First Year Programs

Accessibility & Accommodations at A&O

July 25, 2019

This summer, the Disability Resources for Students (DRS) office is collaborating with First Year Programs (FYP) to pilot a program ensuring all students, regardless of ability status, have an equitable learning environment during their Advising & Orientation (A&O) experience. A variety of accommodations have been built into all A&O sessions for incoming students and their families to make them accessible without requiring students or families to self-identify as a person with a disability.

Nationally 11-15% of students on college campuses have a disability. Recognizing this, the DRS office felt it was imperative to ensure that accessibility accommodations were visible from the very beginning of a students’ experience at the UW. Students who indicated that they are a person with a disability received an email from Jamey Cheek, Director of DRS, welcoming them to the university and what steps they should take in order to secure accommodations for the academic year. 

“One of our concerns is how students access our office and why UW has historically served a lower percentage of students with disabilities. One of our major goals is to increase access with visibility. Students are already following up with our office based on their interactions with the A&O sessions. It has already reduced barriers and created a cohesive experience for students.” -Jamey Cheek, Director of Disability Resources for Students (DRS)

Students and families begin their A&O experience with CART (Communication Access Real-time Translation) captioning services and ASL Interpreters that are included in every key presentation during A&O sessions throughout all programs. Accessible versions of the Husky Guide & Husky Guide Workbook publications are available online with over 300 views. Any A&O participant or guest can find resources they may need at

“A student came to the DRS office to discuss their academic year accommodations and told us that she came to A&O ready to have her mother interpret for her during the sessions. However, she was ecstatic to see that there were already interpreters in the session. She realized she could have her own UW experience without her mother and was brought to tears.This opportunity to create a more inclusive environment during A&O de-stigmatizes disabilities for students while also normalizing disabilities for everyone.” - Jamey Cheek 

Questions can be directed to Jamey Cheek in DRS, or Meghan Coletta in FYP, 

Freshmen first-year students play jeopardy with LiveWell Peer Health Educators during their A&O.​