Understanding our Students

Understanding Disability

The way disability is understood has been changing and evolving, especially over the last few decades as the fight for equal rights has led to legislation, court cases, guidance, and settlements. We are no longer operating in a medical model that treats disability as a problem with the person. Rather, we see functional limitations as a normal part of the human experience. Disability is something most people will experience at some point in their life, either directly, or through the experiences of a loved one.

Featured resources to learn more about how people who experience disability have been treated over time are included below. In addition, this page provides a breakdown of the population of PCC students who have disclosed disability to request accommodation. Note there are many more individuals who experience disability but elect to disclose.

Disability History ExhibitVideos that approach Disability from a person-first perspective

Disability Services has a YouTube channel featuring Aimee Mullins on the Opportunity of Adversity as well as selected clips from the It's Our Story Project

Another great resource is the The Disability History Exhibit which chronicles the treatment of people who experience disability over time, focusing on medical, social, and moral viewpoints. There is also a new exhibit from the Smithsonian that is quite good, called Everybody: An Artifact History of Disability in America.

Trends in the Student Population

This page provides context on national data, PCC specific breakdowns, as well as information and resources to better understand particular subpopulations.

PCC Student Breakdowns

Approximately 1,300 students are eligible to use accommodation each year at PCC.

  • Many attend courses on more than one campus.
  • Many experience disability in multiple ways.
  • Some choose to engage in the accommodation process, some do not.
  • Diverse group because disability cuts across race, gender, socio-economic status, etc

Disability in Higher Education in the United States

The US Government Accountability Office released a report titled "Higher Education and Disability: Education Needs a Coordinated Approach to Improve Its Assistance to Schools in Supporting Students"

  • In general, students with disabilities are similar to their peers without disabilities
  • More students with disabilities are pursuing higher education
  • Veterans with acquired disabilities are enrolling at high rates
  • Assistive technology has expanded educational opportunities
  • Awareness of disability and accessibility needs to increase

Data from the US Census

According to the US Census report titled "Americans with Disabilities: 2010" 57 Million people living in the United States in 2010 experience disability. They represent 19 percent of the civilian noninstitutionalized population.

Information and Resources related to specific subpopulations