Distance Learning Course: Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

DO-IT has created an online course that consists of fourteen electronic mail messages that can be used for gaining information on how to employ universal design and accommodation strategies to fully include students with disabilities in academic offerings. These lessons are designed for delivery to faculty members, teaching assistants and/or administrators as a distance learning course on a single campus, in a campus system, or within a college or department. 

Image of an instructor using a computer

Each lesson may be copied and pasted into separate email messages which may be used individually or sequentially as a full distance learning seminar. The course should be facilitated by a faculty member or administrator who is familiar with the material (e.g., personnel providing services for students with disabilities). These lessons are appropriate as part of new faculty or staff orientations or ongoing professional development.

The following content will help you deliver a distance learning course on your campus. For an example of how this course can be tailored to and delivered on a specific postsecondary campus, consult Accommodating Students with Disabilities in the Classroom, a course implemented by Grace Hanson, Director, Disabled Student Programs & Services, at Mt. San Antonio College.

Facilitating the Course

After you review all of the Facilitator notes, read the 14 email messages (13 lessons and an evaluation) line-by-line to ensure that the content is appropriate to your audience. You can use the lessons as they are or customize portions of the lessons to include information specific to your campus.

Create a list of participant email addresses in a listserv discussion list for the course, or simply create an address list in your own email program. Use the list to distribute the 14 course email messages and facilitate discussion. If you decide to use a discussion list, set it up with the appropriate staff at your campus, learn how it works, and subscribe all of the participants. You will need to subscribe new participants each time you run the course.

Consider including a paragraph stating that the list will remain open or will be closed as of a certain date. You may want to ask participants if they wish to remain on the list during the next offering of the course. or, perhaps you will want to use the list as a means for the participants to keep in touch with one another. Keeping the list open provides many possibilities for continued awareness building on your campus, but does create work for the facilitator of the list.

Regardless of whether you choose to use the discussion listserv, or email communication method, give directions on how to use the selected method.

  1. Consider sending an email message to the group that lists all of the participant's email addresses, including your own, to encourage ongoing communication. This message could include specific content information regarding campus services for students with disabilities as well. You may also send them a participant summary (e.g., number of participants and departments represented in the course), to encourage discussion.
  2. During delivery of the course, if you receive a message from a participant addressed only to you that should be viewed by all participants, forward the message to all participants.
  3. Set an approximate schedule for sending out email lessons. For example, you could send a lesson each Tuesday and Thursday; or you could space lessons according to interests and discussion of topics. For example, send the Accommodation: introduction message; during the discussion that follows, send a biography about yourself and encourage others to contribute to the discussion, then after several days of discussion, send the next lesson. It is not necessary for you to respond to all discussion messages, but participate enough to keep the conversation going. Continue in this manner through lesson 13. Completion of the course in 6-8 weeks is a reasonable goal.
  4. To create an email message, copy all of the text from the Web page link and paste it into an email message. Put the title of the lesson (e.g., Accommodations 1: Introduction) as the subject line. Then send the lesson to your group of participants.
  5. After sending Accommodations 12: resources, send a message that summarizes resources, policies, and contact information for students with disabilities on your campus.
  6. At the start of the Accommodations 13: Conclusion, thank your participants for their involvement and remind them about the end date, or continuation of the discussion list as applicable. Inform them of the importance of swiftly completing and sending the course evaluation. Send the course evaluation as the 14th message.

Lesson 01: Introduction

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Distance Learning Course
SUBJECT: Accommodations 1: INTRODUCTION


Course Purpose

In this course you will learn strategies for fully including students with disabilities in academic activities. You will also discuss case studies and read answers to questions faculty members frequently ask about accommodating students with disabilities in their classes. Please select at least one of your existing courses as your own case to review in light of the issues presented during this course. For your selected course(s) you will examine access issues for students with disabilities, explore accommodation strategies, and consider modifications that would make it more accessible to students with a variety of disabilities.

The best accommodations for students with disabilities in higher education 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.


Course Outline

This course will consist of fourteen email messages from me, the course facilitator.

  1. Introduction
  2. Rights & Responsibilities
  3. Universal Design of Instruction
  4. Hearing Impairments
  5. Visual Impairments
  6. Mobility Impairments
  7. Health Impairments
  8. Learning Disabilities
  9. Psychiatric Disabilities
  10. Adaptive Technology
  11. Distance Learning
  12. Resources
  13. Conclusions
  14. Course Evaluation

Each lesson will include:

  • designated email SUBJECT heading
  • lesson PURPOSE
  • lesson CONTENT
  • lesson SUMMARY
  • QUESTION for discussion
  • WEB address for further information

Course Communications

This course will be conducted via email. There are no face-to-face meetings scheduled for this course. I will send one or two email "lessons" each week to the participants as indicated on the TO: line of this message.

YOU are expected to read and discuss (via email) issues raised in the lessons, as well as respond to comments made by other participants. Please try to send responses to specific email messages within 24 hours to the group in order to maintain cohesive discussions within the short time period between lessons.

Netiquette Note: The lessons will contain words in UPPER CASE LETTERS. In normal email messages, this is considered SHOUTING. However, for the purposes of this course, I am using upper case for emphasis only, not for SHOUTING.

To initiate a NEW TOPIC to the participants:

  1. Type a short topic title in the "SUBJECT" area of your email message.
  2. Write your message.
  3. Send your message to the email address(es) in the "TO" line of this email message.

To REPLY to a message directed to course participants:

  1. Use the REPLY command in your electronic mail software, which will automatically copy the "SUBJECT" title from the original message to the "SUBJECT" area of your new message to the email address(es) in the "TO" line of this email message and direct your message to the email address(es) in the "TO" line of this email message.
  2. Write your message.
  3. Send your message.

Depending on the settings of your electronic mail software, the software may automatically copy the text of the original message into the message area of the new message. It is useful to have the original message included in the reply because it lets the participants know the context of your reply. You may wish to cut out some parts of the original message to help reduce the total size of the message you are sending, but be sure to leave intact the essential portions to which you are replying.

Send a general question to the entire GROUP; another participant may have the same question, or may have experience dealing with the issue raised. One of the benefits of this course is developing a network of people, including me, with whom to share questions and knowledge. Direct messages that you wish to go to INDIVIDUALS to their email address only. Send messages to me at my email address on the "FROM" line of this message.


Suggestions

  1. To help keep track of messages for this course, you may wish to create a separate folder (if your email software allows this). You can then transfer those messages related to the course from your IN-BOX (NEW MESSAGES) area to the course folder.
  2. If your email software allows it, you may want to sort the course messages by SUBJECT after you've read them. This helps you follow the "thread" of the discussion for that SUBJECT/TITLE, in case you want to review what has been said about the topic.

This email-based course provides an overview of accommodations for students with disabilities in postsecondary education. For comprehensive information consult The Faculty Room website at http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/


Course Introduction

In a recent study, the number of postsecondary undergraduate students identified as having disabilities in the United States was 428,280, representing 6% of the nation's total student body. The types of disabilities reported by these students were:

45.7% Learning disabilities
13.9% Mobility or orthopedic impairments
11.6% Health impairments
7.8% Mental illness or emotional disturbance
5.6% Hearing impairments
4.4% Blindness and visual impairments
0.9% Speech or language impairments
9.1% Other impairments

(Source: An Institutional Perspective on Students with Disabilities in Postsecondary Education, National Center for Educational Statistics, Postsecondary Education Quick Information System, August 1999).

In this course we will discuss issues and strategies related to students with the following disabilities:

LEARNING DISABILITIES are documented disabilities that may affect reading, processing information, remembering, calculating, and spatial abilities.

MOBILITY IMPAIRMENTS may make walking, sitting, bending, carrying, or using fingers, hands or arms difficult or impossible. Mobility impairments result from many causes, including amputation, Polio, clubfoot, Scoliosis, spinal cord injury, and Cerebral Palsy.

HEALTH IMPAIRMENTS affect daily living and involve the lungs, kidneys, heart, muscles, liver, intestines, immune systems, and/or other body parts (e.g., cancer, kidney failure, AIDS).

MENTAL ILLNESS includes mental health and psychiatric disorders that affect daily living.

HEARING IMPAIRMENTS make it difficult or impossible to hear lecturers, access multimedia materials, and participate in discussions.

BLINDNESS refers to the disability of students who cannot read printed text, even when enlarged. LOW VISION refers to students who have some usable vision, but cannot read standard-size text, have field deficits (for example, cannot see peripherally or centrally but can see well in other ranges), or other visual impairments.

A disability may or may not AFFECT the participation of a student in your class. In postsecondary settings, students are the best source of information regarding their special needs. They are responsible for disclosing their disabilities and requesting accommodations. To create a welcome environment, include a statement on your class syllabus inviting students who require accommodations to meet with you. For example, "If you have a documented disability and wish to discuss academic accommodations, please contact me as soon as possible."

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.

Throughout this course, you will be asked to consider access issues and accommodation strategies presented in this course, in relation to modifications you might make in your own course. You are not alone in this venture; you are part of the team.


True/False Exercises

  1. Students with mobility impairments form the largest group of undergraduates with disabilities. (T/F)
  2. More undergraduate students report having a hearing impairment than having blindness or a visual impairment. (T/F)
  3. Almost one-half of the students who report having a disability have a learning disability. (T/F)

Note: The answers to these exercises are: 1. F, 2. T, 3. T.


Discussion

Please send an email message to the group, sharing the name and a brief description of the COURSE you will use as your case study during this distance learning course. In addition, give a short BIOGRAPHY about yourself including your name, college, department and (optional) experience in working with students with disabilities.

Your email SUBJECT line should read: Accommodations 1: INTRODUCTION.


Course Organization and Acknowledgment

This course was created as part of the DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology) Prof Model Demonstration Project. DO-IT Prof applies lessons learned by DO-IT and other programs and researchers nationwide to implement a comprehensive professional development program for college faculty and administrators. It is funded by a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education (grant #P33A990042). Any opinions or recommendations expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Education.


Further Information

To be placed on the DO-IT mailing list, or to request materials in an alternative format, contact:

DO-IT
University of Washington
Box 354842
Seattle, WA 98195-4842
doit@u.washington.edu
http://www.washington.edu/doit/
206-685-DOIT (3648) -- voice/TTY
888-972-DOIT (3648) -- voice/TTY
206-221-4171 (FAX)
509-328-9331 -- voice/TTY, Spokane office

Director: Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D.


(c) 2001 DO-IT. Permission is granted to copy material in this email for educational, non-commercial purposes provided the source is acknowledged.

Lesson 02: Rights and Responsibilities

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Distance Learning Course
SUBJECT: Accommodations 2: RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

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PURPOSE

The purpose of this lesson is to increase your awareness of the RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES of the FACULTY, the STUDENT WITH A DISABILITY, and the INSTITUTION in relation to persons with disabilities taking courses at postsecondary institutions.

By reflecting on YOUR own course while reading the LESSON CONTENT, you will be guided to consider possible modifications to your course. By considering and responding to the QUESTIONS for discussion, you will develop an awareness of the shared responsibilities of faculty, students, and staff, and the teamwork essential to finding creative accommodations to meet these responsibilities.

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Question to REFLECT upon while reading the CONTENT

In what ways does YOUR selected course meet your RESPONSIBILITY as the faculty member for a person with one or more disabilities?

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CONTENT

The LAW
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 PROHIBIT discrimination against persons with disabilities and mandate the provision of reasonable accommodations to ensure access to programs and services. REASONABLE accommodations may include, but are not limited to, redesigning equipment, assigning aides, providing written communication in alternative formats, modifying tests, redesigning services to accessible locations, altering existing facilities, and building new facilities. Reasonable accommodations do not include personal devices such as hearing aids, wheelchairs, and glasses. A "person with a disability" means "any person who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities including walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working; has a record of such impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment."

EXAMPLES of disabilities that can impact a student in postsecondary education include, but are not limited to, AIDS, cancer, Cerebral Palsy, Diabetes, Epilepsy, head injuries, hearing impairments, learning disabilities, loss of limbs, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, psychiatric disorders, speech impairments, spinal cord injuries, and visual impairments.

Many of the conditions listed may LIMIT individuals' abilities to perform specific life tasks. Some of these conditions are visible, while other conditions, such as learning or psychiatric disabilities, are "invisible." Individuals with the same diagnosis or label may present a range of symptoms and functional limitations. For example, an individual with Cerebral Palsy may need to use a wheelchair, may be unable to speak, and may require a personal assistant for self care. Another person with Cerebral Palsy may walk with a cane and manage all personal care tasks and communication independently. Likewise, an individual with a learning disability may have difficulties with reading, writing, math and/or processing verbal information. Clearly, each individual has UNIQUE NEEDS in postsecondary education settings. In all cases, the institution has a responsibility to provide program access to qualified students with disabilities.

The DESIGN of a product, environment, or service that is flexible and meets the needs of a wide range of users can eliminate or minimize the need for specific accommodations for a person with a disability. [In contrast, a mismatch between the individual with a disability and the environment, attitudes, or society can create or exacerbate barriers.] For example, an individual with a mobility impairment may fully participate in most life activities if the buildings, transportation, and facilities he uses are wheelchair accessible. However, when he cannot accept a job or attend a class because the work site or classroom environment is inaccessible, he is being excluded as a consequence of an architectural barrier that prohibits access. Similarly, captioning on videotapes eliminates the need for an accommodation for a deaf student.

SHARED RESPONSIBILITY
Accommodating students with disabilities in higher education is a SHARED RESPONSIBILITY. Faculty and administrators, students, and disabled student services staff must work together to coordinate reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities who request support. Coordinated efforts and support from departmental, administrative, facilities, and other student service personnel can also enhance the overall accessibility of the postsecondary learning environment for students with disabilities.

FACULTY, ADMINISTRATORS, TEACHING ASSISTANTS, AND STAFF
As an EDUCATOR, your efforts can result in greater academic and career success for the students you serve. Knowledge of legal issues, accommodation strategies, and campus resources for students with disabilities can facilitate this success. Studies show that faculty members who are familiar with accommodation strategies are better prepared to make arrangements to ensure that students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in their programs. In addition, faculty and staff who have had interactions with students with disabilities generally have more positive attitudes about working with these students.

DISABLED STUDENT SERVICES PROFESSIONALS
The services on campus designed to support students with disabilities are also available to help faculty. The DISABLED STUDENT SERVICES OFFICE on your campus is a key resource when working with students with disabilities. It is typically the responsibility of disabled students services staff to: * Maintain confidential records of the student's disability. * Recommend and coordinate accommodations (for example, sign language interpreters, Braille documents). * Arrange special equipment (e.g., adaptive technology, assistive listening devices). * Provide other resources/referrals for students with disabilities (e.g., adaptive technology specialists, testing centers, counseling). Staff should also be able to answer questions and provide details about policies and procedures and legal and compliance issues related to meeting the needs of students with disabilities at your campus.

THE STUDENT WITH A DISABILITY

The STUDENT WITH A DISABILITY is the best source of information regarding his or her academic needs. Generally, students who require accommodations in postsecondary education are responsible for DISCLOSING their disabilities, REGISTERING with the disabled student services office following the procedures at their campus, and REQUESTING ACCOMMODATIONS with each instructor. The need for accommodations depends on the students' abilities and the course requirements. Ultimately, a student with a disability requires alternative arrangements only when faced with a task that requires skill that his disability precludes.

GENERAL SUGGESTIONS

If a student informs you that she has a disability and would like to arrange for academic accommodations, you may ask which course or program requirements are expected to be problematic and which strategies and campus resources might help to overcome barriers.

Many accommodations are simple, creative alternatives to traditional ways of doing things. Sometimes, an effective solution can be found by thinking creatively about how the learning environment can be modified.

Here are some general suggestions for modifying the learning environment to make your class more accessible:

* Add a statement to your syllabus inviting students who have disabilities to discuss their needs and accommodation strategies with you. An example of such a statement is, "If you have a documented disability and wish to discuss academic accommodations, please contact me as soon as possible."

* Select course materials early so that they can be procured in appropriate formats in a timely manner.

* Ask students about successful accommodations they have used in the past.

* Use materials that are available in an electronic format.

* Find alternative methods of administering tests and testing comprehension of a subject.

* Use the disabled student services available on your campus as a primary resource.

Faculty, administrators, students with disabilities, and other key personnel can also WORK TOGETHER to develop campus and departmental plans for improving the instructional climate and access for students with disabilities. If we continue to take time to think about how to make our programs and courses accessible to all students we'll be better prepared to overcome current and future academic challenges.

SUMMARY

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. You the faculty, the student with a disability who requests support, and the disabled student services staff must work together as a team to coordinate reasonable accommodations. General accommodations presented in this lesson are simple, creative alternatives to traditional ways of doing things.

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QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION

SEND an email message to the group, with at least one response to the question:

In your own course, how might you encourage students with disabilities to talk with you about their accommodations?

Your email SUBJECT line should read: Accommodations 2: RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES.

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FURTHER INFORMATION

You can read answers to frequently asked questions, explore case studies, or access additional resources at: http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/Rights

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(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-DOIT (3648), or doit@u.washington.edu.

Lesson 03: Universal Design of Instruction

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Distance Learning Course
SUBJECT: Accommodations 3: UNIVERSAL DESIGN

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PURPOSE

The purpose of this lesson is to increase your awareness of principles of UNIVERSAL DESIGN and their application in education.

By reflecting on YOUR own course while reading the CONTENT, you will be guided to consider possible modifications to your course. By sharing and discussing course modifications with other participants, you will develop an awareness of additional strategies and applications of the principles of UNIVERSAL DESIGN in education.

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Question to REFLECT upon while reading the CONTENT

In what ways might your selected course apply the UNIVERSAL DESIGN principles? ========== CONTENT Students in academic classes come from a wide variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds. For some, English is not their first language. In most classes, there are students with many types of learning styles, including those who are primarily visual or auditory learners. In addition, increasing numbers of students with disabilities are pursuing postsecondary education. All of these students want to learn and their instructors share this goal. How can instructors design instruction to maximize the learning of all students?

The field of UNIVERSAL DESIGN can provide a starting point for developing an appropriate model for instruction. This body of knowledge can then be applied to instructional design in order to help instructors create courses where lectures, discussions, visual aids, videotapes, printed materials, Web resources, and field work are accessible to all students.

WHAT is UNIVERSAL DESIGN?
Designing any product or service involves the consideration of many factors including aesthetics, engineering options, environmental issues, safety concerns, and cost. Often the design is created for the "average" user. In contrast UNIVERSAL DESIGN is "the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design."

Universal Design can be considered an APPROACH to designing the environment and products that takes into consideration the changes experienced by everyone during their lifetime. Rather than focus on adapting things for an individual at a later time, an ACCESSIBLE ENVIRONMENT is created from the beginning. When designers apply universal design principles, their products and services meet the needs of potential users with a wide variety of characteristics.

DISABILITY is just one of many characteristics that an individual might possess. For example, one person could be five feet four inches tall, female, forty years old, a poor reader, and deaf. All of these characteristics, including her deafness, should be considered when developing a product or service she might use.

Making a product or service accessible to people with disabilities often Benefits others. For example, sidewalk curb cuts, designed to make sidewalks and streets accessible to those using wheelchairs, are today more often used by kids on skateboards, parents with baby strollers, and delivery staff with rolling carts. (If television displays in airports and restaurants were captioned, they would benefit people who cannot hear the audio because of a noisy environment as well as those who are deaf.)

PRINCIPLES of Universal Design
At the Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University a group of architects, product designers, engineers, and environmental design researchers established the following set of PRINCIPLES of UNIVERSAL DESIGN (see http://www.ncsu.edu/ncsu/design/cud/about_ud/udprinciples.htm) to provide guidance in the design of environments, communications, and products. They can also be applied to academic programs and instruction.

1. EQUITABLE USE. The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities. For example, a Web site that is designed so that it is accessible to everyone, including people who are blind, employs this principle.

2. FLEXIBILITY IN USE. The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities. An example is a museum that allows a visitor to choose to read or listen to the description of the contents of a display case.

3. SIMPLE AND INTUITIVE USE. Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level. Science lab equipment with control buttons that are clear and intuitive is a good example of an application of this principle.

4. PERCEPTIBLE INFORMATION. The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities. An example of this principle not being employed is when television programming is projected in noisy public areas like academic conference exhibits without captioning.

5. TOLERANCE FOR ERROR. The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions. An example of a product applying this principle is an educational software program that provides guidance when the user makes an inappropriate selection.

6. LOW PHYSICAL EFFORT. The design can be used efficiently and comfortably, and with a minimum of fatigue. For example, doors that are easy to open by people with a wide variety of physical characteristics demonstrate the application of this principle.

7. SIZE AND SPACE FOR APPROACH AND USE. Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of the user's body size, posture, or mobility. A science lab work area designed for use by students with a wide variety of physical characteristics and abilities is an example of employing this principle.

UNIVERSAL DESIGN applied to EDUCATION
Universal design principles can be applied to many products and services. The following paragraph is a DEFINITION of universal design in education.

"In terms of learning, universal design means the design of instructional materials and activities that makes the learning goals achievable by individuals with wide differences in their abilities to see, hear, speak, move, read, write, understand English, attend, organize, engage, and remember. Universal design for learning is achieved by means of flexible curricular materials and activities that provide alternatives for students with differing abilities. These alternatives are built into the instructional design and operating systems of educational materials; they are not added on after-the-fact" (Research Connections, No. 5, Fall 1999, p. 2, Council for Exceptional Children).

When designing classroom instruction or a distance learning class, strive to create a LEARNING ENVIRONMENT that allows all students, including a person who happens to have a characteristic that is termed "disability," to access the content of the course and fully participate in class activities. UNIVERSAL DESIGN PRINCIPLES can apply to lectures, classroom discussions, group work, handouts, Web-based instruction, fieldwork, and other academic activities.

Below are examples of INSTRUCTIONAL METHODS that employ principles of universal design. Applying these strategies can make your course content accessible to people with a wide range of abilities and disabilities, ethnic backgrounds, language skills, and learning styles.

1. INCLUSIVENESS. Create a classroom environment that respects and values diversity. Put a statement on your syllabus inviting students to meet with you to discuss disability-related accommodations and other special learning needs. Avoid segregating or stigmatizing any student. Respect the privacy of all students.

2. PHYSICAL ACCESS. Assure that classrooms, labs, and fieldwork are accessible to individuals with a wide range of physical abilities and disabilities. Make sure equipment and activities minimize sustained physical effort, provide options for operation, and accommodate right- and left-handed students and those with limited physical abilities. Assure the safety of all students.

3. DELIVERY METHODS. Use multiple modes to deliver content. Alternate delivery methods, including lecture, discussion, hands-on activities, Internet-based interaction, and fieldwork. Make sure each is accessible to students with a wide range of abilities, disabilities, interests, and previous experiences. Face the class and speak clearly. Provide printed materials that summarize content delivered orally. Provide printed materials early to allow the student to prepare ahead of time.

4. WEB PAGES. Provide printed materials in electronic format. Create printed and Web-based materials in simple, intuitive, and consistent formats. Provide text descriptions of graphics presented on Web pages. Arrange content in order of importance.

5. INTERACTION. Encourage different ways for students to interact with each other and with you. These methods may include in-class questions and discussion, group work, and Internet-based communications.

6. FEEDBACK. Provide effective prompting during an activity and feedback after the assignment is complete.

7. DEMONSTRATION OF KNOWLEDGE. Provide multiple ways for students to demonstrate knowledge. For example, besides traditional tests and papers, consider group work, demonstrations, portfolios, and presentations as options for demonstrating knowledge.

Employing universal design principles in instruction does NOT ELIMINATE the need for specific accommodations for students with disabilities. There will always be the need for some specific accommodations, such as sign language interpreters for students who are deaf. However, applying universal design concepts in course planning will assure full access to the content for most students and MINIMIZE the need for specific accommodations. For example, designing Web resources in accessible formats as they are developed means that no re-development is necessary if a blind student enrolls in the class; planning ahead can be less time-consuming in the long run. Letting all students have access to your class notes and assignments on an accessible Website can eliminate the need for providing materials in alternative formats.

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EXAMPLE

Employing universal design principles to fully include one group of students can generate unanticipated benefits to others. Consider this list of students who might benefit from CAPTIONING on your course videotapes.

* Students for whom English is a second language. Often their reading skills are better than their spoken English skills.

* Students who are deaf. By reading what they cannot hear, captioning provides access to deaf students.

* Students with visual impairments. Captioning is generally not useful for students with visual impairments, but there is one exception. Students who are deaf and have low vision (i.e., they can see large print) can benefit from captioning if the captions are large enough for them to see.

* Students watching the videotape in a noisy environment. By reading what they cannot hear, students watching the tape in a noisy environment will benefit from captioning.

* Students who have learning disabilities. Some may comprehend material better when they both see text and hear it spoken aloud.

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SUMMARY

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 and can minimize the need to alter it later for individuals with special needs.

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QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

Send an email message to the group, including:

1. A very BRIEF DESCRIPTION of your selected course;

2. A SUMMARY of your REFLECTIONS on how YOUR course does (and/or might be changed to) incorporate the principles and instructional strategies presented in the CONTENT above.

Your email SUBJECT line should read: Accommodations 3: UNIVERSAL DESIGN.

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FURTHER INFORMATION

You can read answers to frequently asked questions, explore case studies, or access additional resources at http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/Strategies/Universal/

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(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.

Lesson 04: Hearing

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Distance Learning Course
SUBJECT: Accommodations 4: HEARING

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PURPOSE

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

By reflecting on YOUR own course while reading the CONTENT, you will be guided to consider possible modifications to your course SPECIFICALLY related to HEARING impairments. By considering and discussing the ACCESS ISSUES in a case study reading, you will develop an awareness of additional strategies and accommodations.

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Questions to REFLECT upon while reading the CONTENT

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

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CONTENT

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

The term "hearing impairment" refers to functional hearing loss that ranges from mild to profound. Often, people who have no functional hearing refer to themselves as "DEAF." Those with milder hearing loss refer to themselves as "HARD OF HEARING." Accommodations for students with hearing impairments can be classified as VISUAL and AURAL. Visual accommodations rely on a person's sight; aural accommodations rely on a person's hearing abilities. Examples of visual accommodations include sign language interpreters, lip reading, and captioning. Examples of aural accommodations include amplification devices such as FM systems.

HARD OF HEARING STUDENTS
Some students who are hard of hearing may hear only specific frequencies or sounds within a certain volume range. They may rely heavily upon hearing aids and lip reading. Some students who are hard of hearing may never learn, or only occasionally use, sign language. A student who is hard of hearing may have a speech impairment due to the inability to hear his own voice clearly.

Hearing impairments can affect students in several ways. They may have difficulty FOLLOWING LECTURES in large halls, particularly if the acoustics cause echoes or if the speaker talks quietly, rapidly, or unclearly. People who have hearing impairments may find it difficult to SIMULTANEOUSLY WATCH demonstrations and FOLLOW VERBAL DESCRIPTIONS, particularly if they are watching a sign language interpreter, a captioning screen, or a speaker's lips. IN-CLASS DISCUSSIONS may also be difficult to follow or participate in, particularly if the discussion is fast-paced and unmoderated, since there is often lag time between a speaker's comments and interpretation.

Students who are hard of hearing may use hearing aids. Students who use hearing aids will likely benefit from amplification in other forms such as assistive listening devices (ALD's) like hearing aid compatible telephones, personal neck loops, and audio induction loop assistive listening systems. Some students use an FM amplification system that requires the instructor to wear a small microphone to transmit amplified sound to the student; this accommodation may also be used in small group discussions with the microphone handed from speaker to speaker.

DEAFNESS
A student who is deaf may have little or no speech depending on the severity of the hearing loss and the age of onset. She will often communicate through a sign language interpreter. American Sign Language (ASL) is widely used and has its own grammar and word order. Other students may use manual English (or signed English), which is sign language in English word order. A CERTIFIED INTERPRETER is used for translation into either language. A student who is deaf may also benefit from real-time CAPTIONING, where spoken text is typed and projected onto a screen. It is important to remember that a student who is using an interpreter, who is lip reading, or who is reading real-time captioning CANNOT SIMULTANEOUSLY look down at written materials or take notes. DESCRIBING written or projected text is therefore helpful to this student. HANDOUTS that can be read before or after class are useful but can create challenges when referred to during the class session.

ACCOMMODATIONS for HARD OF HEARING and DEAF STUDENTS
Examples of accommodations for students who have hearing impairments include:
* 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.

Hearing impairments do not interfere with the physical aspects of writing. However, students who use American Sign Language may have POOR GRAMMAR because of differences between English and American Sign Language; English is considered a second language for many individuals who are deaf and use sign language. Typical accommodations that can be used to facilitate maximum participation in WRITING ASSIGNMENTS include:
* Examples of writing expectations (e.g., sample of a completed assignment of acceptable quality, including content and grammar/syntax)
* Grade writing and content separately.

There are also several ways you can direct YOUR SPEAKING STYLE and adjust the PACE of the classroom to make information more accessible to a student with a hearing impairment:
* When speaking, make sure the student can see your face and avoid unnecessary pacing and moving.
* When speaking, AVOID obscuring your lips or face with hands, books, etc.
* REPEAT discussion questions and statements made by other students.
* WRITE discussion questions/answers on the board or overhead projector.
* Speak clearly and at a normal rate.
* Use VISUAL AIDS with few words and large images and fonts.
* Provide written lecture outlines, class assignments, lab instructions, and demonstration summaries and distribute them BEFORE class when possible.

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SUMMARY

HEARING IMPAIRMENTS make it difficult or impossible to hear lecturers, access multi-media materials, and participate in discussions. It is important to remember that 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. Writing assignments may also be a challenge.

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.

Remember also that there are several 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.

Flexibility and effective communication between YOU, the STUDENT, and the DISABLED STUDENT SERVICES OFFICE are key in approaching accommodations. With this basic knowledge you will be better prepared to ask students with HEARING IMPAIRMENTS to clarify their needs and to discuss accommodation requests.

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QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION

After reading the following case study, SEND an email message to the group, suggesting strategies and accommodations to the ACCESS ISSUE questions.

Your email SUBJECT line should read: Accommodations 4: HEARING.

BACKGROUND
My name is Michael and I am a graduate student in Rehabilitation Counseling at San Diego State University. I have a severe-profound, bilateral hearing loss and use hearing aids and speech reading (watching the movement of a person's lips) to maximize my communication abilities. I have some knowledge of American Sign Language but not enough to effectively use a sign language interpreter as an accommodation.

ACCESS ISSUES
Graduate level courses emphasize student participation and the development of critical thinking skills. In addition to using a note taker and real-time captioning, in what ways can instructors create a fully inclusive classroom environment that meets and maximizes my communication needs?

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FURTHER INFORMATION

You can read answers to frequently asked questions, explore case studies or access additional resources at: http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/Strategies/Disability/Hearing

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(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.

Lesson 05: Vision

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Distance Learning Course
SUBJECT: Accommodations 5: VISUAL

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PURPOSE

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

By reflecting on YOUR own course while reading the CONTENT, you will be guided to consider possible modifications to your course SPECIFICALLY related to VISUAL impairments. By sharing and discussing course modifications with other participants, you will develop an awareness of additional strategies and applications of the issues related to accommodations for students with VISUAL impairments

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Questions to REFLECT upon while reading the CONTENT

What challenges might students with VISUAL impairments face in your course(s)? What accommodations might they require?

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CONTENT

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

VISUAL impairments can be classified into two types: LOW VISION and BLINDNESS. LOW VISION refers to students who have some usable vision, but cannot read standard-size text, have field deficits (for example, cannot see peripherally or centrally but can see well in other ranges), or other visual impairments. BLINDNESS refers to the disability of students who cannot read printed text, even when enlarged.

LOW VISION
What are some examples of ways low vision may affect the ability to learn? For some students with low vision, or partial sight, standard written materials are too small read and small objects are difficult to see. Other students may see objects only within a specific field of vision, or see an image with sections missing or blacked out. Text or objects may appear blurry.

Learning via a VISUAL MEDIUM may TAKE LONGER and may be MORE FATIGUING for people who have low vision. Some people with low vision may be able to read enlarged print for a long time period, while others may only be able to tolerate reading for a short time and require readers or audiotaped material.

Visual abilities may also VARY in DIFFERENT SITUATIONS. For example, reduced light or strong glares may affect visual abilities during different times of day or in different classrooms.

Students with low vision may have problems locating large-print materials, getting around in an unfamiliar setting, finding transportation, hiring readers for library work, researching reports and short articles, as well as getting recorded textbooks on time.

GENERAL CLASSROOM ACCOMMODATIONS for students with LOW VISION include:
* Large print reading materials (e.g., books, handouts, signs, and equipment labels). Large print is defined as 16 to 18 point bold type, depending on the typeface used.
* Front row or preferential classroom seating in well-lit areas with full view of the instructor and visual aids.
* Class assignments in audiotaped or electronic formats.
* Computers with screen enlargers, optical character readers (which convert print to speech output), or speech output.
* The use of a reader or scribe for exams or class assignments.
* The use of cassette recorders and laptop computers for note taking.
* Extended time for exams and assignments if requested.
* A TV monitor connected to microscopes to enlarge images.

Examples of ACCOMMODATIONS for LABORATORY or strong VISUAL INSTRUCTIONAL CONTENT for students with LOW VISION include:
* Large print instructions.
* Large print reading materials that include laboratory signs and equipment labels.
* Enlarge images by connecting TV monitors to microscopes.
* Raised-line drawings or tactile models for illustrations or maps.
* Verbal description of visual aides and graphics.

BLINDNESS
What are some examples of ways in which blindness may affect the ability to learn?

Students who have no sight may have difficulty referring to WRITTEN MATERIALS. Students who have had NO VISION SINCE BIRTH may have DIFFICULTY understanding VERBAL DESCRIPTIONS of visual materials and abstract concepts.

Consider this example: "This diagram of ancestral lineage looks like a tree." If one has NEVER SEEN a tree, it may not be readily apparent that the structure of note has several lines of ancestry that can be traced back to one central family. HOWEVER, students who lost their vision later in life may find it easier to understand such verbal descriptions.

Additionally, DEMONSTRATIONS based on COLOR DIFFERENCES may be MORE DIFFICULT for students with blindness to participate in and understand THAN demonstrations that emphasize changes in SHAPE, TEMPERATURE, or TEXTURE. In some cases, the assistance of a sighted person is required in order for the student who is blind to gain access to the content of your course.

Ready access to PRINTED MATERIALS in ELECTRONIC FORMAT can allow a blind student, who has the APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY, to use computers to read text aloud and/or produce it in Braille.

Some materials may need to be TRANSFERRED to AUDIOTAPE. Since it may take weeks or even months to procure course materials in Braille or on audiotape, it is essential that INSTRUCTORS SELECT and PREPARE their materials well BEFORE the materials are needed. The campus disabled student services office typically coordinates BRAILLE and AUDIOTAPE production.

During LECTURE and DEMONSTRATION, clear concise NARRATION of the basic points being represented in visual aids is helpful. This technique benefits other students as well.

Other examples of accommodations for blind students include TACTILE MODELS and RAISED-LINE DRAWINGS of graphic materials. Staff in the disabled student services office can help create these materials.

ADAPTIVE LAB EQUIPMENT such as talking thermometers, calculators, light probes, and tactile timers can maximize access to labs for students who are blind. In addition, COMPUTERS with optical character readers (OCR), speech output, Braille screen displays, and Braille printers allow students who are blind to participate in computer exercises and on-line research.

In addition, WEB PAGES used in your course should be designed so that they are accessible to those using Braille and speech output systems; graphics cannot be interpreted unless text alternatives are provided. For example, a speech synthesizer will simply say "image map" at the place where an image map would be displayed. Tables displayed as images are also problematic. The disabled student services office and/or computing services staff on your campus can be consulted when addressing COMPUTER ACCESS ISSUES.

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SUMMARY

VISUAL impairments can be classified as LOW VISION (having some usable vision, having field deficits, or having other visual impairments) and BLINDNESS (being unable to read printed text, even when enlarged).

Typical accommodations for LOW VISION include preferential seating, audiotaped class sessions and assignments available in electronic format, verbal descriptions of visual aids, large print handouts and signage, and adaptive computer software to enlarge screen characters and images.

Typical accommodations for BLINDNESS include: audiotaped, Brailled or electronic-formatted lecture notes, handouts, signs, and texts, verbal descriptions of visual aids, raised-line drawings and tactile models of graphic materials, adaptive lab equipment, and adaptive computer software with OCR, speech output, Braille screen display and printer output.

The STUDENT is your best resource for determining what accommodations are appropriate. Flexibility and effective communication between YOU, the STUDENT, and the DISABLED STUDENT SERVICES STAFF are key in approaching accommodations.

The disabled student services office on your campus can be consulted to coordinate production of materials using BRAILLE, AUDIOTAPE, TACTILE MODELS, and RAISED-LINE DRAWINGS of graphic materials. In addressing COMPUTER ACCESS ISSUES, disabled student services office can also help coordinate with computing services staff.

Become aware of and take advantage of the resources on your campus.

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QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION

While reading the CONTENT, you considered ways in which YOUR COURSE does and does not accommodate a student with a VISUAL impairment.

Send an email message to the group, answering the following question: How could a student who is blind ACCESS A MAP of the United States used in your class?

Your email SUBJECT line should read: Accommodations 5: VISUAL.

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FURTHER INFORMATION

You can read answers to frequently asked questions, explore case studies, or access additional resources related to low vision at: http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/Strategies/Disability/Vision

And to blindness at: http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/Strategies/Disability/Blindness

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(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

Lesson 06: Mobility

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

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PURPOSE

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

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.

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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?

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CONTENT

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 transportation.

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.

TYPICAL ACCOMMODATIONS
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 arrangements
* 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 conversation.

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SUMMARY

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 reasonable.

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QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION

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.

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FURTHER INFORMATION

You can read answers to frequently asked questions, explore case studies, or access additional resources at: http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/Strategies/Disability/Mobility

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(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.

Lesson 07: Health

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Distance Learning Course
SUBJECT: Accommodations 7: HEALTH

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PURPOSE

The purpose of this lesson is to increase your awareness of the issues and strategies related specifically to accommodating students with HEALTH IMPAIRMENTS.

By reflecting on YOUR course while reading the CONTENT, you will be guided to consider possible modifications to your course SPECIFICALLY related to HEALTH impairments. By considering and discussing the ACCESS ISSUES in a case study reading, you will develop an awareness of additional strategies and accommodations.

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Questions to REFLECT upon while reading the CONTENT

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

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CONTENT

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

There are a range of medical diagnoses and subsequent health problems that can have a TEMPORARY or CHRONIC IMPACT on a student's academic performance. Common diagnoses include arthritis, cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Asthma, AIDS, and heart disease. Unless the condition is neurological in nature, health impairments are not likely to directly affect learning. However, the secondary effects of illness and the side effects of medications can have a SIGNIFICANT IMPACT on MEMORY, ATTENTION, STRENGTH, ENDURANCE, and ENERGY LEVELS.

Health impairments can result in a range of academic challenges for a student. Problems may include MISSING CLASS for unpredictable and prolonged time periods and difficulties attending classes full-time or on a daily basis. Health problems may also interfere with the PHYSICAL SKILLS needed to be successful in laboratory, computer, or writing classes. Individuals with ARTHRITIS, for example, may have DIFFICULTY WRITING due to pain or joint deformities, thus making it difficult to meet the writing requirements for some classes. Students with Multiple Sclerosis may not be able to MANIPULATE small LABORATORY EQUIPMENT or complete tasks that require precise measuring, graphing, or drawing. Prolonged sitting may pose challenges for an individual with chronic pain or back problems. Illness or injury may result in LIMITATIONS in MOBILITY which require the need for a wheelchair or scooter to get across campus. Some students must AVOID specific ACTIVITIES that trigger their condition. For example, a student with asthma may need to avoid specific inhalants in a lab.

ACCOMMODATIONS
|INSTRUCTOR FLEXIBILITY plays a key role in supporting the success of students with health impairments as many HEALTH CONDITIONS by nature are UNPREDICTABLE. The provision of COURSE OUTLINES with clear and well organized information regarding readings, materials, assignments, and exams can help the student plan, organize, and prioritize his semester requirements. Posting course information on the Web is another way for a student to acquire important information without the need to be physically present in class. PRIOR KNOWLEDGE of deadlines and exams may help the student plan doctor appointments and/or medical procedures around important class dates.

COMPUTER-BASED INSTRUCTION, DISTANCE LEARNING, and other options that minimize travel and classroom-based instruction provide FEASIBLE ALTERNATIVES for students with illnesses that make regular CLASS ATTENDANCE DIFFICULT.

Examples of TYPICAL ACCOMMODATIONS for students who have HEALTH impairments include:
* Note takers and note taking services
* Audiotaped or videotaped 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 with adjustable keyboard trays, monitor risers, glare guards, foot rests, adjustable chairs, and/or anti-fatigue matting
* Speech recognition computer input devices, ergonomic keyboards, one-handed keyboards, expanded keyboards, or miniature keyboards

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SUMMARY

HEALTH impairments affect daily living and can have a TEMPORARY or CHRONIC IMPACT on a student's academic performance to the ACCESS ISSUES question.

Be aware that when health conditions result in PERMANENT or TEMPORARY MOBILITY problems, accommodations for students with MOBILITY impairments may be appropriate (refer to the email messages titled "Academic Accommodations 6: MOBILITY").

Your FLEXIBILITY, the STUDENT'S efforts to plan, organize, and prioritize his course workload, and the assistance of the DISABLED STUDENT SERVICES OFFICE in determining reasonable accommodations will all play important roles in supporting the academic success of the STUDENT with HEALTH impairments.

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QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

After reading the following case study, SEND an email message to the group, suggesting accommodations.

Your email SUBJECT line should read: Accommodations 7: HEALTH.

BACKGROUND
My name is Karen. I'm a third-year math education student with Rheumatoid Arthritis. On a good day I can attend my classes, take notes, and participate without difficulty. When my arthritis is problematic, I have a hard time gripping a pencil to write. I also fatigue very quickly and cannot work on homework for prolonged periods of time.

ACCESS ISSUES
My arthritis interferes with my ability to type quickly and efficiently as well as to take handwritten class notes. My doctor has recently restricted me from typing and writing for extended periods of time. I also have difficulty carrying out extended math notations and writing my lesson plans for my education class. I also must frequently miss class due to my health issues. What accommodations can be made to help me with these difficulties?

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FURTHER INFORMATION

You can read answers to frequently asked questions, explore case studies, or access additional resources at: http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/Strategies/Disability/Health

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(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

Lesson 08: Learning Disabilities

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Distance Learning Course
Subject: Accommodations 8: LEARNING DISABILITIES

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PURPOSE

The purpose of this lesson is to increase your awareness of the issues and strategies related specifically to accommodating students with LEARNING DISABILITIES.

By reflecting on YOUR own course while reading the CONTENT, you will be guided to consider possible modifications to your course SPECIFICALLY related to LEARNING DISABILITIES. By sharing and discussing course modifications with other participants, you will develop an awareness of additional strategies and applications of the issues related to accommodations for students with LEARNING DISABILITIES.

Questions to REFLECT upon while reading the CONTENT What challenges might students with LEARNING DISABILITIES face in your selected course? And what accommodations might they require?

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CONTENT

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

Students with specific learning disabilities generally have average to above average intelligence but may have DIFFICULTIES ACQUIRING and DEMONSTRATING knowledge and understanding. This results in a lack of achievement for age and ability level, and a severe DISCREPANCY between their achievement and intellectual abilities.

According to the National Joint Committee for Learning Disabilities, LEARNING DISABILITIES are a heterogeneous group of disorders manifested by significant difficulties in the ACQUISITION and USE of listening, speaking, writing, reasoning, or mathematical abilities. The specific causes of learning disabilities are not clearly understood; however, these disorders are presumably related to central nervous system dysfunction. The EFFECTS of a learning disability are manifested differently for each individual and can range from mild to severe. LEARNING disabilities may also be present with other disabilities such as MOBILITY or SENSORY impairments and Attention Deficit Disorder.

Specific TYPES of LEARNING DISABILITIES include:

DYSGRAPHIA
An individual with DYSGRAPHIA has a difficult time with the PHYSICAL TASK of forming letters and words using a pen and paper and has difficulty producing legible handwriting.

DYSCALCULA
A person with DYSCALCULA has difficulty understanding and using MATH CONCEPTS and SYMBOLS.

DYSLEXIA
An individual with DYSLEXIA may MIX UP LETTERS within words and sentences while reading. He may have difficulty spelling words correctly while writing. Letter reversals are common. Some individuals with dyslexia have a difficult time with navigating and route-finding tasks as they are easily confused by directions and spatial information such as left and right.

DYSPRAXIA
A person with DYSPRAXIA may mix up words and sentences while talking. There is often a DISCREPANCY between language COMPREHENSION and language PRODUCTION.

NON-VERBAL LEARNING DISORDER
Poor motor COORDINATION, visual-spatial ORGANIZATION, and/or a lack of SOCIAL SKILLS may characterize non-verbal learning disorders.

For a student with a learning disability, AUDITORY, VISUAL, or TACTILE INFORMATION can become JUMBLED at any point during transmission, receipt, processing, and/or re-transmission. For example, it may TAKE LONGER for some students who have learning disabilities to PROCESS written information. Lengthy reading or writing assignments and tests may therefore, be difficult to complete in a standard amount of time. This may be due to difficulty discriminating numerals or letters because they appear jumbled or reversed. Inconsistencies between knowledge and test scores are also common.

Some students who have learning disabilities may be ABLE to organize and communicate their thoughts in a ONE-TO-ONE conversation but find it DIFFICULT to articulate the same ideas in a NOISY CLASSROOM. Other students may experience difficulties with SPECIFIC PROCESSES or subject areas such as calculating mathematics problems, reading, or understanding language. People with learning disabilities may have difficulty spelling and subsequently have difficulty creating or editing text or otherwise communicating in writing. Difficulties with ATTENTION, ORGANIZATION, TIME MANAGEMENT, and PRIORITIZING TASKS are also common.

Examples of TYPICAL ACCOMMODATIONS for students who have learning disabilities include:
* Note takers, use of computers in class for note taking
* Audiotaped or videotaped class sessions
* Extended exam time and a quiet testing location
* Visual, aural, and tactile demonstrations incorporated into instruction
* Concise course and lecture outlines
* Books on tape
* Alternative evaluation methods (e.g., portfolio, oral or video presentations)
* Use of electronic discussions via email or the Web
* Providing projects or detailed instructions on audiotapes or print copies
* Reinforcing directions verbally
* Breaking large amounts of information or instructions into smaller segments.

COMPUTERS can be adapted to assist students with learning disabilities. A student with learning disabilities might find these accommodations useful:
* Computers equipped with speech output, which highlights and reads (via screen reading software and a speech synthesizer) text on the computer screen.
* Word processing software that includes electronic spelling and grammar checkers, software with highlighting capabilities, and word prediction software.
* Software to enlarge screen images.

For MATH and SCIENCE classes, examples of SPECIFIC ACCOMMODATIONS that are useful for students with learning disabilities include:
* The use of scratch paper to work out math problems during exams * Talking calculators * Fractional, decimal, and statistical scientific calculators * Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) software for math * Computer Assisted Design (CAD) software for engineering * Large display screens for calculators and adding machines.

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SUMMARY

LEARNING DISABILITIES are documented disabilities that may affect reading, processing information, remembering, calculating, and spatial abilities. Some 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

When considering accommodations, remember that students with learning disabilities generally 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.

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QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION

While reading the CONTENT, you considered ways in which YOUR SELECTED COURSE might accommodate a student with a LEARNING DISABILITY.

Send an email message to the group, stating 2 or 3 accommodations you might make in your selected course for a student with DYSLEXIA in relation to your ASSIGNMENTS.

Your email SUBJECT line should read: Accommodations 8: LEARNING DISABILITIES.

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FURTHER INFORMATION

You can read answers to frequently asked questions, explore case studies, or access additional resources at: http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/Strategies/Disability/LD

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(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

Lesson 09: Psychiatric Disabilities

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Distance Learning Course
SUBJECT: Accommodations 9: PSYCHIATRIC DISABILITIES

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PURPOSE

The purpose of this lesson is to increase your awareness of the issues and strategies related specifically to ACCOMMODATING students with PSYCHIATRIC DISABILITIES/MENTAL HEALTH IMPAIRMENTS.

By reflecting on YOUR own course while reading the CONTENT, you will be guided to consider possible modifications to your course SPECIFICALLY related to PSYCHIATRIC DISABILITIES. By considering and discussing the ACCESS ISSUES in a case study reading, you will develop an awareness of additional strategies and accommodations.

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Questions to REFLECT on while reading the CONTENT

What challenges might students with PSYCHIATRIC/MENTAL HEALTH impairments face in your selected course? What accommodations might they require?

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CONTENT

We are now concentrating on accommodations for students with specific disabilities or impairments. This lesson presents issues and suggestions for accommodating students with PSYCHIATRIC/MENTAL HEALTH impairments.

PSYCHIATRIC or MENTAL HEALTH impairments vary widely; they range from mild depression to chronic disorders such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Negative stereotypes and the fact that these disabilities are typically "invisible" further complicate the provision of appropriate accommodations for students with these disorders.

Students with mental health or psychiatric impairments can be affected in several ways. They may be more SUSCEPTIBLE to the common STRESSORS of college life involving academic demands as well as interpersonal relationships and living alone or away from home for the first time. Students may have particular problems RECEIVING, PROCESSING, and RECALLING information during times of stress.

Side effects from MEDICATION may also impact ATTENTION, MEMORY, ALERTNESS, and ACTIVITY LEVEL. The episodic and unpredictable onset and recurrence of illness can also interrupt the educational process.

Individuals with psychiatric impairments may be treated with a COMBINATION of MEDICATION, COUNSELING, and BEHAVIORAL THERAPY. Often, there are a variety of MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT SERVICES available on campus. A student with a psychiatric impairment may need to build time into his schedule for therapy and/or supportive services.

TYPICAL ACCOMMODATIONS for students who have mental health impairments include:
* Note takers, use of computer for note taking
* Audiotaped class sessions
* Early notification of projects, exams, and assignments to reduce stress
* Flexible attendance requirements
* Use of electronic discussions
* An encouraging, validating, academic environment
* Alternative testing arrangements in a quiet room or via the Web
* Extended test-taking time
* Assignments available in electronic format
* Web page or electronic mail distribution of course materials and lecture notes.

Additional SPECIFIC ACCOMMODATIONS in SCIENCE LABS include:
* Allow for extended set-up, process, and practice time
* Use a combination of written, oral, and pictorial instructions
* Demonstrate and role model procedures
* Allow for frequent short breaks
* Provide preferential seating - particularly near the door
* Decrease extraneous distracting stimuli in the classroom and lab
* Allow student to bring a water bottle to lab.

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SUMMARY

The broad range of PSYCHIATRIC or MENTAL HEALTH impairments and the "invisible" nature of the disabilities complicate making accommodations for students with the 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.

Always remember that disability-related information is confidential. The STUDENT is your best resource for determining what accommodations are appropriate. Flexibility and effective communication between YOU, the STUDENT, and the DISABLED STUDENT SERVICES OFFICE are key in approaching accommodations.

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SUGGESTION FOR DISCUSSION

While reading the CONTENT, you considered ways in which YOUR SELECTED COURSE might accommodate a student with PSYCHIATRIC DISABILITIES.

Send an email message to the group, suggesting accommodation strategies you might use in relation to the student described in the paragraph below.

Your email SUBJECT line should read: Accommodations 9: PSYCHIATRIC DISABILITIES.

"I don't know if one of my student has a mental illness, but he exhibits extreme anxiety and may "freeze up" during tests, cry or faint while giving presentations, and occasionally react to a situation with an angry outburst. How can I be most supportive without lowering academic expectations?"

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FURTHER INFORMATION

You can read answers to frequently asked questions, explore case studies, or access additional resources at: http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/Strategies/Disability/Psych

==========
(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

Lesson 10: Adaptive Technology

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Distance Learning Course
SUBJECT: Accommodations 10: ADAPTIVE TECHNOLOGY

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PURPOSE

The purpose of this lesson is to increase your awareness of the use of ADAPTIVE TECHNOLOGY in accommodations for students with disabilities.

By reflecting on YOUR own course while reading the CONTENT, you will be guided to consider possible modifications to your course SPECIFICALLY related to the accommodations for using computer labs and web pages.By considering design features to include when setting up a new lab that will be accessible to all students, you will become more aware of the possibilities of adaptive resources.

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Question to REFLECT upon while reading the CONTENT

What challenges might students with disabilities face when using computer labs on your campus? What accommodations might they require?

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CONTENT

In the past eight lessons we have concentrated on accommodations for students with specific disabilities or impairments. This lesson presents issues and suggestions of accommodations related to the use of COMPUTER LABS, COMPUTERS AND ADAPTIVE TECHNOLOGY, and WEB PAGES.

COMPUTER LABS
As increasing numbers of people with disabilities pursue educational opportunities that require computer use, the accessibility of COMPUTING FACILITIES becomes even more critical. To put it simply, computer labs need to be accessible to all users. Students with disabilities need equal access to:
* Building/facilities
* Lab staff
* Physical space and printed materials
* Computers and software
* Electronic resources

Are your students able to:
* get to the facility and maneuver within it?
* access materials and electronic resources?
* make use of the equipment and software?

Although YOU as a faculty member are not necessarily responsible for these facilities, your awareness of what facilities exist and their accessibility at your institution will enable you to consider appropriate accommodations for your students.

The following are BASIC RECOMMENDATIONS toward implementing universal design and increasing accessibility for all users in the computer lab. Are these recommendations implemented in the computer lab(s) on your campus?

* Place printed resources so that a wheelchair user can reach them.
* Provide at least one adjustable workstation.
* Provide key guards and wrist rests.
* Have a trackball, joystick, or other mouse alternative available.
* Have lab signs with high contrast and large print.
* Have key documents available in large print or Braille formats for those with visual impairments.
* Have screen reading software and a speech output system available.
* Have Braille conversion software and a Braille printer to provide output for patrons who are blind.
* Have large-print keytop labels, screen enlargement software, and a large monitor at least 17 inches available.
* Make a statement in key documents about your commitment to access and procedures for requesting disability accommodations.
* Have staff who are familiar with the adaptive technology and trained in disability issues.

NOTE: For more detailed recommendations, go to the COMPUTER LABS web page listed in the "WEB ADDRESSES for additional READINGS" at the end of this lesson.
COMPUTERS -- ADAPTIVE TECHNOLOGY
Computers are essential tools in all academic studies. They can enhance the independence, productivity, and capabilities of people with disabilities. Computers can benefit people with low vision, blindness, speech and hearing impairments, learning disabilities, and mobility and health impairments. Each of these impairments poses challenges to accessing and using a standard computer and electronic resources. For example, a student who is blind is unable to read a computer screen display or standard printouts. A student with a spinal cord injury may not have the motor control and finger dexterity required to use a standard mouse and keyboard.

Access to computers for students with disabilities involves two major ISSUES: access to the COMPUTERS themselves and access to electronic RESOURCES such as word processors, spreadsheets, and the World Wide Web.

ADAPTIVE TECHNOLOGY is defined as any item, piece of equipment, or software that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional abilities of individuals with disabilities. ADAPTIVE HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE can facilitate computer access for people with disabilities. Solutions may involve simple, READILY AVAILABLE adjustments such as using built-in access devices on standard computers, or they may require UNIQUE combinations of software and hardware such as those needed for voice or Braille output.

Many accommodations require ADVANCE PLANNING with the student and disabled student services counselor. Often an adaptive technology SPECIALIST is available on campus who can make recommendations and set up the special software. While it is unlikely that YOU as a faculty member will be directly responsible for setting up such accommodations, it is helpful to UNDERSTAND the computer access issues facing students with disabilities and hardware solutions and the software for providing access to computers and electronic resources.

Following are examples of ACCOMMODATIONS, organized by TYPE OF DISABILITY for computer INPUT, OUTPUT, and DOCUMENTATION.

BLINDNESS
Most individuals who are blind can use a standard keyboard. Viewing standard screen displays and printed documents are problematic. Specialized voice and Braille output devices can translate text into synthesized voice and Braille output, respectively. Following are EXAMPLES of computer input, output, and documentation accommodations for individuals who are BLIND:

INPUT
* Locator dots on the keyboard for commonly used keys.

OUTPUT
* Speech output
* Refreshable Braille displays that allow line-by-line translation of a screen into a Braille display area
* Braille embossers.

DOCUMENTATION
* Braille embossers
* Scanners with optical character recognition that can read printed material and store it electronically where it can be read using speech output or Braille.

LOW VISION
Most students with low vision can use standard keyboards. Special equipment or the use of built-in computer features can help modify screen displays and printer output. Following are EXAMPLES of computer input, output, and documentation accommodations for individuals who have LOW VISION:

INPUT
* Large-print key labels and home row indicators.

OUTPUT
* Large monitors and anti-glare screens
* Screen enlarger software
* Color and contrast adjustments
* Speech output systems.

DOCUMENTATION
* Scanners with optical character recognition
* Large-print or ASCII versions of documentation.

LEARNING DISABILITIES
Students with learning disabilities generally do not have difficulty accessing standard computer equipment. The availability of specialized software and technology has provided a range of products suitable for educational accommodations that support reading, writing, and organizational skills. Following are examples of computer input, output, and documentation accommodations for individuals who have LEARNING DISABILITIES:

INPUT
* Word processors with grammar and spell checkers
* Word processors with outlining and highlighting capabilities
* Word prediction software
* Phonetic Spelling software which can render phonetic spelling into correctly spelled words
* Speech recognition products can help students dictate assignments or term papers as well as navigate the Internet using voice commands
* Concept mapping software allows for visual representations of ideas and concepts. This software can be used as a structure for starting and organizing poetry, term papers, resumes, schedules, and computer programs.

OUTPUT
* Enlarged screen displays
* Alternative color contrasts
* Speech output
* Reading systems incorporating OCR and speech output.

DOCUMENTATION
* Enlarged characters
* Speech output.

SPEECH and HEARING Impairments
Hearing and speech disorders alone generally do not interfere with computer access. E-mail can be used to facilitate communication between students and instructors. Following are examples of computer input, output, and documentation accommodations for individuals who have SPEECH and HEARING impairments:

INPUT
* Students with speech or hearing impairments generally do not have difficulty accessing a standard computer.

OUTPUT
* Alternatives to audio output can be provided. For example, a computer that uses a tone to indicate an error can be programmed to flash the screen using options in the operating system.
* Communication devices can act as a substitute for voices and provide a compensatory tool for students who cannot communicate verbally. This can allow them to engage in discussions and ask questions.

DOCUMENTATION
* Individuals with speech or hearing impairments generally do not have difficulty with standard screen displays or written documentation.

MOBILITY and ORTHOPEDIC Impairments
It is important to assure the student who uses a wheelchair or who has a mobility impairment that he can access the computer workstation. Using the standard mouse and keyboard for input can be difficult or impossible due to impaired upper extremity function. While standard screen displays are often not difficult to read, software and screen modifications may be necessary to facilitate input accommodations. Following are examples of computer input, output, and documentation accommodations for individuals who have MOBILITY or ORTHOPEDIC impairments:

INPUT
* Accessible on/off switches
* Flexible positioning or mounting of keyboards, monitors, etc.
* Software utilities that consolidate multiple or sequential keystrokes
* Mouth sticks, head sticks, or other pointing devices
* Key guards
* Modified keyboards (e.g., expanded, mini, or one-handed)
* Trackballs or other input devices provide an alternative to a mouse
* Keyboard emulation with specialized switches that allow the use of scanning or Morse code input
* Speech input
* Word prediction software.

OUTPUT
* Speech output
* General assistance may be needed to access printed materials.

DOCUMENTATION
* Individuals with mobility impairments generally do not have difficulty with standard screen displays or written documentation.

HEALTH Impairments
In general, health impairments should not interfere with computer access, unless the health impairment involves a neuromuscular or orthopedic component. In these cases, access issues and accommodations would be similar to those presented for individuals with physical disabilities. Health impairments and/or medication side effects may impact other factors such as endurance, concentration, and memory; thus accommodations similar to those listed for students with learning disabilities may be helpful.

PSYCHIATRIC DISABILITIES/MENTAL HEALTH Impairments
In general, psychiatric or mental health impairments should not interfere with computer access. However, medication side effects may impact other factors such as endurance, concentration, and memory that can impact learning. Accommodations similar to those listed for students with LEARNING disabilities may be helpful.

WEB PAGES
The World Wide Web has rapidly become the dominant Internet tool, combining hypertext and multimedia to provide a network of educational, governmental, and commercial resources. The Web has mushroomed in popularity because it is such a powerful and versatile medium. Much of its power comes from the fact that it presents information in a variety of formats while it also organizes that information through hypertext links.

Because of the multimedia nature of the Web combined with the poor design of some Web sites, many Internet surfers cannot use the full range of resources this revolutionary tool provides. Some visitors:

* Cannot see graphics because of visual impairments
* Cannot hear audio because of hearing impairments
* Use slow connections and modems or older equipment that cannot download large files
* Have difficulty navigating sites that are poorly organized with unclear directions because they have learning disabilities, speak English as a second language, or are younger than the average user.

A person with a MOBILITY impairment may NOT be able to use a mouse and relies on the keyboard for Web browsing. Some people use adaptive technology with their computer to access the Web. A person who is blind may use a SPEECH OUTPUT SYSTEM to read aloud text that is presented on the screen; this system may be composed of screen reading software and a voice synthesizer. She would NOT be able to use a Braille output system, and although special keyboards exist, most people who are blind use standard keyboards and become TOUCH TYPISTS.

To create resources that can be used by the widest spectrum of potential visitors rather than an idealized "average," Web page DESIGNERS should apply "universal design" principles. They should consider the special needs of individuals with disabilities, older persons, people for whom English is a second language, and those using outdated hardware and software. Following UNIVERSAL DESIGN principles in creating a Web resource ensures that all Internet users can get to the information at a Web site regardless of their abilities, their disabilities, or the limitations of their equipment and software.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) develops the common protocols used on the Web to ensure interoperability and promote universal access. As Tim Berners-Lee, Director of the W3C puts it: "The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect."

The W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) has proposed GUIDELINES for all Web authors. The following suggestions are based on the WAI guidelines for Web content. Follow these guidelines when developing and revising your Web pages to ensure that they are accessible to a diverse audience.

1. General Page Design
Designing a well-organized Web site helps visitors navigate through the information presented
* Maintain a simple, consistent page layout throughout your site
* Keep backgrounds simple. Make sure there is enough contrast
* Use standard HTML
* Design large buttons
* Caption video and transcribe other audio
* Make links descriptive so that they are understood out of context
* Include a note about accessibility.

2. Graphical Features
People who are blind cannot view the graphical features of your Web site. Many people with visual impairments use speech output programs with nonstandard browsers (such as pwWebSpeak or Lynx) or graphical browsers with the feature that loads images turned off. Include TEXT ALTERNATIVES to make the content in graphical features accessible.

3. Use of Special Features
* Use TABLES and FRAMES sparingly and consider alternatives.
* Provide alternatives for FORMS and DATABASES.
* Provide alternatives for content in APPLETS and PLUG-INS.

4. Web Pages Test
TEST your Web site with a variety of Web browsers, and always test your pages with at least one text-based browser. This way you will see your Web resources from the many perspectives of your users. Also view the RESOURCES at your site using a variety of computer platforms, monitor sizes, and screen resolutions. Make use of an ACCESSIBILITY VALIDATION SITE, such as Bobby, that performs usability diagnostics on your pages and points out elements that could be inaccessible. Testing your site is especially important if you use HTML authoring software to write your pages as many of these programs do not automatically include ALT attributes and other accessibility features. Revise your HTML to make your site accessible.

NOTE: For more details, go to the WEB PAGES web page listed in the "WEB ADDRESSES for additional READINGS" at the end of this lesson.

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SUMMARY

It is unlikely that YOU as a faculty member are directly responsible for setting up COMPUTER LABS or creating ADAPTIVE TECHNOLOGY accommodations. However, it is possible that you will create WEB PAGES, or have already created them. 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 the software solutions for providing access to computers and electronic resources.

The examples of issues and accommodations presented can serve as a reference to help you recognize options when you encounter a student with a disability in your existing courses, and to assist you in the PLANNING and DESIGN stages of creating a new course. Incorporating universal design principles into the course from the beginning reduces the need for accommodations later.

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QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION

Send an email message to the group, answering the following question:

What are some specific design features your department might employ when setting up a new computer lab to make it accessible to all students?

Your email SUBJECT line should read: Accommodations 10: ADAPTIVE TECHNOLOGY.

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FURTHER INFORMATION

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

http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/Strategies/Academic/Computerlabs

for adaptive technology at:

http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/Strategies/Academic/Adaptive

and for Web pages at: http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/Strategies/Academic/Webpages

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(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

Lesson 11: Distance Learning

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Distance Learning Course
SUBJECT: Accommodations 11: DISTANCE LEARNING

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PURPOSE

The purpose of this lesson is to increase your awareness of access issues related accommodating students with disabilities in DISTANCE LEARNING courses.

By reflecting on YOUR own course while reading the CONTENT, you will be guided to consider possible modifications SPECIFICALLY related to accommodating a student with a disability enrolled in a distance learning class.

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Question to REFLECT upon while reading the CONTENT

If you offered your course using distance learning modes of communication (such as email, teleconferencing, or online courses), what access issues for students with disabilities would you need to consider?

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CONTENT

In the past lessons we have concentrated on accommodations for students with specific disabilities or impairments. This lesson presents issues and suggestions of accommodations related to DISTANCE LEARNING modes of communication. Increasing access to more students is often a reason given for providing instruction in a distance learning format. However, these "access" arguments usually focus on people separated by distance and time and rarely include consideration of students with disabilities.

The following paragraphs discuss ACCESS ISSUES and present DESIGN GUIDELINES for assuring that a distance learning course is accessible to potential instructors and students with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. Principles of universal design provide a framework for this discussion.

ACCESS CHALLENGES for People with Disabilities
The rapid development of adaptive technology makes it possible for almost anyone to access computing resources. Adaptive technology includes special hardware and software that allow individuals with a wide range of skills to make productive use of computers. Below are a few examples of access challenges faced by students and instructors in a typical distance learning course.

VISUAL IMPAIRMENTS
A student who is blind may use a computer equipped with screen reader software and a speech synthesizer. Basically, this system reads with a synthesized voice whatever text appears on the screen. He may use a text-only browser to navigate the World Wide Web or simply turn off the graphics-loading feature of a multi-media Web browser. He cannot interpret graphics unless text alternatives are provided. For example, his speech synthesizer will simply say "image map" at the place where an image map would be displayed to someone using a multimedia Web browser. Printed materials, videotapes, and other visual materials also create access challenges for him.

A student who has limited vision can use special software to enlarge screen images. He may view only a small portion of a Web page at a time. Consequently, he is confused when Web pages are cluttered and when the page layout is not consistent from page to page. Standard printed materials may also be inaccessible to him.

LEARNING DISABILITIES
Some specific learning disabilities impact the ability to read, write, and process information. Students with learning disabilities often use audiotaped books. For some, speech output or screen enlargement systems similar to those used by people with visual impairments help them read text. People with learning disabilities often have difficulty understanding Web sites when the information is cluttered and when the screen layout changes from one page to the next.

MOBILITY IMPAIRMENTS
Students with a wide range of mobility impairments may enroll in a distance learning course. Some have no functional hand use at all. They use alternative keyboards, speech input, and other input devices that provide access to all of the Internet-based course materials and navigational tools. Some options use keyboard commands to replace mouse functions and thus cannot fully operate software that requires the use of the mouse. Some students with mobility impairments do not have the fine motor skills required to select small buttons on the screen. Those whose input method is slow cannot effectively participate in real-time "chat" communications.

HEARING IMPAIRMENTS
Most Internet resources are accessible to people with hearing impairments because they do not require the ability to hear. However, when Web sites include audio output without providing text captioning or transcription, this group of students is denied access to the information. Course videotapes that are not captioned are also inaccessible to individuals who are deaf. Deaf students also cannot participate in TELECONFERENCING sessions that might be part of a distance learning course.

SPEECH IMPAIRMENTS
Students with speech impairments cannot effectively participate in TELECONFERENCES that might be part of a distance learning course.

DESIGN GUIDELINES
Potential students and instructors in an Internet-based distance learning class may have visual, hearing, mobility, speech, and learning disabilities that impact their participation in the class. PLANNING FOR ACCESS as the course is being developed is much easier than creating accommodation strategies once a student with a disability enrolls.

When designers apply UNIVERSAL DESIGN principles, their products meet the needs of potential users with a wide variety of characteristics. Disability is just one of many characteristics that an individual might possess. A goal should be to create a learning environment that allows a person who happens to have a characteristic that is termed "disability" to access all content and fully participate in activities. Universal Design of Education has been defined as the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.

The following sections include examples of DISTANCE LEARNING TOOLS as well as potential ACCESS ISSUES and SOLUTIONS.

ELECTRONIC MAIL
Text-based resources such as Usenet discussion groups, electronic mail, and distribution lists create no special barriers for students with disabilities. Individuals who have visual impairments or reading disabilities can use their own adapted systems to access course content with these tools.

If a prerequisite to the course is for students to have access to electronic mail, they can use any software that supports e-mail on the Internet. Therefore, any access issues that students with disabilities might face have already been resolved before enrolling in the course. Their own computer systems provide whatever accommodations they need in this area. Email communication between individual students and course administration staff, the instructor, and other students is accessible to all parties, regardless of disability. E-mail can be used to deliver the syllabus, lessons, assignments, and reminders. "Guest speakers" with disabilities can also join the e-mail-based course discussions. Students can also turn in their assignments and tests using this accessible tool.

REAL-TIME "CHAT"
Some distance learning courses employ real-time "chat" communication in their courses. In this case, students communicate synchronously (at the same time), as compared to asynchronously (not necessarily at the same time as in electronic mail). Besides providing scheduling challenges, synchronous communication is difficult or impossible for someone who cannot communicate quickly. For example, someone with a learning disability who takes a long time to compose her thoughts, or someone with Cerebral Palsy whose input method is slow, may not be fully included in the discussion. If you choose to use this type of tool, be sure to make it optional or to provide an alternate, equivalent assignment for those who cannot fully participate.

WEB PAGES
When universal design principles are applied to the design of Web pages, people using a wide range of adaptive technology can access them. If universal design principles are employed in Web page development, people with characteristics besides disabilities will also benefit from the design. They include people working under environmental constraints such as in noisy or noiseless environments; people whose hands or eyes are occupied with other activities; people for whom English is a second language; people using older, outdated computer equipment; and individuals using monochrome monitors. (See also section specifically on Web Pages in the previous lesson, 10: Technology.)

PRINTED MATERIALS
Some distance learning courses use printed materials to support Internet-based instruction. Students who are blind or who have specific learning disabilities that affect their ability to read may require these materials in alternative formats. Making the text of printed materials available on-line may provide the best solution. You can also contact the campus disabled student services office to discuss options for obtaining printed materials in alternative formats.

VIDEOTAPES
Ideally, if a videotape is one of the course materials, captioning should be provided for those who have hearing impairments and audio description (describes aurally the visual content) provided for those who are blind. If the publisher does not make these options available, the distance learning program should have a system in place to accommodate students who have sensory impairments. For example, the institution could hire someone local to the student to describe the visual material to a blind student or to sign audio material for a student who is deaf. Or, they could work with the publisher to provide, in an accessible format, a transcription of the content.

TELECONFERENCING Sometimes, on-line courses include teleconferencing opportunities for communication in small groups. This mode of communication creates scheduling challenges for everyone. It is also inaccessible to a student who is deaf. If you choose to use teleconferencing for small group discussion in your course, you might want to provide it as an option only, giving all students an alternative assignment (for example, to conduct the discussion on-line). Or, a student who is deaf can participate by using a relay system, where someone translates his printed input via teletype (TTY) into speech. Consult with the student about the best option for him.

Designed correctly, distance learning options create learning opportunities for students with disabilities. Designed poorly, they erect new barriers to equal participation in academics and careers. Employing universal design principles can bring us closer to making learning accessible to everyone, everywhere, at any time.

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SUMMARY

It is possible that you will create a DISTANCE LEARNING COURSE, or have already created one. In order to help your students, it is important for you to be AWARE of the many access issues facing students with disabilities and the solutions for providing access to distance learning courses.

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QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION

Send an email message to the group, answering the following question:

What specific features, if any have you included (or would you include) in a distance learning course you have given (or might give in the future), that facilitated access (or would facilitate access) to students with disabilities?

Your email SUBJECT line should read: Accommodations 11: DISTANCE LEARNING.

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FURTHER INFORMATION

You can read answers to frequently asked questions, explore case studies, or access additional resources at: http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/Strategies/Academic/Distancelearning

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(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

Lesson 12: Resources

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Distance Learning Course
SUBJECT: Accommodations 12: RESOURCES

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PURPOSE

The purpose of this lesson is to increase your awareness of your campus resources and of those resources available on the Web, and to provide you with a reference list for future use in accommodating students with disabilities.

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Questions to REFLECT upon while reading the CONTENT

What resources are available for accommodating students with disabilities on your campus?
Do you know of additional resources not included in the list?

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CONTENT

The Faculty Room Web site maintains links to resources that can help faculty members accommodate students with disabilities in their classes. Specific URLs for the topics covered in this course are listed below.

The organization of this list is first by GENERAL RESOURCES, then RESOURCES BY LESSON TOPIC:

Lesson 02: Rights and Responsibilities
http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/Rights/

Lesson 03: Universal Design
http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/Strategies/Universal/

Lesson 04: Hearing Impairments
http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/Strategies/Disability/Hearing/

Lesson 05: Visual Impairments
http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/Strategies/Disability/Blindness/

Lesson 06: Mobility Impairment
http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/Strategies/Disability/Mobility/

Lesson 07: Health Impairment
http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/Strategies/Disability/Health/

Lesson 08: Learning Disabilities
http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/Strategies/Disability/LD/

Lesson 09: Psychiatric Disabilities
http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/Strategies/Disability/Psych/

Lesson 10: Adaptive Technolog
http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/Strategies/Academic/Adaptive/

Lesson 11: Distance Learnin
http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/Strategies/Academic/Distancelearn...

These resource lists on The Faculty Room web site were created for you to use as a reference. The listings are not comprehensive, and the Web addresses may change over time and become inaccessible. If you have questions or requests related to resources, I will try to locate the answers for you.

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QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION

Send an email message to the group that answers the following question: What resources are available for accommodating students with disabilities on your campus? What other resources would you add to the list?

Your EMAIL subject line should read: Accommodations 12: RESOURCES.

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(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

Lesson 13: Conclusion

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

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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

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(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

Lesson 14: Evaluation

Accommodations Distance Learning Course - Evaluation

This course was developed by DO-IT at the University of Washington with funding from the U.S. Department of Education (grant #P333A990042).

Please help us evaluate this course by completing an anonymous survey. The survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Your responses will be grouped and summarized by research staff at the University of Washington. The results will be shared with your instructor and others through reports, articles, and other publications. Individual quotes may be preserved in data summaries; however, your identity will not be known. (Note: One question asks you to identify your place of employment; this is for reporting purposes only and will not be included in data summaries sent to your instructor.)

To access the Web-based survey, link to:

http://catalysttools.washington.edu/tools/webq3/?sid=8787&owner=doitres

If you have questions about the survey or the DO-IT project, please contact your instructor or DO-IT staff listed below.

Thank you for your participation!

Contact Information

<Instructor contact here information here>

DO-IT Staff
Director: Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler (sherylb@cac.washington.edu)
Program Coordinator: Nancy Rickerson (rikerson@u.washington.edu)
Research Coordinator: Deb Cronheim (debc@u.washington.edu)
Program Assistant: Christina deMille (cdemille@u.washington.edu)

DO-IT
University of Washington
Box 354842
Seattle, WA 98195-4842
(206) 685-3648
http://www.washington.edu/doit

Followup

At the end of the course, consider sending an updated email list so that the participants may continue to keep in touch with one another should they wish to do so.

Consider maintaining the list of participants for yourself. They might be able to recruit participants for future course offerings. You can also use the list to inform them of other programs and activities in which they might be interested.

Sample Invitation for Course Participation

Dear Faculty Members and/or Teaching Assistants,

I invite your participation in an intriguing and informative distance learning course. The Disabled Student Services Office is offering a distance learning course entitled "Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities." This interactive short course provides information and resources to fully involve students with a variety of disabilities in academic courses and activities. Instructional methods include provision of on-line readings that include background and practical information, case studies, and interactive discussion conducted via email. Academic accommodations are discussed for learning disabilities; hearing, visual, and mobility impairments; psychiatric disabilities; and health impairments.

This course begins (date) and involves approximately 10 hours of participation over the course of 8 weeks for a professional improvement unit (PIU) of one credit hour. There is no charge to you or your department for your participation, and you are sure to find this material useful in preparation for instructing students with disabilities in your courses.

For course registration, please email your registration request to me at___________ and include your name, department, campus address, and phone number. I look forward to your participation!

Sincerely,
Name
Campus address
Phone number
Email address

Recruiting

Try various methods of recruiting participants for your course. Explore the means of giving continuing education credits to participants to make attendance attractive. You may send an email or hard copy invitation. Follow-up with phone calls to encourage commitment.

Another effective method is to attend faculty department meetings and new faculty orientations, briefly describe the course, invite participation, gain their email addresses, and provide them with a brief course brochure with contact information.

Sample Invitation for Course Participation