Resilience and Disability: Helping Students Acquire Skills to Succeed


Wednesday, November 1


4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.


Susan Stuntzner


Persons with disabilities experience numerous stressors and barriers as part of learning to live with a disability. Some attend college to get an education, better themselves and their lives, and improve their overall quality of life – all of which assist people in dealing with and overcoming some of the barriers they experience. But, for some, another component and set of skills may be necessary to create the life they seek. This other set of skills is resilience and the cultivation of resilience-based skills

Resilience is the ability to overcome and successfully adapt to difficult and life changing events which may include learning to live well with a disability and the situations that accompany it. Resilience can help people learn new or enhance existing skills to improve their mental, emotional, and physical functioning and well-being. Disability support professionals who work with persons with disabilities are in a key position to help students foster and enhance resilience-based skills they can use while in college and as a part of life post-graduation. Thus, the focus of this presentation is to help professionals increase their knowledge and understanding of resilience by learning about resilience, benefits of and barriers to cultivating resilience, its applicability to persons with disabilities, resilience-based factors, and ideas to promote and cultivate resilience.

Learning Outcomes


Presenter Bio(s)

Susan Stuntzner, Ph.D.
Dr. Susan Stuntzner PhD, LPC, CRC, NCC, DCC is the Director of Disability Support Services at Southwestern Oregon Community College. She works with students with disabilities to set up academic accommodations, counsels and advises students, and coordinates academic accommodations with local high schools. Her research interests include: adaptation to disability, resiliency, self-compassion, forgiveness, and development of intervention techniques. She has written three books. They are entitled, Living with a Disability: Finding Peace Amidst the Storm, Reflections from the Past: Life Lessons for Better Living, and Resiliency and Coping: The Family After. Dr. Stuntzner has written articles on self-compassion, forgiveness, and resilience and their potential relationship to the needs of individuals with disabilities. She has also developed two interventions for persons with disabilities to assist them in their coping process. These works are entitled, “Stuntzner and Hartley’s Life Enhancement Intervention: Developing Resiliency Skills Following Disability” and “Stuntzner’s Forgiveness Intervention: Learning to Forgive Yourself and Others”. Dr. Stuntzner has given numerous trainings on resilience, self-compassion, and forgiveness as they relate to the needs and coping process of persons with disabilities.