Listening to student voices Beyond accommodations The relationship of disability to the classroom often focuses on required accommodations. And it is true that when a student enters your class with a letter from Disability Resource Servicesyou are required to accommodate the student. Disability is about how bodies interact with existing environments. It has social, political and historical features, and in this sense is like racial and gendered identities.
For those students with disabilities, the classroom setting may present certain challenges that need accommodation and consideration. Terminology Types of Disabilities Access to Resources Confidentiality and Disclosure Inclusive Design Learn More References Terminology 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.
Disability labels can be stigmatizing and perpetuate false stereotypes where students who are disabled are not as capable as their peers. In general, it is appropriate to reference the disability only when it is pertinent to the situation.
For more information on terminology, see the guide provided by the National Center on Disability and Journalism: Types of disabilities may include: 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.
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. Or, a student may ask to record lectures because she has dyslexia and it takes longer to transcribe the lectures. Access to Resources When students enter the university setting, they are responsible for requesting accommodations through the appropriate office.
This may be the first time the student will have had to advocate for himself. For first year students, this may be a different process than what they experienced in high school with an Individualized Education Program IEP or Section plan.
Department of Education has a pamphlet discussing rights and responsibilities for students entering postsecondary education: As part of the required paperwork, the student must present documentation from an appropriate medical professional indicating the diagnosis of the current disability and, among other things, the types of accommodations requested.
All medical information provided is kept confidential. Only the approved accommodation arrangements are discussed with faculty and administrators on an as-needed basis. It is important to note that this process takes time and certain accommodations, like an interpreter, must be made within a certain time period.
However, students with disabilities may feel nervous to disclose sensitive medical information to an instructor. Often, students must combat negative stereotypes about their disabilities held by others and even themselves.
Similarly students with physical disabilities face damaging and incorrect stereotypes, such as that those who use a wheelchair must also have a mental disability.
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.
Strategies A statement in your syllabus inviting students with disabilities to meet with you privately is a good step in starting a conversation with those students who need accommodations and feel comfortable approaching you about their needs.
Here are two sample statements: The Department of Spanish and Portuguese is committed to making educational opportunities available to all students.
In order for its faculty members to properly address the needs of students who have disabilities, it is necessary that those students approach their instructors as soon as the semester starts, preferably on the first day of class. They should bring an official letter from the Opportunity Development Center explaining their specific needs so that their instructors are aware of them early on and can make the appropriate arrangements.
If you have a learning or physical disability, or if you learn best utilizing a particular method, please discuss with me how I can best accommodate your learning needs.
I am committed to creating an effective learning environment for all learning styles. However, I can only do this successfully if you discuss your needs with me in advance of the quizzes, papers, and notebooks.
I will maintain the confidentiality of your learning needs. If appropriate, you should contact the Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disability Services Department to get more information on accommodating disabilities. Provide an easily understood and detailed course syllabus. Make the syllabus, texts, and other materials available before registration.
If materials are on-line, consider colors, fonts, and formats that are easily viewed by students with low vision or a form of color blindness.
Clearly spell out expectations before the course begins e.
Make sure that all students can access your office or arrange to meet in a location that is more accessible. Think of multiple ways students may be able to participate without feeling excluded.Children with intellectual disabilities may qualify for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA.
Students who are eligible for IDEA receive an Individualized Education Plan, or IEP, in which a specialized education plan is made for the child based on her educational needs. Teaching Students with Special Needs Prepare to teach the students with special needs you may have in your classroom using these suggestions and guidelines for accommodating and modifying your lessons to meet the needs of everyone.
There are many teaching strategies you can use to ensure effective and productive learning environments and experiences for all students, including those with disabilities. Accessible Education[i] is the process of designing courses and developing a teaching style to meet the needs of people who have a variety of backgrounds, abilities and .
Teaching Students with Disabilities. There is a newer version of this teaching guide.
Visit Creating Accessible Learning Environments for the most recent guide on the topic. by Danielle Picard, Graduate Teaching Fellow Print version Students of all abilities and backgrounds want classrooms that are inclusive and convey respect.
The Australian Government supports the rights of children and young people with disability to have the same educational opportunities as other school students. There are many teaching strategies you can use to ensure effective and productive learning environments and experiences for all students, including those with disabilities.
Accessible Education[i] is the process of designing courses and developing a teaching style to meet the needs of people who have a variety of backgrounds, abilities and learning styles.