General Accommodations Strategies for FacultyThere are no standard ways of accommodating a student with a disability. The differences among individuals in terms of the type of disability, its degree and its impact varies such that each student’s needs must be assessed individually. In general, though, accommodations will affect one or more of the following:
The way in which you teach
Organizing course material earlier, projecting clearly toward the class when lecturing, and explaining verbally any visual aids are all ways of accommodating students for a standard academic course. Students may require early access to course syllabuses or reading lists, so they can order books in alternative formats (e.g. digital texts).
The space in which you teach
Your class may have to be relocated to an accessible location, or to a lecture hall with appropriate technology.
The methods you use to assess students
You may be asked to consider allowing students to provide evidence of what they have learned in different, though equally challenging formats - orally, instead of in written form, for example. Instructors may find that in examining your evaluation methods, you may adopt alternative ways to evaluate all your students.
The way in which you test
The most common form of accommodation granted to students with disabilities is the opportunity to write tests and examinations outside of the regular format. Some students with disabilities require extra time to complete a test. In addition, other students require adaptive equipment. The completed work; however, should be treated no differently from those of other students in your class.
You will find that time is an important factor for some students with disabilities. Policies and practices around the granting of extra time for completing assignments, writing tests or examinations are intended not to give students with disabilities unfair advantages, but to provide them with fair and equitable opportunities to demonstrate what they have learned.
When you meet with a student who has a disability, talk directly to her or him, not to an accompanying person. If you offer help to a person with a disability, wait until it is accepted before providing assistance.
Make an effort to use the terminology that the student uses to describe his or her own disability.
Decide on a method for regular communication between yourself and the student who requires accommodation. Examples might include a brief post-class discussion each week, a meeting during your office hours, or regular email correspondence.
If you can see problems arising from a particular aspect of a course - a practicum or field component, a newly assigned text that is not available in digital format, the structure of a test - talk about it with the student as soon as possible. With sufficient time, you can probably find a way to accommodate the student’s needs, or develop an acceptable alternative to that component of the course.
Consultation with Disability Services
If you are unsure of how to deal with a specific situation or would like advice on designing appropriate instructional strategies, the disability services staff is available to provide consultation.
It is the student’s right not to disclose specific information regarding his/her disability to faculty and staff. However, students are encouraged to do so where appropriate. It is the student's responsibility to discuss accommodation needs with the faculty, preferably prior to the first class or soon thereafter.
Sheridan College of Applied Arts and Technology: www1.sheridaninstitute.ca/services/disability/index.cfm.
Ontario College Committee on Disability Issues (CCDI) acts as an advisory body to Coordinating Committee on Student Services (CCSS) to identify, research and make appropriate recommendations on system-wide issues, policies and practices affecting students with disabilities, and from time to time, undertake specific assignments as directed by or for submission to CCSS. Their website has a wealth of resources for disability service advisors, learning strategists, assistive technologists, faculty, counsellors, etc. on a full range of disabilities: www.disabilityissues.ca/resources.html.
LD Resource Guide: Accommmodations, Learning Strategies, Assistive Technology and Universal Design for Instruction, College Committee on Disability Issues: www.disabilityissues.ca/documents/LDResour.pdf.