The Center for Emergent Materials at The Ohio State University works to recruit students with disabilities for their Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program through EntryPoint! and the Ohio STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) Ability Alliance (OSAA). In internships, students engage in experimental and theoretical research in physics and materials science. Part of their training is working with sophisticated lab equipment.
Some students with learning and other types of disabilities may need additional time to complete assignments in lab courses. Described below are examples of how extra time could be provided to an individual student.
Features to make a biomedical lab accessible to people with disabilities could include
Design reviews are a common part of engineering education practice. In design reviews, students or student teams present their work to their classmates, instructors, and sometimes a panel of users or external experts for feedback and commentary. This practice gains formative feedback from multiple perspectives on a student’s project to ultimately strengthen both the project and the student’s communication and technical skills as engineers.
It is important for students, including those with disabilities, to communicate with their advisors about their disability-related needs and accommodations. Several tools can help facilitate these conversations. They include mentoring contracts, annual evaluations, and individual development plans.
Postsecondary career centers can help students prepare for employment by teaching them how to create resumes, improve interview skills, and locate employment opportunities. Promising practices for engaging students with disabilities, include:
Postsecondary career centers help students create resumes, learn about the labor market, practice for interviews, and connect students with recruiters. Ultimately, their goal is to empower students to secure internships and jobs that support career goals. They also provide services to recruiters seeking candidates for open positions.
The University of Washington’s Career Center noticed that quite often recruiters ask to recruit candidates with disabilities, stating that they were seeking these candidates because:
A “specific learning disability” refers to a variety of diagnoses such as difficulties with oral or written expression; decoding, fluency, and comprehension; auditory processing; working memory; arithmetic; and executive functioning. There are a variety of strategies that instructors can use to make computing courses more accessible for students with specific learning disabilities. Consider adopting a growth mindset approach that focuses on students’ abilities to learn and grow rather than talent or intelligence.