Perhaps the most important instructional strategy recommended by Disability Services is to include a statement on your syllabus inviting students with disabilities to meet with you during office hours to discuss accommodation needs. You may also want to make an announcement during the first class to this effect. Keep in mind Disability Services cannot specify the type of disability a student has and it is not appropriate to ask the student for this information.
It is recommended faculty include the following statement in their syllabus:
Any student with a documented disability needing accommodations is requested to speak directly to Disability Services (firstname.lastname@example.org or 309-457-2257) and to the instructor within the first two weeks of the semester. All discussions will remain confidential.
In addition, the following recommendations will enable the students with disabilities in your classes to obtain appropriate, timely accommodations and to create a learning environment beneficial to all students:
- Keep all disability-related material strictly confidential. At no time should the class be informed a student has a disability, except at the student's express request. All disability information the student gives to the faculty member is to be used specifically for the arrangement of reasonable academic accommodations.
- Allow the student the same anonymity as other students (i.e., avoid pointing out the student or the alternative arrangements to the rest of the class).
- Make available a detailed course syllabus prior to registration. Essential requirements of the course should be clearly stated.
- Announce reading assignments well in advance for students who are using audio materials or other alternative formats. It may take a week to convert a book to e-text or to have it delivered from Recordings for the Blind & Dyslexic.
- Start each lecture with an outline of material to be covered. At the conclusion of class, briefly summarize key points.
- Teach in a multi-modal format to reach all learning styles. Combine visual and auditory modalities when presenting lecture material and then create experiential learning through group work and hands-on application of the material.
- Provide an adequate opportunity for questions and answers including review sessions.
- When in doubt about how to assist any student, privately ask him or her.