Instructors Working with Students with Disabilities
- Students with Disabilities
- Informing Students
- ADA Statement for Faculty to use on Syllabi
- Teaching Resources
Some faculty may or may not have experience in teaching students with disabilities, and may be uncertain about disability particulars, how much to ask, and how to arrange for accommodations. Discretion is recommended when discussing disabilities and/or accommodations. Guard the confidentiality of personal information the student may choose to share. Create a welcoming atmosphere that enables the student to “fit in” rather than “stand out.”
Academic expectations need to be the same for all students, though accommodations may change the manner in which a student participates in class or gains access to information. For example, the student may use special equipment or resources such as a sign language interpreter, a large screen monitor, or perhaps extra time on written tasks. Again, accommodations should neither give an extra advantage nor alter academic expectations.
Faculty members are encouraged to include a statement on their syllabi with information about how to receive disability accommodations.
If an instructor receives an accommodation request, he/she should ask if the student has registered with DRC. If the student is not registered with DRC, please refer the student to DRC to do so. If already registered, ask for an accommodations letter from the student. This letter is provided by DRC, gives information about how the disability impacts the student, and outlines recommended accommodations.
For information about a specific disability, the director of DRC is the on-campus resource to contact. Effective teaching techniques and/or adaptive equipment/technology that might benefit a student with a disability are just two examples of information the director can provide.
For online information about working with students who have disabilities:
- Disabled Students’ Program from the University of California at Berkeley
- DO-IT Faculty Room at the University of Washington
As representatives of Rice University, instructors are responsible for responding to requests for disability accommodations. This usually involves directing the student to DRC, engaging in dialogue about appropriate accommodations, and working with DRC and the student to resolve any issues. Ideally, faculty can work from the accommodation letter and discuss with the student how the accommodations will be implemented. If the instructor thinks an accommodation is incompatible with the structure of his/her class, the director of DRC should be contacted immediately.
Faculty members are cautioned against providing any academic accommodations that would be considered disability-related before verifying the student’s disability status with DRC. If there is any doubt, contact the director of DRC to verify or for more information.