Summarizes research about the participation of students with disabilities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and makes recommendations about which interventions might best increase their ability to contribute to the field.

“The persistent underrepresentation of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce must be addressed across the spectrum of K–12 and higher education. This publication focuses specifically on the challenges and potential solutions for broadening the participation of students with disabilities (SWDs) pursuing undergraduate and graduate STEM degrees and careers. Despite efforts to date, the underrepresentation of PWDs in STEM workforce is an enduring problem that must be addressed with renewed emphasis on the comprehensive strategies...” (p.3).

The resource “contains chapters prepared by four groups of invited authors who shared their pertinent research findings, expert knowledge and views on key topics pertinent to this topic” (p.2). Originally, the research was presented at a conference held at Purdue University in 2013, although the content of the resource is applicable nationwide.

The four chapters address the following topics:

  • “Chapter 1, ‘Technologies to Facilitate the Active Participation and Independence of Persons with Disabilities in STEM from College to Careers,’ addresses strategies and assistive technologies to overcome the physical barriers that SWDs often face when pursuing STEM fields of study and careers...
  • Chapter 2, ‘Interventions with College Students to Increase the Representation of Persons with Disabilities in STEM Careers,’ examines academic problems, motivational and attitudinal factors, and skill deficiencies that have traditionally limited the representation SWDs in STEM fields…
  • Chapter 3, ‘College Students with Disabilities in STEM: Expanding Opportunities by Enhancing Communication of Evidence-Based Information with Stakeholders,’ focuses on strategies to enhance communication among stakeholder groups in order to improve the utilization of evidence-based technologies and methods that promote the success of college SWDs in STEM.
  • Finally, Chapter 4, ‘On the Sustainability of Programs for Students with Disabilities: Observations and Practical Ideas,’ explores the problem of sustaining programs and strategies that show promise for increasing the inclusion of SWDs in STEM disciplines” (p.2).
(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)