Beckwith Residential Support Services

Overview of Beckwith Residential Support Services

Beckwith Residential Support Services on the first floor of Nugent Hall is a cooperative venture between the Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) and University Housing. This community provides learning experiences both through formal courses and informal interactions between those with and without disabilities.

Features in this community include:

  • All resident rooms located on the first floor  
  • Classroom/kitchen space completely accessible so that students may use it to learn community living skills necessary for living outside of the Beckwith-supported community
  • Accessible features such as keyless entry into rooms, adjustable hospital beds, SureHands lift system, etc.
  • A student lounge, voice-activated computer station, laundry facilities, and other features that had previously existed at Beckwith Hall

Students living in the facility will use Ikenberry Dining Center, which is connected to Nugent Hall. This arrangement further integrates Beckwith students with the larger University of Illinois student community. The partnership with University Housing allows DRES to continue in its mission of providing the best programs and services in the country to college students with physical disabilities, and to be the leader in evidence-based practice and translational research that leads to improved services for students with disabilities at all universities.

Transitional Disability Management Plan (TDMP)

The TDMP is a formal educational program designed to improve the disability management knowledge and skills of Beckwith-supported residents. Good disability management results in students achieving their highest level of independence in every aspect of their lives. It involves residents taking responsibility for themselves and acquiring the knowledge to find the resources they need and to make good life choices. Good disability management skills build student confidence necessary to successfully make the transition to the lives they envision beyond college.

During each year of their stay in the Beckwith-supported community, residents are given the opportunity  to participate in the program. Students work with the disability specialist, one-on-one, to determine the areas they would like to work on to increase their skills. The student and the disability specialist together define individual goals for each of the following target areas:          

  1. Improved knowledge of disability laws and disability resources                                                                
  2. Improved skill in advocating for access and reasonable accommodation
  3. Improved physical and/or functional capacity      
  4. Improved social integration
  5. Maximal independence in the performance of activities of daily living
  6. Acquisition of the knowledge and skills necessary to allow the student to benefit maximally from the use of available assistive technology
  7. Acquisition of the knowledge and skills necessary for independent personal attendant management
  8. Successful transition to internships and/or permanent employment upon graduation
  9. Accessible living

Personal Assistant Program

Beckwith Residential Support Services provides personal assistant (PA) services for students with disabilities as required to accommodate their performance of activities of daily living. These include, but are not limited to, assisting with showering, dressing, bowel and bladder care, and transfers. Students have access to up to five hours/day of PA services, based on their needs.

Beckwith Residential Support Services recruits persons to provide PA services, performs University approved security screening of all PA applicants, hires PA staff with the recommendation of individual student residents, and trains individuals to provide PA services.

PA screening, in keeping with the recommended procedures of the University of Illinois Risk Management Office, is performed in cooperation with the Illinois State police and includes personal and employment reference checks.

Students residing in the Beckwith-supported community must also provide training for their PA staff regarding their specific care needs. Ongoing PA training from each student is critical to the delivery of safe and effective PA support services.

Students learn the skills to effectively supervise and evaluate their PA staff, reinforce proper technique, train new staff, as well as recruit staff independently.  

The personal assistants are hired to fill two distinctive roles– they can work in more than one position if desired:

  • Individual Personal Assistant: A person assists a  resident with a disability on an individual basis,  schedule based upon mutual agreement with each student that they work for. 
  • Floater/Night Clerk: A person available on call to assist all residents in the residence hall with brief tasks.  Staff have a set schedule in 5-6 hour shifts to comprise the 24/7 schedule.

Students who require a personal assistant and are NOT part of the Beckwith Program must employ and provide training for their PA staff regarding their specific care needs. Ongoing PA training from each student is critical to the delivery of safe and effective PA support services.

A PA must have a current employment contract with the resident and complete the PA Registration Form in order to be granted access to University Housing property. This process includes the completed registration form and a criminal background check.  If a PA requires proximity access, they must have a prox-eligible i-card.  The cost for a prox i-card is $10.

Resident Rooms

Beckwith Residential Support Services Rooms are equipped with a medical bed with side rails (detachable), a wardrobe (no closet), bookcase, nightstand, and desk. This furniture is all adjustable height.

All other ADA rooms (not part of Beckwith) are equipped with the standard room furniture which includes a bed, desk, chair, book shelf, chest or drawers, and a closet.

Students do have the option of providing their own hospital bed and/or desk if needed.  University Housing is not responsible for providing or storing these items but will gladly remove and store the furniture designated to that room if it does not meet the student’s medical needs.

Service and Emotional Support Animals

University Housing, in accordance with ADA and Illinois 775 ILCS 30/ or “White Cane Law,” will provide an exception to the University Housing pet policy for residence hall/ apartment facilities for residents who present a documented need for a service or emotional support animal accommodation. The Service/Emotional Support Animal Policy (PDF) outlines the responsibilities of the residents who are granted approval for service or emotional support animals in living, dining, or public areas within University Housing.
Students who require this accommodation must complete the Service/Emotional Support Animal Registration Form to ensure that their animal is properly registered with University Housing.

Students may also contact the Housing Information Office at (217) 333-7111 or by email at to share their needs and accommodations.


Accessible Computer Station

A computer station with internet access and scanner is available in a quiet area near the Nugent Hall mini-desk. This computer station, located in a private area, has Kurzweil 3000 and Dragon Naturally Speaking installed along with internet access and a scanner.


The Ikenberry Dining Center is conveniently connected to Nugent Hall; students may also dine at any other University Housing dining location.


University Housing provides laundry services and room cleaning to students with disabilities requiring this service. One laundry day is assigned per resident with a disability per week in which the room is thoroughly cleaned and linens/clothes are washed and returned to the resident. On a daily basis, bathrooms are sanitized, students' beds are made, and room trash is removed. 


Floors in students' rooms are swept and mopped daily. Maintenance needs are addressed in a timely fashion.


A three-fold approach toward mentoring is available to Beckwith-supported residents in the Transitional Disability Management Plan. First, Beckwith-supported residents mentor high school students, some returning residents mentor incoming students, and finally, alumni mentor current residents. All mentoring goals are focused on minimizing the stressors associated with the upcoming transition that the student is about to embark upon, as well as provide leadership opportunities to those participating.