Tips for Success

1.    There are often special considerations when instructing students with disabilities. Use best practice ideas for teaching.

2.    Practice Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in your classroom.  UDL is an approach to designing course instruction, materials, evaluation, activities, and content in such a way that all people can participate in the educational process; accommodations are not necessary because creative options for learning and evaluation are available to anyone participating in a class.

3.    Collaborate regularly with the DSS student and communicate with DSS personnel when you have any questions or concerns.  Let DSS know if the DSS student is in danger of failing or if you feel the student is giving little effort or is cheating.

4.    Remember that each student with a disability is unique; don’t expect them to respond or function in the same way.

5.    Be sensitive to disability-related etiquette. For example: If a student with a disability has a guide dog, understand that this is a working animal – do not pet or feed the dog while it is working.

6.    Be receptive to meeting with students with disabilities during office to clarify disability issues or curriculum work.

7.    Help facilitate study partners or note takers for the student with a disability if he needs that.

8.    When possible, provide strategies or aids to help the student with structure and organization.  Some examples are: a syllabus with clear expectations and due dates, study guides for tests, notes on Blackboard before class begins, and review sessions.

9.    Make sure to include the student in your classroom community; model your acceptance for the students with disabilities for their peers.

10.     The DSS student has been told by our office to come to you at the first of the semester to discuss his accommodations.  If you have a student that you know has a disability but hasn’t come to talk to you, it is possible that the student has intended to talk to you but has neglected to do so and may say something later when he remembers. If you got a letter from our office for the semester, then the student has told our office that he does want the accommodations.  Try to be understanding and realize that not remembering to do this might be part of his disability. 

11.     Show courtesy to your students with disabilities by using “person-first language.” This means that the person is emphasized first, the disability second.  See the guide for use of person-first language in Appendix F.

12.     Remember that individuals with disabilities will be guaranteed the same right to accommodations in the work world when they leave college.  It is not just something done in universities to make things easier for them.  The purpose for accommodations is not to give them an advantage; it is to give them a break – to level the playing field to complete the work that they are capable of doing!