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Lesson 13: Conclusion

Lesson 12 | Lesson 13 | Lesson 14

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Distance Learning Course
SUBJECT: Accommodations 13: CONCLUSION

==========
PURPOSE

The purpose of this lesson is to summarize briefly the main points
presented in this course, and to gain awareness of the changes you
have considered making to your existing course selected at the
beginning of the course.

==========
Questions to REFLECT upon while reading the CONTENT

1. What have you learned from this course?  

2. Have you learned strategies for making your course more accessible
to students with disabilities?

3.  Are you familiar with resources available to assist you in
accommodating students with disabilities in your courses?

==========
CONTENT

The law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities and
mandates the provision of reasonable accommodations to ensure access
to programs and services. Accommodating students with disabilities in
higher education is a shared responsibility. The best accommodations
are unique to the individual and develop from a cooperative
relationship between the faculty member and the student, with the
assistance of the campus disabled student services
office. Accommodations can be simple, creative alternatives to
traditional ways of doing things.

In post-secondary settings, students are the best source of
information regarding their special needs. They are responsible for
disclosing their disabilities and requesting accommodations. You (the
faculty) and the disabled student services office should always
remember that disability-related information is confidential and is
not to be disclosed without permission from the student.

Flexibility and effective communication between student and instructor
are key in approaching accommodations. Although students with similar
disabilities may require different accommodations, it is useful for
you to be aware of typical strategies for working with students who
have various types of impairments. With this basic knowledge you will
be better prepared to ask students to clarify their needs and to
discuss accommodation requests.

UNIVERSAL DESIGN
Employing universal design principles when initially designing a
course using instructional strategies for inclusiveness, physical
access, delivery methods, web pages, interaction, feedback, and
demonstration of knowledge creates an accessible environment,
minimizing the need to alter it later for individuals with special
needs.

HEARING IMPAIRMENTS 
The term "hearing impairment" refers to functional hearing loss that
ranges from mild to profound. This hearing loss makes it difficult or
impossible to hear lecturers, access multi-media materials, and
participate in discussions. Writing assignments may also present a
challenge. A student who is using an interpreter, who is lip reading,
or who is reading real-time captioning will have difficulty looking at
another resource at the same time. There are also ways you can adjust
your speaking style and the pace of the classroom to make information
more accessible to a student with a hearing impairment.

Examples of GENERAL ACCOMMODATIONS are:
* Interpreters
* Assistive Listening Devices (ALD's), sound amplification systems
* Note takers
* Preferential seating for optimal listening or lip reading
* Real-time captioning
* Electronic mail for faculty-student meetings and class discussions,
and as an alternative to teleconferencing
* Visual warning systems for lab emergencies
* Changing computer auditory signals to flashes or contrast changes.

VISUAL IMPAIRMENTS
Students with LOW VISION have some usable vision. Those with BLINDNESS
are unable to read printed text, even when enlarged.

Typical accommodations for LOW VISION include:
* Seating near front of class
* Audiotaped class sessions
* Verbal descriptions of visual aids and graphics
* Large print handouts, lab signs, and equipment labels
* TV monitor connected to microscope to enlarge images
* Class assignments made available in electronic format
* Computer equipped to enlarge screen characters and images

Typical accommodations for BLINDNESS include:
* Audiotaped, Brailled, or electronic-formatted lecture notes,
handouts, and texts
* Verbal descriptions of visual aids and graphics
* Raised-line drawings and tactile models of graphic materials
* Braille lab signs and equipment labels, auditory lab warning signals
* Adaptive lab equipment (e.g., talking thermometers and calculators,
light probes, and tactile timers)
* Computer with optical character reader, speech output, Braille screen
display and printer output

Consult the disabled student services office on your campus to
coordinate production of materials using BRAILLE, AUDIOTAPE, TACTILE
MODELS, and RAISED-LINE DRAWINGS.

MOBILITY IMPAIRMENTS
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)

HEALTH IMPAIRMENTS
Health impairments affect daily living and can have a temporary or
chronic impact on a student's academic performance.

Typical accommodations for students who have health impairments include:
* Note takers and note taking services
* Audio or video taped class sessions
* Flexible attendance requirements
* Extended exam time or alternative testing arrangements
* Assignments available in electronic format
* The use of electronic mail for faculty-student meetings and
discussion groups for class discussions
* Web page or electronic mail distribution of course materials and
lecture notes
* An environment which minimizes fatigue and injury
* An ergonomic workstation and adaptive technology
* Computer-based instruction, distance learning

LEARNING DISABILITIES 
Learning disabilities are documented disabilities that may affect
reading, processing information, remembering, calculating, and spatial
abilities.  Students with learning disabilities have average to above
average intelligence but may have difficulties acquiring and
demonstrating knowledge and understanding. By working together, you,
the student, and the disabled student services staff help create an
environment to lessen the discrepancy between achievement and
intellectual abilities, and thereby encourage success in the student's
academic endeavors.

Typical accommodations for students with learning disabilities include:
* Note takers and/or audiotaped class sessions, captioned films 	
* Extra exam time, alternative testing and/or assignment arrangements
* Visual, aural, and tactile instructional demonstrations
* Equipment with adaptive technology

PSYCHIATRIC DISABILITIES
The broad range of psychiatric or mental health impairments and the
"invisible" nature of the disabilities complicate making
accommodations for students with various psychiatric or mental health
conditions.  They may have difficulty attending class regularly; they
may fatigue easily or have difficulty taking notes. Medication side
effects may impact endurance, memory, and attention. Students may have
particular problems receiving, processing, and recalling information
during times of stress.

TECHNOLOGY IMPLICATIONS
In order to help your students, it is important for you to be aware of
the many computer access issues facing students with disabilities and
the hardware and software solutions for providing access to computers
and electronic resources. Incorporating universal design principles
into a new course during the initial planning reduces the need for
accommodations later. In addressing COMPUTER ACCESS ISSUES, the
disabled student services office can also help coordinate with
computing services staff.

==========
SUMMARY

This course has presented examples of accommodations for a variety of
situations involving students with disabilities.  The Faculty Room Web site
(URL: http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/) provides a comprehensive
resource for further study and future reference.

By reflecting on YOUR own course while reading the CONTENT in each
lesson, you were guided to consider possible modifications to your
course. By considering and discussing your own course, the courses of
other participants, and the ACCESS ISSUES in case study readings, you
were encouraged to develop an awareness of additional strategies and
accommodations. Incorporating some of these strategies into a new
course based on universal design principles reduces the need for
accommodations later.

When accommodations are needed, the best accommodations are unique to
the individual student and result from the coordinated efforts of you,
the student, and the disabled student services staff.  You now have
additional resources to assist you in developing accommodations that
can be simple, creative alternatives to traditional ways of doing
things.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or problems.
Also consider keeping in touch with other participants in this group.
One of the benefits of this course is developing a network of people
with whom to share our questions and our knowledge.

==========
TOPIC FOR DISCUSSION

In your email to the group, state one thing that you have learned in this
course that will help you make your selected course more accessible to
students with disabilities.

Your email SUBJECT line should read: Accommodations 13: CONCLUSION.

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FURTHER INFORMATION

For additional information consult The Faculty Room Web site:
http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/

==========
(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
doit@u.washington.edu