Accomodating students with disabilities
All medical information provided is kept confidential.
Similarly, some instructional material may be difficult for students with certain disabilities. When planning your course, consider the following questions (from Scott, 1998): Answering these questions can help you define essential requirements for you and your students.For instance, participation in lab settings is critical for many biology classes; however, is traditional class lecture the only means of delivering instruction in a humanities or social science course?However, students with disabilities may feel nervous to disclose sensitive medical information to an instructor.Often, students must combat negative stereotypes about their disabilities held by others and even themselves.For first year students, this may be a different process than what they experienced in high school with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Section 504 plan. At Vanderbilt, students must request accommodations through the Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disability Services Department (EAD) [
As part of the required paperwork, the student must present documentation from an appropriate medical professional indicating the diagnosis of the current disability and, among other things, the types of accommodations requested.
Additionally, is an in-class written essay exam the only means of evaluating a student who has limited use of her hands?
Could an in-person or taped oral exam accomplish the same goal?
For instance, you may not know that a student has epilepsy or a chronic pain disorder unless she chooses to disclose or an incident arises.
These “hidden” disorders can be hard for students to disclose because many people assume they are healthy because “they look fine.” In some cases, the student may make a seemingly strange request or action that is disability-related.
Your attitudes and values not only influence the attitudes and values of your students, but they can affect the way you teach, particularly your assumptions about students…which can lead to unequal learning outcomes for those in your classes.” (Davis, 2010, p.