Methods: Primary data were collected using a cross-sectional online survey design in public universities in a Southeast state. A convenient sample of students who aged 18+ and self-identified as having at least one type of disabilities (N =123) was recruited through social media, student organizations, and university emails list. Accessibility was measured by three dependent variables: barriers in receiving accessibility services (measured by whether participants reported at least one type of barriers such as the fear of disclosing the disabilities), utilization of accessibility services (measured by whether used at least one type of accessibility services on campus) and accessibility in courses with different modalities (measured by 5 items in Likert-scale; range 0 to 25, higher score indicates better accessibility). Independent variables included disabilities types (i.e., physical, hearing and visual impairments, ADHD, learning disabilities, and etc.) and course modalities (i.e., hybrid, internet synchronous, internet asynchronous, face-to-face, hyflex). Other covariates include demographics (age, gender, race/ethnicity, income, and which classification in the college). Descriptive analysis was used to describe and compare the accessibility in different course modalities. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the relationship between independent variables and two binary dependent variables, barriers to access and use of accessibility services.
Results: The majority of the participants were whites (87%), females (79%), and aged 18 to 24 years old (78%). Less than half of them (41%) used any accessibilities services. 35% of participants perceived barriers in accessing the services though 71% were aware of services available. Compared with online synchronous (M=17.2; SD=3.42) and face-to-face courses (M-=17.2; SD=3.45), online asynchronous courses had the lowest accessibility rated (M=16.8; SD=3.80). Students who were LGBTQ (OR=8.087; p<0.05), traditional students aged 18-24 (OR=4.640; p<0.05) and had learning disabilities (OR=7.688; p<0.05) were more likely to perceive barriers in accessing services. Being white, having a family income below $20,000 were associated with a lower likelihood of accessibility service use. Only students with ADHD were more likely to use accessibility services (OR=5.29; p<0.05) than those without. Course modalities had no significant effect on the dependent variables.
Implications: The findings suggest that students with different demographics and disability types might be affected by the pandemic differently. Some groups may face more barriers in getting the services/support needed and underuse of existing services. Although no significant effect was found for course modalities, the online asynchronous instructional mode seems to have lower accessibility than others. Future studies could further examine the factors associated with accessibility in different course modalities. With the findings, social workers can better serve students with diverse disabilities in various instructional modes.