Accomodating students with disabilities

Terminology | Types of Disabilities | Access to Resources | Confidentiality and Disclosure | Inclusive Design | Learn More | References In order to create an inclusive classroom where all students are respected, it is important to use language that prioritizes the student over his or her disability.

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When planning your course, consider the following questions (from Scott, 1998): Answering these questions can help you define essential requirements for you and your students.

For instance, participation in lab settings is critical for many biology classes; however, is traditional class lecture the only means of delivering instruction in a humanities or social science course?

Similarly students with physical disabilities face damaging and incorrect stereotypes, such as that those who use a wheelchair must also have a mental disability.

(Scorgie, K., Kildal, L., & Wilgosh, L., 2010) Additionally, those students with “hidden disabilities” like epilepsy or chronic pain frequently describe awkward situations in which others minimize their disability with phrases like “Well, you look fine.” (Scorgie, K., Kildal, L., & Wilgosh, L., 2010) In Barbara Davis’s , she explains that it is important for instructors to “become aware of any biases and stereotypes [they] may have absorbed….

Your attitudes and values not only influence the attitudes and values of your students, but they can affect the way you teach, particularly your assumptions about students…which can lead to unequal learning outcomes for those in your classes.” (Davis, 2010, p.

58) As a way to combat these issues, she advises that instructors treat each student as an individual and recognize the complexity of diversity.

Additionally, providing an outline of the day’s topic at the beginning of a class period and summarizing key points at the end can help students understand the logic of your organization and give them more time to record the information.

Similarly, some instructional material may be difficult for students with certain disabilities.

For instance, you may not know that a student has epilepsy or a chronic pain disorder unless she chooses to disclose or an incident arises.

These “hidden” disorders can be hard for students to disclose because many people assume they are healthy because “they look fine.” In some cases, the student may make a seemingly strange request or action that is disability-related.

For example, if you ask the students to rearrange the desks, a student may not help because he has a torn ligament or a relapsing and remitting condition like Multiple Sclerosis.