Accessible Education in Indiana

Choosing an educational institution that’s right for you is a big decision.  One factor to keep in mind is how accessible your school is.  You may love Ball State’s Art Department, but does it accommodate all of your needs?  I researched four Indiana universities to see how they measure up with accessibility.

Indiana University

Indiana University Bloomington
Indiana University Bloomington

When visiting the Indiana University (IU) website, scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the Disability Resources link, and you’ll be given information about their compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Because IU has eight campuses in Indiana, the accommodations vary.  Each campus contains a Disability Services Office, and the Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses have an actual Adaptive Technology Center.  At this center, students, faculty, and staff with special needs can bring in their school materials and access assistive technology like Jaws, Zoomtext, Braille devices, scanners, and more.  The ATC will also loan out equipment like laptops and software, which consumers can be trained to use by the ATC staff.

The other six campuses offer assistive technology, interpreter services, special test proctoring services, and counseling.  Personal attendant care or transportation services are typically not offered.

Indiana State University

Indiana State University Fountain
Indiana State University Fountain

Information about Disability Services on Indiana State University‘s (ISU) website was a little tougher to find.  To save you the trouble of searching for it, here is a link to their page.  The services listed include test accommodations, interpreter services, registration assistance, and reading services.  According to their accessibility page, by contacting Public Safety you can get an accessibility guide identifying elevators, curb cuts, accessible restrooms, automatic doors, and designated accessible parking.

Purdue University Hall
Purdue University Hall

Purdue University

Purdue‘s disability services can be found by going to the Office of the Dean page, and then clicking on Disability Resource Center (DRC) on the right hand side.  The accommodations listed are very thorough, with detailed descriptions and links to resources.  For example, under Academic Adjustments, Access to Written Material has the description:

Students who have difficulty attending to or hearing oral information, or transcribing oral information into a written format, may be eligible for assistance in obtaining class information in an alternative format.

By clicking on Access to Written Material, you are taken to a page with various alternatives such as Notetaking service, Typewell transcribing service, Assistive Listening Devices and more.

The Office of Institutional Equity provides an Accessibility Concerns Notification Form for those interested in raising an issue about Purdue’s accessibility.

Ball State University

The fastest way I found to get to Ball State University‘s Disabled Student Development (DSD) page is to search “disability” on their homepage, but another way is to click About, Administrative Offices, Disabled Student Development.  You can browse through their accommodations by name, category, or type of disability.  Some of their services include providing an attendant care referral list, wheelchair loans, digital recorders, and accessible shuttles.

Ball State University bell tower
Ball State University bell tower

The DSD at Ball State also supports advances in adaptive technology.  Check out the videos they sponsored on the need for captioning in the media.

When it comes down to it, only you can decide which school is best for you.  Just remember to do your research and visit the campus if possible before sending in that application!  Here are some links for other Indiana colleges’ disability/accessibility services:

Also, be sure to check out this excellent article on steps for students with disabilities to take when preparing for college.