Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Access


After this presentation, faculty and administrators will be able to


Approximately 45 minutes.


The disabled student services coordinator or counselor would be responsible for coordinating the presentation. This program may be co-presented with a staff member or student on campus who has experience with people with disabilities in STEM.


Equipment and Tools

Presentation Outline

  1. Distribute handouts.
  2. Introductions.
  3. Begin presentation.
  4. Introduce and play video as noted in the script.
  5. Discuss possible accommodation strategies.
  6. Discuss department or campus issues.
  7. Note campus resources.
  8. Distribute and collect completed evaluation instruments.


For further preparation resources for this presentation, consult

Sample Script

Today we will be discussing how to provide full access to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) classes for students with disabilities.

The objectives of today's presentation are to

As scientific fields make increasing use of technology, new opportunities emerge for people with a variety of abilities and disabilities. When students with disabilities and teachers form learning partnerships, the possibilities for academic and career success multiply.

Some conditions of students with disabilities are visible; some are invisible. Since each person's situation is unique, the best solutions for maximizing participation arise when the student and teacher work together to develop creative alternatives to challenges faced by students with disabilities. Such challenges occur when gaining and demonstrating knowledge. In most cases, it takes just a little creativity, patience, and common sense to make it possible for everyone to participate and learn.

We will view a video in which college-bound and postsecondary students with disabilities share their access challenges and accommodation needs in science courses.

The students in this presentation shared their experiences in the science classroom. Let's discuss some of their solutions to the challenges they encountered. This information is summarized in your handout entitled Working Together: Science Teachers and Students with Disabilities. Imagine having these students enrolled in a freshman science course at our institution. Their challenges can be broken down into two areas: gaining knowledge and demonstrating knowledge.

[Discuss the access challenges and solutions that follow and those that can be found in the handout. Encourage comments, suggestions, and experiences from the participants.]

Gaining Knowledge

Many students with disabilities face challenges gaining knowledge. Examples of specific challenges and accommodations follow:

Demonstrating Knowledge

Some students with disabilities cannot demonstrate mastery of a subject by writing, speaking, or by working through a problem in a lab. Many of the accommodations for gaining knowledge can help the student demonstrate mastery of a subject as well. Examples of other accommodations follow:

Case Study

[Consider having participants discuss a case study. Case #2 on page 65 in the Presentation Tips section of this notebook would be appropriate.]


A common perception is that accommodations for students with disabilities are complex and expensive. However, most accommodations are inexpensive and simply require creative problem-solving on the part of the students, instructors, and disability services staff.


Show slide #2: with your campus resources added.

Here are some resources that might be useful to you as you work to maximize effective communication with all students in your STEM classes. [Elaborate.]

For comprehensive information on accommodations, a wide range of case studies, frequently asked questions, and general resources, visit The Faculty Room at This resource was developed at the University of Washington as part of a nationwide project to provide resources to faculty and administrators so that they can make their courses and programs accessible to all students. You can link to this resource from ____. [Arrange to provide a link from your campus' disabled student services website before the presentation.] Consider linking to this website from your department's faculty website.

Thank you for your time today and for your interest in finding ways to ensure that all of the students in our programs have equal opportunities to learn, explore interests, and express ideas.