How can you prepare engineering students to work with people with disabilities?

Date Updated

In courses related to assistive technology and accessibility, engineering students often design projects for individuals with disabilities.  You can prepare your students for working with clients with disabilities by:

  • reviewing communication hints for working with students with disabilities. 
  • showing videos where people with disabilities discuss their experiences with technology. A great example is the documentary, FIXED, which is available at many libraries.
  • discussing design principles for working with individuals with disabilities. Some great examples include Design for User Empowerment and Ability-Based Design
  • hosting a panel of individuals with disabilities in your classroom. Contact your university's disability office to help coordinate a group of students or community members. Panelists can talk about their disabilities and their experiences with technology. Encourage students to ask questions of the panelists and discuss their projects.

For more information on this topic, visit Hosting a Panel of Students with Disabilities: A Promising Practice in Raising Awareness of Disability Issues and What are some hints for communicating with individuals who have disabilities?

For resources on universal design in curriculum you may wish to consult Universal Design in the Curriculum and/or view the video Including Universal Design in the Engineering Curriculum.

For more information on promoting the participation of persons with disabilities in engineering education, in order to both increase and diversify the engineering workforce, visit AccessEngineering