Teaching Students with Disabilities

Many strategies that are used for students with disabilities are just successful teaching strategies for all students.

The most common term now used is "universal design" or using a multi-sensory teaching style that will reach and/or re-enforce students' different learning styles.

An example would be "verbally describing" a photograph. Sighted students would get both the visual and auditory information while a blind student would have the benefit of the auditory description. Yet, there would not be any "specialized accommodation" for that blind student.

A well developed syllabus that incorporates not only a schedule of assignments but provides organization and clear criteria and expectations. Structure and dependability is effective for all students but especially for students with disabilities.

Academic standards and the ability to demonstrate mastery of content are elemental to any learning environment. Students with disabilities are held to the same academic standards but may be accommodated to allow for demonstrating mastery of content in a different format.

Accommodations may be in question when the request threatens the essential element of a course, but it must be proven to be an essential element in a rational non discriminatory justification in keeping with reasonable expectations.