AMHERST, Mass. - In recognition of its commitment to provide a range of support services for students with physical disabilities, the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been named one of America’s most disability-friendly colleges in the new book, College Success for Students with Physical Disabilities, published by Prufrock Press Inc. of Waco, Texas.
UMass Amherst ranks in the book as an "ADA-Plus College," which is awarded to "schools that go beyond the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act in providing services to students with physical disabilities." It was one of only three schools in the state to make the list, the others being UMass Boston and Boston University.
Fully accessible housing is offered in seven UMass Amherst residence halls, all of which contain wheelchair-friendly rooms with furniture, fixtures and other amenities appropriate for students with disabilities. Service animals can also be accommodated by request.
In addition, UMass Transit Services operates a fleet of vans equipped with wheelchair lifts and school-bus-style doors, which provide special transportation for disabled students, staff and employees who need assistance getting to classes and work. Known as Special Transportation Services, the vans are available by request or reservation.
UMass Amherst also offers various academic accommodations, which are chiefly administered through its Disability Services office. As part of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, Disability Services offers a variety of special options to help students, faculty and staff ensure successful performance in both employment and educational settings. Such accommodations for students include personal assistants, note-taking services, additional time to complete exams and assignments and the modification of graduation requirements. Disability Services says its mission is "providing members of the University community with the finest educational opportunities and the most appropriate accommodations available for people with disabilities."
According to the book’s publisher, "College Success for Students with Physical Disabilities offers individuals the confidence, strategies and guidance they need to choose a college, get prepared for university life, and make the most of their collegiate experience." Author Chris Wise Tiedemann was inspired to write the book after her own experiences searching for disability-friendly colleges with her son Tommy, who has cerebral palsy.