are proud to reaffirm our commitment to support efforts to fully implement the Americans with Disabilities Act and to ensure that the same principles of barrier-free access that exist on campus extend also to digital environments.

This year will mark the 31st anniversary of the ADA and in October the U of A will observe Disability Awareness Month. Throughout the month, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance and the University of Alberta’s Partners for Inclusive Communities will host an informative webinar series on topics related to disability awareness. Make sure you sign up for any offers you want to participate in oeoctraining.uark.edu.

For more information on U of A ADA plans and services, please visit new accessibility site To accessibility.uark.edu. This new resource houses the university’s accommodation and accessibility resources.

Calendar of offerings

Interact with people with disabilities

  • October 5 at noonSUBSCRIBE
    Presenter: Sashikala Nisankaro and J’onnelle Colbert-Diaz
    This session covers the A to Z basics of interacting with people with disabilities for your frontline managers, providers of goods and services, and any associated personnel of Title II entities who deal with the general public on a daily basis. Topics include disability etiquette, recognizing and understanding hidden disabilities, service animals in public spaces, reasonable accommodation, and reasonable policy changes. This presentation will also include an interactive discussion of common scenarios that participants will work on to determine solutions in a group environment.

Effective communications for the deaf or hard of hearing

Planning accessible meetings

  • October 20 at noon SUBSCRIBE
    Presenter: Sashikala Nisankaro and J’onnelle Colbert-Diaz
    Planning for disability-accessible conferences involves focusing on accessibility in all aspects of your meeting, from choosing a site to promoting, registering, presenting and documents, ensuring a effective communication. This session explains general obligations under the ADA and considerations for holding meetings open to the public. Participants will receive guidance on securing access and will work through real-life scenarios to guide them through the adaptation process.

Virtually Accessible: Use Zoom and Teams to Create Accessible Meetings

  • October 25 at 1 p.m. SUBSCRIBE
    Presenter: Melanie Thornton and J’onnelle Colbert-Diaz
    Video conferencing technology has been one of the heroes of the pandemic. All tools are not created equal when it comes to accessibility, and delivery approaches can improve access or create barriers. We will look for ways to make one or more meetings more usable and accessible for everyone.

Closed captioning will be available for all webinars. Videos of Disability Awareness Month 2020 are available on the website OEOC Video Website.


ADA Preview

ADA timeline

ADA Questions and Answers

Equal Opportunities and Compliance Office

U of A partners for inclusive communities

Education Access Center

University of Alberta Accessibility Website

Biographies of the presenters

Sashi Nisankarao, JD, ADA Southwest Center

Sashi Nisankarao is a licensed Texas attorney. She has been an ADA specialist for three and a half years at the Southwest ADA Center, a project funded by a grant from the Independent Living Research Utilization. It provides technical assistance and organizes training on disability issues such as employment, education and the rights of persons with disabilities. In the past, Nisankarao has worked in the City of Houston’s General Litigation Section, as well as Lone Star Legal Aid in the Utilities Unit. His overall experience in the public interest has led to his passion for working with and educating the disability community.

Badar Tareen, JD, US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights

Badar Tareen worked as a staff member of the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After graduating in 2010, he became Presidential Management Fellow and worked at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the US Department of Justice, where he received a letter of recommendation from the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. . Tareen currently works at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR), where he has shared awards including an HHS Secretary’s Team Award and several OCR Director’s Honor Team Awards. He is also a member of the State Bar of Virginia.

Melanie Thornton, U of A – Partners for Inclusive Communities Southwest ADA Center – Arkansas Affiliate

Melanie Thornton is the Equity Access and Awareness Coordinator at U of A Partners for Inclusive Communities. She offers professional development on topics related to leadership, disability, diversity and design. She is very interested in working with organizations to create more accessible environments and to reframe the perspectives of disability as an aspect of diversity. Prior to coming to the U of A, Thornton was Associate Director of the Disability Resource Center and Director of the PACE Project at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She also has eight years of experience as a counselor with Arkansas Rehabilitation Services. Thornton received his Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling from Gallaudet University and his BA in Psychology from Hendrix College.

J’onnelle Colbert-Diaz, U of A – Equal Opportunities and Compliance Office
J’onnelle Colbert-Diaz is the Director of Accommodation and Accessibility Services for the Office of Equal Opportunities and Compliance and is responsible for facilitating the interactive process regarding accommodation requests for individuals disabilities, which may include disability, leave accommodations, service animals, support animals, ADA student grievances, access barriers, travel accommodations, visitors or attendees. programs / services, recruitment accommodations and requests for religious accommodations.

Additional responsibilities include monitoring compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as state civil rights requirements based on disability and religion. . The Director of Accommodation and Accessibility Services oversees the University’s prevention and education efforts; implements the accommodation and accessibility procedures of the establishment; identifies and processes models; and assesses the effects on the campus climate to address issues that affect the wider campus community.

The Equal Opportunities and Compliance Office (OEOC) engages with the campus community to proactively advance University initiatives and resources to create a more inclusive educational and working environment. “Promote inclusive excellence through equity, access and diversity.

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