Considerations for teaching students with disabilities
- Be supportive but do not be overly solicitous. Treat the student as any other student whenever possible.
- Students are not obligated to reveal or discuss their disability with instructors. Some will choose to have a dialogue about their disability and accommodations; others will not. If a student chooses to openly discuss his or her disability, the content and discussion should be kept private and confidential. It is not uncommon for people to feel awkward when discussing disability. An open mind, avoiding stereotype images and experiences, and recognizing the student for his or her abilities are important in establishing a successful working relationship with each student.
- Get more disability information. Understand the challenges and concerns these students face. Student Development can provide disability specific information and discuss access options and legal obligations with you.
- Make adjustments to policies and procedures to allow the student an equal opportunity to learn. Remember that identical treatment is not "equal" treatment.
- Make adjustments when evaluating students' performance by giving them an equal opportunity to demonstrate that they have mastered the course material. Do not, however, accept work of a lower quality simply because the student has a disability and do not give unearned grades by assigning a passing grade only because the student tried hard.
- Do not waive academic requirements or overcompensate by doing things for students that they can and want to do for themselves.
- Do not delve into students' medical histories or inquire about their diagnosis. However, you have a right to enough information to conduct your duty and evaluate the student's ability to function in your course.
- Avoid embarrassing students by singling them out for special attention in class.
- Use everyday words such as "see" "hear" and "walk" with students who have disabilities.
- Do not discourage students from taking your course. If you foresee problems, discuss these but let students make up their own mind.
Considerations for teaching students with disabilities: