Working with Students with Disabilities
The following articles offer information on working with students with specific disabilities.
|Teaching Students with Attention Deficit|
|Teaching Students with Visual Disabilities|
|Teaching Students with Hearing Disabilities|
|Teaching Students with Emotional / Social Disabilities|
|Teaching Students with Physical Disabilities|
|Teaching Students with Other Disabilities|
Documents are available in Microsoft Word [doc] or Adobe Reader [pdf] formats. Adobe Reader is available at www.abobe.com.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibit discriminations against individuals with disabilities.
According to these laws, no otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall, solely by reason of his/her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discriminations under any program or activity of a public entity.
"Qualified" with respect to postsecondary educational services, means "a person who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the education program or activity, with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies or practices; the removal of architectural communication or transportation barriers; or the provision of auxiliary aids and services".
"Person with a disability" means "any person who 1) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities [including walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working], 2) has a record of such and impairment, or 3) is regarded as having such an impairment."
Disabilities covered by legislation include (but are not limited to) AIDS, Cancer, Cerebral Palsy, Diabetes, Epilepsy, head injuries, hearing impairments, specific learning disabilities, loss of limbs, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, psychiatric disorders, speech impairments, spinal cord injuries, and visual impairment.
Working Together: Faculty and Students
Faculty members are encouraged to be responsive to the pedagogical needs of all students. However, students with disabilities may have some additional educational needs, which they should discuss with each faculty member. It is good to think about the broad range of abilities, disabilities, and other characteristics of potential students as you design your curriculum. This approach is called the universal design or instruction (see the DO-IT project).
Include a statement on the class syllabus inviting students who have disabilities to discuss academic needs. An example of such a statement is "If you have a documented disability and wish to discuss academic accommodations, please contact me as soon as possible."
The student with a disability is the best source of information regarding necessary accommodations. In postsecondary settings it is the student's responsibility to request special accommodation if desired, but a faculty member can make a student comfortable by inquiring about special needs.
Useful Teaching Techniques
Below you will find examples of teaching techniques in the classroom, laboratory, examinations, and fieldwork that benefit all students, but are especially useful for students who have disabilities.
Examination and Fieldwork