Title: Applying Universal Design Principles in Identifying Accessibility Solutions for Students in STEM Disciplines

Requesting accessibility accommodations can cause trainees with disabilities to feel stigmatized and isolated. Accommodations may create barriers to establishing strong peer and mentor/trainee relationships. Universal Design is intended to ensure that products and environments are “usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design” (The Center for Universal Design, 1997). The meaning and impact of UD in STEM (particularly in graduate and postdoctoral training) has yet to be considered beyond the traditional classroom space. In order for UD to be relevant, responsive and beneficial to trainees with disabilities, we must examine what may constitute the principles of effective UD in this educational framework. This presentation will focus on the principles and evidence framework for three distinct, yet related, models of UD, as well as provide tools for trainees, faculty and program administrators to use in applying UD within their STEM training environments.

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