You Can At UMass - Disability Services

You Can At UMass - Disability Services Creating an inclusive and empowered community at UMass that is respectful of people with disabilities. Also posting job opportunities through Campus 2 Careers.

(Do not send resumes to this site, all application materials are to be sent to employers). Disability Services at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has a rich history of advocating for students, faculty and staff with disabilities since 1973. Currently, we provide accommodation services to more than 1800 people on campus. Our staff is committed to providing members of the University community with the finest educational opportunities and the most appropriate accommodations available for people with disabilities.

Mission: We understand that for some, it can be uncomfortable to identify as a person with a disability, but we further understand how rewarding it is to know that you are not alone. This fb page provide opportunities for folks to connect with one another to build as we strive to build a community of understanding.

Operating as usual

“But I Went to Law School! I Couldn’t Possibly Have… Oh.”
“But I Went to Law School! I Couldn’t Possibly Have… Oh.”

“But I Went to Law School! I Couldn’t Possibly Have… Oh.”

“As the kids say, I was ‘shook.’ But in a strange way, receiving my ADHD diagnosis also felt like arriving at a familiar place of comfort. Home, even. All of a sudden, so much more about me made sense.”

Don’t Try to Fix Their Weaknesses. Instead, Try to Celebrate Their Strengths.
Don’t Try to Fix Their Weaknesses. Instead, Try to Celebrate Their Strengths.

Don’t Try to Fix Their Weaknesses. Instead, Try to Celebrate Their Strengths.

During my decades as a school psychologist, I have found five tried-and-true truths about students with ADHD. These touchstones don’t make me the perfect mom (especially during this pandemic), but they do keep my positive parenting strategies from derailing when they encounter a bump or break in t...

“I Could Have Been Myself for So Much Longer.”
“I Could Have Been Myself for So Much Longer.”

“I Could Have Been Myself for So Much Longer.”

“Shame caused me to write off my symptoms for many years. The realities of being a Black woman also held back my diagnosis, as did grappling with strongly ingrained attitudes about medication and mental health. While I can still be tough on myself, my diagnosis has ultimately led me down a path of...

A letter to my younger self
A letter to my younger self

A letter to my younger self

Aubrie Lee is an artist with an engineering degree from Stanford University. She enjoys riddles, holographic foil, and jackets with inside pockets. You can follow her on Twitter and find more of her work at

First Person: ‘people with disabilities are the greatest untapped resource on the planet’
First Person: ‘people with disabilities are the greatest untapped resource on the planet’

First Person: ‘people with disabilities are the greatest untapped resource on the planet’

Worldwide, persons with disabilities experience higher levels of unemployment and economic inactivity than non-disabled persons. Ahead of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Mike Hess, US-based entrepreneur and founder of the Blind Institute of Technology, spoke to UN News as part of the...

Trending World by The Epoch Times

Trending World by The Epoch Times

Look how this sweet considerate girl "sing" for her deaf parents ❤️

Credit: Lori Koch

The Working Single Mom

The Working Single Mom

My Battle Call by Valli Gideons

My Battle Call by Valli Gideons

Big 5 Sporting Goods for the win 🏆

Pass it on.

My Battle Call by Valli Gideons

My Battle Call by Valli Gideons

Truth talk.

There’s another video going around across social media and on the news that shows individuals having major “reactions” when getting their hearing devices activated or turned on…

Truth is, though, most people who have hearing loss do not experience a “magical” reaction on this day.

And although those videos might make viewers who are on the outside of the arena feel warm and fuzzy, those in the trenches often form unrealistic expectations followed by disappointment.

The truth is, the REAL MAGICAL MOMENTS for a child with HEARING LOSS often come later. They come after a lot of commitment and hard work.

In smaller yet profound ways—

They happen when:

Your child turns to their name.

Your child hears a bird.

Your child learns a new babble sound.

Your child keeps their device on.

Your child includes their hearing device in their school self-portrait.

Your child makes a new friend.

Your child hears a wave crashing along the shore.

Your child learns how to put their own cochlear implant processor on.

Your child sings along to a song on the radio.

Your child makes it through an audiology appointment without a meltdown.

Your child asks you to put their hearing aids or implants on.

Your child auditions for the school play.

Your child says or signs, “Mommy” for the first time.

Your child plays a new sport.

Your child’s teacher reports they are engaged and participating.

Your child learns to play an instrument.

Your child earns an award at school for hard work and effort.

Your child learns Chinese.

Your child learns to sign, “I love you!”

Your child says hearing loss is less about hearing and more about understanding.

Your child is happy.

Your child is proud of who they are and embraces their hearing loss.

You see, the magic will most likely not occur in an audiologist’s office when a device is turned on or activated.

Be patient—millions of profoundly awesome moments will come! Whether they are auditory or through sign language...

The magic often happens in the mundane.


©️Valli Gideons on My Battle Call

Dear Insurance Company
Dear Insurance Company

Dear Insurance Company

This is my daughter, Harper. She is twelve and was born with severe hearing loss. That means she could not hear anything other than doors slamming, drums, thunder, or a freight train. She was outfitted with hearing aids at three months of age. We were the lucky ones because our insurance consider

Restrictions Set To Take Effect For Service Animals On Planes
Restrictions Set To Take Effect For Service Animals On Planes

Restrictions Set To Take Effect For Service Animals On Planes

Federal regulators are firming up a slate of new rules limiting service animals traveling on airplanes in a bid to ensure that the animals are truly assisting people with disabilities.

Hashem Al-Ghaili

Hashem Al-Ghaili

What different eye conditions look like.

#eye #research #science #biology #anatomy #physiology

The Neurodivergent Teacher

The Neurodivergent Teacher

Interrupting my pandemic-teacher-tired hiatus on this International Day of Disabled Persons to remind you that
disability is part of one's identity,
using euphemisms to refer to disability diminishes the ways disabled folx are discriminated against and the accessibility they have to continuously fight for,
your discomfort with the terms "disability" or "disabled" are irrelevant if you are nondisabled,
there is no such thing as "more disabled" or "less disabled"--you're either disabled or you're not,
disabled people are not perpetual children nor do they have a "developmental age,"
and disabled folx deserve a seat at every table and a voice in every conversation.
That's all ✌🏻😘♿ #ProudlyDisabled
Pic ID: Black text on a watercolor rainbow gradient background. The words "special needs," "handicapable," "differently-abled," "exceptionally," and "diffability" are all written and crossed out. In larger text at the bottom is the world "disabled." The Neurodivergent Teacher's logo is at the bottom.

Dysthymia On A Dime

Dysthymia On A Dime

A Kids Book About

A Kids Book About

Over 1 BILLION people (nearly 15% of our world’s population) are disabled. So why is it so hard, dare we say awkward, to talk about as adults? At what age do we forget that our differences aren’t what separates us, they’re what unify us?

As a child, Kristine Napper never missed a friend’s Birthday party. If their house couldn’t accommodate her wheelchair or if the party game was difficult for her to join in on, they’d make the changes and reinvent the rules. Kids are naturally inclusive. They don’t concern themselves with trying to be “politically correct” with “person-first” language or succumbing to the limiting worldview of grown-ups—distracted by dollar signs and precautions about what’s reasonable.

Now, as an adult, Kristine is not only helping shape our future generation as a middle school English language teacher but she’s a fierce advocate for the equality and rights of the disabled community. She states that it was important to her that she use “identity-first” language in the book. “There's a philosophy out there that we should "put the person before the disability," but I find it incredibly awkward to defy the norms of the English language just for you to remind yourself that I'm a person. It's ok for me to be a kind person, a smart person, a sarcastic person, an impatient person, but not a disabled person? English puts descriptors before nouns. Being “disabled" is part of who I am. I am not, nor should I be ashamed of that. I think this is such an important thing to instill in our future generation.”

It’s never too early to teach your kids how to tackle tough topics like learning to love yourself for who you are and how to appreciate others for what makes them different and unique. Join us in our mission to help build a more emotionally healthy future for our children and get them A Kids Book About DISABILITIES today ==>

My Battle Call by Valli Gideons

My Battle Call by Valli Gideons

A friendly reminder ❤️

I am sad to report that we lost a local legend in the disability rights arena. Here are some tributes to John Winske. Di...
Disability Policy Consortium

I am sad to report that we lost a local legend in the disability rights arena. Here are some tributes to John Winske.

Disability Policy Consortium
Remembering John Winske

November 24th, 2020

This will not be a typical weekly update, because this has not been a typical week for our staff and the wider DPC family. It began triumphantly, with a fantastic annual event that brought together our community and highlighted champions of disability rights, but it ended in shocking tragedy with the loss of our mentor, our longtime leader, and our friend, former DPC Executive Director John Winske. John touched just about everyone in our community in one way or another, from the policy changes he won for all of us, to the scores of young advocates he mentored and gave the chance to lead, myself very much included.

This week, we wanted to make space to remember John. My own thoughts are below, as are those from some of the people who knew him best. After Thanksgiving, we'll be holding a virtual memorial where members of the community can share their own memories of his remarkable life. I want to thank our friends at BCIL, who immediately reached out to offer both their condolences and their help with putting that together. The date and time will be announced as soon as we have it finalized.

John's passing has left a hole in all of our hearts, but this is not only a time for sadness. The legacy he left is not only intact, it is there for us to build upon. DPC is what it is today because of his hard work and his vision, and we plan to honor him in the best way we know how: by continuing to fight for the freedom of each and every member of our community.

All our best & stay safe,
Colin Killick
Disability Policy Consortium
[email protected]

A Leader and a Mentor

In my mind, there are two John Winske moments that burn brightest, because they are the ones that completely changed my life, and the ones where he showed the vision and the generosity of spirit that I think really defined him.

The first was a few months after I came to DPC. I was 24 years old, a newly minted community organizer in my first real job, trying not to be intimidated by the huge responsibility of being trusted to go to the state house and advocate for our community. He called me into his office, and I was terrified that I had done something wrong as was going to be chastised for it. Instead, he calmly informed me that I needed to fail more; that he believed in me, that he wanted me to stretch myself and try new things, and that it was ok for those things to sometimes not work. Because that was the kind of leader he was, one whose greatest talent was in spotting the capabilities in people that they might not even have seen themselves, bringing them to the surface, and giving them the support and the freedom they needed to develop.

This brings me to the second moment, three years later. I was 27, getting close to finishing my time at the Kennedy School, and wondering what I'd do next, when he called me to his apartment and very calmly asked if I'd be willing to take over from him as the leader of DPC. My jaw literally dropped, and I think the first thing I managed to stammer out was "why me?" Because this organization was John's baby, in a way I think even most folks in the community may not have fully understood. He poured himself into DPC, and spent nearly every waking moment thinking about it. When finances were tight, he deferred his own salary to make sure there was enough in the bank to pay the staff. He was constantly doing the work of planning to make sure this legacy he had built was safe. And now he was entrusting that ability to me, who had never run an organization or managed anyone because, as he explained, he cared about DPC's future. Our organization and our movement needed to change for this new era unfolding around us, he told me, and he wanted someone who could commit to ensuring that change was successful. He was putting his faith in me, in a way almost no one else I've ever met would have, and I have lived every day since trying to live up to that faith.

Because that, above all else, was the kind of man John was, that mix of caring, committed, and confident. He was a character in the best way, the kind of cowboy-style leader who was unafraid to make it up as he went along because he knew his instincts would not lead him astray. He had no tolerance for bullsh*t, but he was also an enormously kind man, and someone utterly unafraid to give opportunities to people he thought deserved them. It is thanks in no small part to his passion, dedication, and tactical skill that we now have an accessible State House with an ADA coordinator, curb ramps on street corners throughout Boston, a pioneering healthcare program like One Care that was built around the needs of people with disabilities, and My Ombudsman, the nation's only healthcare ombudsman program run by people with disabilities themselves. His biggest legacy, however, was in the people he built up. Decades from now, there will still be an army of disability advocates who can say that it was John Winske who gave them the chance and the belief that they needed to lead our community. I'm proud as hell to be one of them.
-Colin Killick

Community Remembrances

Bill Allan, former DPC Executive Director:
I learned today that my friend John Winske died on Friday. John was President of the Disability Policy Consortium when I was the Executive Director. John and I had a great relationship. We could almost complete each other's sentences, particularly when we were meeting with state agency execs.

One of our best times came when we met with Mass Emergency Management officials deep in the Framingham bunker. One person insisted on showing us a slide show and we kept rejecting it. We laughed all the way back up the ramp to the surface.

John subsequently became the Exec himself and led the DPC in new directions. One of the keynotes was his commitment that in addition to "Nothing about us without us" he expanded that to include research about people with disabilities. The DPC is now deep into research about disabilities.

John was a terrific guy, friend and leader.

Charlie Carr, DPC Legislative Liason and former MRC Commissioner:
I knew John for decades and he was always up for a good fight when the disability community or individuals were unjustly under attack. He loved the ”good cop, bad cop” approach to negotiating, and would often call people ahead of time to work out who would be who in a meeting. Somehow I always got talked into being the bad cop… John was strategic, articulate, and often the voice of reason during difficult times.

His crowning achievement, in my opinion, was rebuilding and strengthening the DPC by bringing in young talented disabled staff with a variety of disabilities and, in the end, stepping down and passing the torch to them; something often talked about in our movement but rarely ever done.

Boston Center for Independent Living:

The Boston Center for Independent Living remembers John Winske, a friend, advocate, collaborator, a person who lived the disability rights cause to the core. Decades ago he worked at BCIL.

John was never shy about speaking truth to power, no matter the issue. BCIL’s work with him and the DPC in recent years on PCA advocacy and One Care, among many things, was a productive, enriching experience. John put in the hours and used his deep personal experience to inform his professional work.

BCIL member Lisa Thorsen’s thoughts on John may best sum up our feelings today: “Wherever he is , he’s raising hell in the universe and not taking no for an answer!”

Onward, in the spirit of John.

Bill Henning, BCIL

Lori Siedman, My Ombudsman Director of Deaf Services

When DPC and My Ombudsman offered me the job during my interview and I declined the job offer because I was afraid of the big changes from Deaf world to hearing/disability world. He was not happy that I declined the job offer because he had a high hope I would accept the job offer when I applied for the job. John admired my role in the Deaf community. He felt that I was the best person to work for the organization for both DPC and My Ombudsman program.

After he convinced me to be part of his team for the organization, I realized he looked up at me as his role for the Deaf community and I looked up at him as a great advocate for the disability community. I realized we had a similar rejection of disability. We both learned each other about our challenges, oppression, and frustration by the majority.

If he never convinced me, I wouldn’t be here for you all. I can’t thank him enough for what he has done for me to make a successful career for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, LateDeafened, and DeafBlind community.

You will be missed by all of us in the disabilities community. Thank you for what you have done for us in Massachusetts. Rest In Peace John.

Kirk Joslin:

I’m saddened by the death of John Winske - my friend of 43 years. This is a great loss for the disability community and for John’s many friends and for his brother Bob Winske. 

John and I met when he was 14 and I was 23. I became his mentor and later he became mine. I watched him grow up to become a very savvy and thoughtful disability advocate.

He spoke at a US Senate hearing in his 20s. In his 30s and 40s, he ran several nonprofits and somewhat profitable businesses. Most recently, he led the Disability Policy Consortium growing it to to become both an advocacy powerhouse and an influential disability think tank run by and for Disabled people. In retirement, he was working on several projects to change how the world sees disability.

We had many adventures and misadventures over the years. When I retired as Easterseals’ CEO, John emceed my roast. When he retired as Executive Director of the Disability Policy Consortium, I emceed his roast. Many digs and tall tales were told. All of them true and some actually happened.

John’s life was one of commitment and leadership in the movement for equality and civil rights for Disabled people. He wisely saw his cause in the context of the plights of other marginalized people. He did much to move the ball forward, but the job is not done. The great fight for disability rights goes on in a much stronger position because of John’s life and career.

Disability Policy Consortium |

The DPC's mission is to advance the rights of persons with disabilities throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The DPC mobilizes all persons with disabilities to guarantee inclusive policies and system changes. People with disabilities rely on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for their most


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Our Story

Disability Services at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has a rich history of advocating for students, faculty and staff with disabilities since 1973. Currently, we provide accommodation services to more than 3,000 people on campus. Our staff is committed to providing members of the University community with the finest educational opportunities and the most appropriate accommodations available for people with disabilities.

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