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Lesson 06: Mobility

Lesson 05 | Lesson 06 | Lesson 07

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Distance Learning Course
SUBJECT: Accommodations 6: MOBILITY


The purpose of this lesson is to increase your awareness of the issues
and strategies related specifically to accommodations for students

By reflecting on YOUR course while reading the CONTENT and by
considering the question for discussion, you will be guided to
consider possible modifications to your course SPECIFICALLY related to
accommodations for students with MOBILITY impairments.

Questions to REFLECT upon while reading the CONTENT

What challenges might students with MOBILITY impairments face in your
selected course? What accommodations might they require?


We are now concentrating on accommodations for students with specific
disabilities or impairments. This lesson presents issues and
suggestions for accommodations for students with MOBILITY impairments.

There are many types of ORTHOPEDIC or NEUROMUSCULAR impairments that
can impact mobility. These include but are not limited to amputation,
paralysis, Cerebral Palsy, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular
Dystrophy, Arthritis, and spinal cord injury.  Mobility impairments
range from LOWER BODY impairments, which may require use of canes,
walkers, or wheelchairs, to UPPER BODY impairments that may include
limited or no use of the upper extremities and hands. It is IMPOSSIBLE
to GENERALIZE about functional abilities due to the wide variety of
disabilities and specific diagnoses. MOBILITY impairments can be
PERMANENT or TEMPORARY. A broken bone, an injury, or a surgical
procedure can temporarily impact a student's ability to walk
independently and travel between campus buildings in a timely
manner. Likewise, some students may be ambulatory with a walker for
short distances within a classroom, but may need a wheelchair or
scooter for longer distances.

Mobility impairments can IMPACT students in several ways. Some
students may take longer to get from one class to another, enter
buildings, or maneuver in small spaces. In some cases PHYSICAL
BARRIERS may inhibit entry into a building or classroom. It may also
be difficult to get to FIELDWORK SITES without accessible

A mobility impairment may impact, to varying degrees, a student's
ability to MANIPULATE objects, turn pages, write with a pen or pencil,
type at a keyboard, or retrieve research materials. Medical conditions
such as Arthritis or repetitive stress injuries can impact fine motor
abilities and decrease ENDURANCE for longer assignments. A student's
physical ability may also vary from day to day.

Examples of accommodations for students with MOBILITY impairments include:
* Accessible locations for classrooms, labs, and field trips
* Preferential and accessible seating
* Wide aisles and uncluttered work areas
* Adjustable height and tilt tables
* All equipment located within reach
* Note takers, scribes, and lab assistants
* Audiotaped class sessions
* Group lab assignments
* Extended exam time, alternative testing or alternative assignment
* Computers with speech input, Morse code, and alternative keyboards
* Access to handicapped parking spaces, wheelchair ramps, curb cuts,
restrooms, and elevators
* Course materials available in electronic format
* Access to research resources available on the Internet
* When speaking with a student in a wheelchair for more than a few
minutes, sit down or move back to create a more comfortable angle for


MOBILITY impairments may make walking, sitting, bending, carrying, or
using fingers, hands or arms difficult or impossible.  Mobility
impairments may be permanent or temporary, resulting from many causes,
including amputation, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, and
Cerebral Palsy.  General accommodations for students with mobility
impairments include: * Note taker, lab assistant; group lab
assignments * Classrooms, labs, and field trips in accessible
locations * Adjustable tables; lab equipment located within reach *
Class assignments made available in electronic format * Computer
equipped with special input device (e.g., voice input, Morse code,
alternative keyboard)

In all cases, it is important to remember that the STUDENT is
responsible for requesting an accommodation and providing necessary
documentation to your campus disabled student services office. By
working together, YOU, the STUDENT, and the DISABLED STUDENT SERVICES
OFFICE can assure that the accommodations provided are appropriate and


Suppose you have a student in your class who cannot write with her
hands. Send an email message to the group, answering the question:

What are some things she might reasonably request to facilitate her
learning and participation in your course?

Your email SUBJECT line should read: Accommodations 6: MOBILITY.


You can read answers to frequently asked questions, explore case
studies, or access additional resources at:

(c) 2001 DO-IT. Permission is granted to copy material in this email
for educational, non-commercial purposes provided the source is
acknowledged. Contact DO-IT at: 1-206-685-3648, or