What are examples of science lab accommodations for students with mobility impairments?

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Since each student's accommodation needs are unique and the student is often most knowledgeable about effective accommodations, be sure to talk with the student about what accommodations he/she might need.

Some specific accommodations that might be useful to a student with a mobility impairment in a science lab include the following:

  • Provide a lab partner.
  • Use plastic instead of glassware.
  • Allow extra time for set up and completion of lab work.
  • Modify safety procedures.
  • Make sure field sites are accessible.
  • Provide an uncluttered lab with wide clear aisles.
  • Give preferential seating to avoid physical barriers and assure visual access to demonstrations
  • Place mirrors above the instructor giving a demonstration and/or use an enlarged screen for demonstrations.
  • Provide wheelchair-accessible workstations that have an adjustable-height work surface.
  • Make a slip stop mat available.
  • Place utility and equipment controls within easy reach from seated position.
  • Provide lab equipment such as electric stirrers and container fillers.
  • Allow students to use support stands, beaker/object clamps and test racks.
  • Make beakers and other lab equipment with handles available.
  • Provide surgical gloves to make handling wet/slippery items easier.
  • Modify procedures to use larger weights and volumes.
  • Extended eyepieces so students who use wheelchairs can use microscopes from a seated position.
  • Provide flexible connections to electrical, water and gas lines.
  • Use single-action lever controls in place of knobs.
  • Provide alternate lab storage methods (e.g.,"Lazy Susan", storage cabinet on casters).

This list is from the DO-IT publication Making Science Labs Accessible to Students with Disabilities.

For more examples of accommodations that can be made in science labs consult the DO-IT Knowledge Base article What are examples of accommodations in science laboratories?

Last update or review: January 25, 2013