What are examples of science lab accommodations for students with mobility impairments?
Since each student's accommodation needs are unique and the student is often most knowledgeable about effective accommodations, be sure to talk with the student about what accommodations he/she might need.
Some specific accommodations that might be useful to a student with a mobility impairment in a science lab include the following:
- Provide a lab partner.
- Use plastic instead of glassware.
- Allow extra time for set up and completion of lab work.
- Modify safety procedures.
- Make sure field sites are accessible.
- Provide an uncluttered lab with wide clear aisles.
- Give preferential seating to avoid physical barriers and assure visual access to demonstrations
- Place mirrors above the instructor giving a demonstration and/or use an enlarged screen for demonstrations.
- Provide wheelchair-accessible workstations that have an adjustable-height work surface.
- Make a slip stop mat available.
- Place utility and equipment controls within easy reach from seated position.
- Provide lab equipment such as electric stirrers and container fillers.
- Allow students to use support stands, beaker/object clamps and test racks.
- Make beakers and other lab equipment with handles available.
- Provide surgical gloves to make handling wet/slippery items easier.
- Modify procedures to use larger weights and volumes.
- Extended eyepieces so students who use wheelchairs can use microscopes from a seated position.
- Provide flexible connections to electrical, water and gas lines.
- Use single-action lever controls in place of knobs.
- Provide alternate lab storage methods (e.g.,"Lazy Susan", storage cabinet on casters).
This list is from the DO-IT publication Making Science Labs Accessible to Students with Disabilities.
For more examples of accommodations that can be made in science labs consult the DO-IT Knowledge Base article What are examples of accommodations in science laboratories? and Accessibility in the Laboratory, published by the American Chemical Society.