Helpful Hints

Treat individuals with disabilities with the same respect and consideration with which you treat able-bodied individuals.  Each person can contribute unique and enriching contributions regardless of ability. 

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a method that seeks to engage all students from multiple learning styles and abilities in learning.  This is a fantastic way to ensure you are offering proper support for all students.  However, there are some helpful hints in working with students with disabilities: 

General Hints:

  • Be aware of the environment and surroundings where you teach.  Ensure that it is conducive and accessible for all students.
  • Treat the student with a disability as any other student at the College.
  • Respect the confidentiality of the student's disability.
  • Do not question a student's disability if they are registered with the Center for Equal Access.
  • Ask a person with a disability if she/he needs help BEFORE providing assistance.
  • Understand that many disabilities are HIDDEN.
  • Talk directly to the person with a disability, not through the person's companion or interpreter.
  • Avoid negative descriptions of a person's disability.  For example, "a person who uses wheelchair" is more appropriate than "a person confined to a wheelchair."  A wheelchair is not confining-it is liberating!

Blind/Low Vision

  • Be descriptive for people with visual impairments.  For example, state "the computer is about three feet  to your left" rather than "the computer is over there." 
  • Offer an arm when guiding a person with a visual impairment rather than pushing or grabbing at them.

Learning Disabilities/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

  • Offer directions/instructions both orally and in writing.
  • Offer different modes to access class notes or content.
  • Present clear directions for assignments and exams.
  • Offer large assignments in manageable tasks.
  • Offer alternative modes of communication than in person.
  • Maintain a consistent and clear syllabus without many alterations.

Deaf/Hard of Hearing

  • Face the class when speaking to the class and paraphrase conversations presented among students in the class.
  • Speak clearly and slowly. 
  • Ask students to raise hands when speaking so that the student with the hearing impairment knows who is speaking.

Psychological Disabilities

  • Provide information in a clear, calm, respectful tone.
  • Allow opportunities to address specific questions.
  • Offer various means to communicate with you.
  • Present clear and consistent directions.
  • Present an agenda at the beginning of class for the day's topics.
  • Give plenty of notice if the room or surroundings change for class.
  • Offer alternative options for group work.