Advancing disability rights and leadership globally®

Getting AHEAD through International Exchange


In order to achieve equity in higher education, we must make sure that all opportunities are available to everyone regardless of disability or other characteristics.

To make international exchange work for students with disabilities it truly takes a village. Equity cannot spring from a single office, but must be woven into the fabric of all aspects of university programs. This was the overall theme that framed the discussions at AHEAD 2017, and it was the perfect place to start our conversations on study abroad, language access and self-reliance.

Feedback from  DS professionals provoked us to think about how the overall design of a program can include or exclude, and the role that we all have in constantly asking if there is a better way to enable all students to access the benefits of higher education.


A Fighting Chance: How a disability services center gave its students a competitive edge through international exchange

Thursday, July 20, 2017, 11 AM-12:30 PM (block 3)

Best practices that university disability resource centers can utilize to create more study abroad opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities. This presentation will feature staff from the Disability Resource Center of the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, Director Michelle Rigler, as well as Assistant Directors Amy Rutherford and Emily Quinn.

Hands Off: How I benefited from studying in a country without disability supports

Friday, July 21, 2017, 11:30 AM-12:30 PM (block 7)

Steps that universities can take to implement challenge by choice. In this AHEAD Talk Justin Harford will reflect on the ways that not having access to a U.S. university network of disability support services during his year in Latin America prepared him to transition into employment.

Let’s Talk: Universal access to language learning on a university and college campus

Friday, July 21, 2017, 4 PM-5:30 PM (block 8)

Reasonable accommodations that language departments can implement to include disabled language learners. Panelists during this session include: Erika Shadburne, Assistant Dean of Arts and Humanities at Austin Community College and Elizabeth C. Hamilton, Chair of the Department of German Language and Literatures and ADA Coordinator at Oberlin College.

Want to meet us?

We do have some availability. If you would like to set up a time to speak with our staff at the conference, feel free to email

Justin is the project coordinator for the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange, a project sponsored by the US Department Of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by Mobility International USA.

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The National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange is a project of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, designed to increase the participation of people with disabilities in international exchange between the United States and other countries, and is supported in its implementation by Mobility International USA.

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