What you should know about working with students with disabilities.
1. Each person with a disability is unique. Accommodations are
made based on documents of verification. Recommendations are indicated to assure
access to the learning endeavors at the university.
2. If you want to know more regarding specific disabilities
with regard to providing universal access, please check the following web sites:
- Job Accommodation Network
- deaf/hard of hearing
This site was created by the Greater Cincinnati Consortium
of Colleges and Universities
- good information about Section 508 and making your web site accessible for
www.cast.org - Bobby
approval check for your web site
3. Many students would like/need to use electronic reading
software. If your chosen text has alternative publication (CD), it saves much
time in accessing the reading assignments. Instead of the text being scanned,
the student can access the text on CD and use the electronic reader right away.
Students needing to scan their text/handouts when the CD version is unavailable,
can use the Kurzweil Scanner in the Computer Center classroom.
4. Students needing to use speech-to-text technology are invited
to learn Naturally Speaking. They will write papers without the keyboard by
voice-activated software. This, too, is available in the Computer Center classroom.
To learn more about teaching practices relative to inclusion
of students with disabilities, contact the Coordinator of Disability Services,
Rm 1 JH, 727-3431.
In a recent U.S. study, 428,280 postsecondary undergraduate
students identified themselves as having disabilities, representing 6% of the
student body. The types of disabilities reported by these students were:
Learning disabilities 45.7%
Mobility or orthopedic impairments 13.9%
Health impairments 11.6%
Mental illness or emotional disturbance 7.8%
Hearing impairments 5.6%
Blindness and visual impairments 4.4%
Speech or language impairments 0.9%
Other impairments 9.1%
Source: An Institutional Perspective
on Students with Disabilities in Postsecondary Education, National Center
for Educational Statistics, Postsecondary Education Quick Information System,
A disability may or may not affect the participation of a student
in your class. In postsecondary settings, students are the best source of information
regarding their special needs. They are responsible for disclosing their disabilities
and requesting accommodations. To create a welcome environment, include a statement
on your class syllabus inviting students who require accommodations to meet
with you. For example, "If you have a documented disability and wish to discuss
academic accommodations, please contact me as soon as possible." Flexibility
and effective communication between student and instructor are key in approaching
accommodations. Although students with similar disabilities may require different
accommodations, it is useful for faculty to be aware of typical strategies for
working with students who have various types of impairments. With this basic
knowledge you will be better prepared to ask students to clarify their needs
and to discuss accommodation requests. Examples are listed below.
Learning Disabilities are documented disabilities
that may affect reading, processing information, remembering, calculating, and
spatial abilities. Examples of accommodations for students who have specific
learning disabilities include:
Notetakers and/or audiotaped class sessions,
Extra exam time, alternative testing arrangements.
Visual, aural, and tactile instructional demonstrations.
Computer with voice output, spellchecker, and grammar checker.
Mobility Impairments may make walking, sitting,
bending, carrying, or using fingers, hands or arms difficult or impossible.
Mobility impairments result from many causes, including amputation, polio, club
foot, scoliosis, spinal cord injury, and cerebral palsy. Typical accommodations
for students with mobility impairments include:
Notetaker, lab assistant, group lab assignments.
Classrooms, labs, and field trips in accessible locations.
Adjustable tables, lab equipment located within reach. Class
assignments made available in electronic format.
Computer equipped with special input device (e.g., voice
input, Morse code, alternative keyboard).
Health Impairments affect daily living and involve
the lungs, kidneys, heart, muscles, liver, intestines, immune systems, and other
body parts (e.g., cancer, kidney failure, AIDS). Typical accommodations for
students who have health impairments include:
Notetaker or copy of another student's notes.
Flexible attendance requirements and extra exam time.
Assignments made available in electronic format, use of email
to facilitate communication.
Mental Illness includes mental health and psychiatric
disorders that affect daily living. Examples of accommodations for students
with these conditions include:
Notetaker, copy of another student's notes, or recording
Extended time on assignments and tests.
A non-distracting, quiet setting for assignments and tests.
Hearing Impairments make it difficult or impossible
to hear lecturers, access multimedia materials, and participate in discussions.
Examples of accommodations for students who are deaf or hard of hearing include:
Interpreter, real-time captioning, FM system, notetaker.
Open or closed-captioned films, use of visual aids.
Written assignments, lab instructions, demonstration summaries.
Visual warning system for lab emergencies.
Use of electronic mail for class and private discussions.
Blindness refers to the disability of students
who cannot read printed text, even when enlarged. Typical accommodations include:
Audiotaped, Brailled or electronic-formatted lecture notes,
handouts, and texts.
Verbal descriptions of visual aids.
Raised-line drawings and tactile models of graphic materials.
Braille lab signs and equipment labels, auditory lab warning
Adaptive lab equipment (e.g., talking thermometers and calculators,
light probes, and tactile timers).
Computer with optical character reader, voice output, Braille
screen display and printer output.
Low Vision refers to students who have some usable
vision, but cannot read standard-size text, have field deficits (for example,
cannot see peripherally or centrally but can see well in other ranges), or other
visual impairments. Typical accommodations include:
Seating near front of class.
Large print handouts, lab signs, and equipment labels.
TV monitor connected to microscope to enlarge images.
Class assignments made available in electronic format.
Computer equipped to enlarge screen characters and images.