Teaching Students with Disabilities
This resource has been created to assist and support faculty and administrators who have students with disabilities in their courses. The information below is true for most students, but as in all things, there are exceptions.
A disability may or may not affect the participation of a student in your class. In College, students are the best source of information regarding their needs. Your students are responsible for explaining their needs and requesting accommodations. However, you will receive an accommodation memo from the office of Jessica Pettifurd and Joanne Dawson, Disability Support Services Advocates in the Disability Support Services Office. By law, we are not allowed to disclose the type of disability a student may have. We are only allowed to reveal the accommodations he/she is eligible for.
Each student with a disability has unique needs. Having these needs met can mean the difference between succeeding and failing. Making your students feel welcome will help them approach you about their need for accommodations. Also including in your course syllabus an invitation to meet with you to discuss what you both will need and can expect from each other for the semester would be helpful.
Instructors’ and Students’ Rights and Responsibilities
Instructors and students both have rights and responsibilities. In the case of the inclusion of students with disabilities in postsecondary activities, faculty members have the right to require that students demonstrate knowledge and skills essential to the course content. Qualified students with disabilities have the right to reasonable accommodations.
Why Accommodate and the Legal Issues?
Students with disabilities are entitled to a college education and can only achieve this by having equal access to it. Some people ask, “Why should a student with a disability/disabilities get special treatment?” First of all, in order for a student with a disability/disabilities to succeed, he/she needs to have the same learning opportunities available to them as the students without. In other words, we must “level the playing field.” The second reason is because it’s the law.
In 1990 the “Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990” and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 passed a law prohibiting discrimination against anyone with disabilities.
What is the law?
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is the civil rights guarantee for persons with disabilities in the United States. It provides protection from discrimination for individuals on the basis of disability. For more information about the ADA Law, visit the United States Department of of Labor.