Ability And HealthAt the University of Maryland School of Social Work, we value accessibility, neurodiversity, and the varied ways in which we embody and physically engage with content and spaces. A commitment to disability justice is part of our mission to foster a culture of inclusion and belonging both within our school and our greater society. 

Goals Statement

The University of Maryland School of Social Work strives toward a university structure that reduces the need of accommodations for people with disabilities through proactive, inclusive design and a culture of equitability for people with disabilities. 

Universal Design Resources for Social Work


Offices and Groups
  • Educational Support and Disability Services 
    • Summary: Students can work with the Office of Educational Support and Disability Services (ESDS) to request the following type of services. Please visit their site to learn more
    • Services:
      • Adaptive technology
      • Alternative text format
      • Advocacy
      • Classroom relocation
      • Notetaking
      • Library assistance
      • Priority seating
      • Sign language interpretation
      • Testing accommodations 
  • SSW Office of DEI
    • Summary: In alignment with the overarching missions and goals of the School of Social Work, the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (ODEI) is charged with providing strategic leadership, supporting the DEI efforts of units across the School of Social Work, DEI programming and initiative and promoting accountability.
    • Link: https://www.ssw.umaryland.edu/diversity-equity--inclusion/ 
  • The Office of Accountability and Compliance (OAC)
    • Summary: The OAC has the responsibility of ensuring accountability and compliance across the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus. Some of the areas that this office is responsible for are Title IX, Education and Training & Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives. 
    • Link: https://www.umaryland.edu/oac/ 
Tools and Instructional Links
  • Screen Reader:
    • Summary: Screen readers interpret what is visually presented on a computer screen and translate it to audio which is then played aloud. 
    • Kurzweil is the screen reader available to students, faculty, and staff. 
    • Link: https://www.umaryland.edu/cits/services/kurzweil/ 
Service Animals
  • Summary: Service animals are a right and are welcome anywhere on the UMB campus; emotional support animals are not covered under ADA and thus not permitted on campus. The ADA defines a service animal as “a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.  The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person's disability.“ U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. 
  • Service Animal FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA 
Know your rights
  • From the ESDS student resource manual
    • Students with disabilities have the right to:
      • Information available in accessible formats , including accessible instructional materials.
      • Reasonable and appropriate accommodations, adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services.
      • Confidentiality: Information pertaining to a student's disability will only be disclosed to those with a need to know the information. 
  • School Liaisons & Faculty have the right to:
    • Require that students with disabilities request accommodations through ESDS. 
  • School Liaisons & Faculty have the responsibility to:
    • Work with ESDS and student to make courses, viewed in their entirety, accessible (e.g., content, texts and materials, assessment method, on-line instruction, time requirements).
    • Support and implement reasonable accommodations as identified in an Accommodations Letter from ESDS. 




Students, Staff, Faculty and Administration engage in a variety of different spaces including the DAO/DEIC, convenings through Student Affairs, and the newly formed DREAM Disability Justice Student Group and work toward assessing accessibility and disability equity at the SSW . 

Spring 2022:

DREAM leaders engage in Disability Justice and Social Work Education independent study with faculty advisors Samantha Fuld and Gail Betz, culminating in an Ableism 101 training. 

Fall 2022: 

Assessment by the Association for Disability and Higher Education (AHEAD) Completed 

Thursz Lecture focuses on Ableism and Disability Justice in collaboration with DREAM Leaders and the Health Advocacy Team with community partners from Special Olympics Maryland. 


Summary of AHEAD Evaluation Identifies 6 Domains of Focus 

Jan 2023: 

Begin sharing information widely with various stakeholders. 


Implementation of evaluation recommendations in partnership with SSW and UMB Community across the six strategic domains. 


Strategic Domain 1: Universal Design
  • Status: In Progress 
  • Goals and objectives
    • Caption all videos and presentations
    • Ensure availability of captioning when using online platforms
    • When reasonable, consider recording classes
    • Provide all materials in advance
    • Explore mechanisms to have notes available to all students 
    • Consider alternative assignments and means for assessing student competency
    • Implement Universal Design Audit Committee (UDAC) 
Strategic Domain 2: Curriculum & Academic Environment
  • Status: In Progress 
  • Goals and objectives
    • Develop a University Style Guide for Inclusive Language.
    • Emphasize critical social models rather than medical or deficit models of disability with JEDI.
    • Update syllabus statement on accessibility to better reflect values of inclusion and equity as opposed to exclusive emphasis on compliance.
    • Provide mandatory training to increase awareness of the importance of accessibility and confidence in implementation.
    • Streamline the process for obtaining accessible documents for courses. 
Strategic Domain 3: Field Education
  • Status: In Progress 
  • Goals and objectives  
    • Clearly communicate how reasonable accommodations are defined within the context of field education on website and EFN.
    • Create a streamlined process for referring and placing students with accommodations.
    • Create a workgroup between the Field Office and Student Affairs to consider the best way to streamline the accommodations process for MSW students in the field.
    • Modification to EFN to allow for students to indicate specific needs for field accommodations sooner in the referral process, enabling a suitable match.
    • Modification of EFN for agencies to provide up-to-date information on accessibility features (i.e. location, degree of remote work permissible, number of elevators, daily schedule, etc.)
    • Training opportunities for all field sites regarding social model of disability and best practices for disability inclusion. 
Strategic Domain 4: Educational Support and Disability Services – ESDS
  • Status: In Progress 
  • Goals and objectives
    • Review and update ESDS website to present a social justice and inclusion perspective rather than an ADA legal compliance perspective.
    • Decrease the focus on documentation in the accommodations process. 
    • Additional ESDS Staffing Support.
    • ESDS clarification of role and responsibilities to facilitate efficient utilization of resources. 
    • Reorganize ESDS reporting structure in the university hierarchy. 
Strategic Domain 5: Inclusion & Belonging
  • Status: In Progress 
  • Goals and objectives
    • Uplift the perspectives and work of faculty, staff, and students with disabilities.
    • Ensure flexibility in the modality of attendance for student group meetings.
    • Create intentional space for partnerships between Student Affairs, SSW Leadership, and students focused on disability justice.
    • Provide mechanisms for students to share feedback anonymously.
    • Enhance student access to information about accessibility and disability justice at the SSW.
Strategic Domain 6: Employees, Faculty, & Staff
  • Status: In Progress 
  • Goals and objectives
    • Advocate for anti-ableism and anti-bias training for Human Resources team to introduce and reinforce awareness of the social model of disability.
    • Partner with the University Leadership to cultivate greater accessibility across the Institution aligned with the UMB Core Values. 
    • Disseminate and adhere to the Accessibility Tips Sheet created by the Accessibility Advisory Group (AAG
    • Work with the Future of Work Task Force to increase understanding of the need and benefit of workplace accommodations.

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