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:
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.