Students with Disabilities in the Classroom

Faculty members are encouraged to be responsive to the pedagogical needs of all students. However, students with disabilities may have some additional educational needs that they should discuss with each faculty member. For example, if a student with a visual or hearing impairment enrolls in your course, the following suggestions may be useful:

  1. Students with Hearing Impairments in the Classroom (PDF link)
  2. Students with Visual Impairments in the Classroom (PDF link)

Other general and inclusive teaching suggestions, adopted from DO-IT  at the University of Washington, include:

  • Classroom
    1. Select course materials early so that students and the Learning Assistance Center & Disability Services have enough time to create or obtain alternative text, including Etext, Braille, and large print.
    2. Make syllabi, short assignment sheets, and reading lists available in electronic format.
    3. Face the class when speaking.
    4. Repeat discussion questions.
    5. Write key phrases and lecture outlines on the blackboard or overhead projector.
  • Laboratory
    1. Take the student on a tour of the lab he/she will be working in.
    2. Discuss safety concerns.
    3. Assign group lab projects in which all students contribute according to their abilities.
    4. Arrange lab equipment so that it is easily accessible.
    5. Give oral and written lab instructions.
  • Examinations and Field Work
    1. Assure that exams test the essential skills or knowledge needed for the course or field of study.
    2. Some students will require extra time to transcribe or process test questions; follow campus policies regarding extra time on examinations.
    3. Consider allowing students to turn in exams electronically.
    4. Ask student how he/she might be able to do specific aspects of field work.
    5. Attempt to include student in field work opportunities, rather than automatically suggesting non-field work alternatives.
    6. Include special needs in requests for field trip vehicle reservations.

The Teaching and Learning Collaborative at WFU is another valuable resource for faculty members interested in enhancing their teaching practice.