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Mobility Challenges and Invisible Disabilities

In addition to vision and hearing impairment, there are other disabilities and student factors to consider for course development and teaching.

Mobility

Mobility considerations may be the most obvious when designing activities for the live classroom environment. Always try to consider how a student with temporary or permanent mobility issues may participate in your learning activities. For example, an activity where students circulate around the room to add comments to flip-chart paper may be a challenge for a student with mobility issues. Alternative ways to complete the activity and include the student, without singling them out should be investigated.

An additional consideration for any online tools is that some students may have difficulty using a keyboard and mouse.

Learn more: Teaching Students with Medical/Mobility Impairments

Cognitive and Invisible Disabilities

Listen to students describe their experiences attending college with an invisible disability while faculty and staff give tips and strategies:

Cognitive and other invisible disabilities may include:

  • Learning disabilities such as dyslexia
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)
  • Autism-spectrum disorders (including what was formerly known as Asperger's Syndrome)
  • Brain Injury
  • Anxiety

Learn more: Teaching Students with Invisible Disabilities

Accommodations

The specific type of accommodation will vary depending on the student need. Some examples of accommodations include:

  • Exams/Testing Accommodations: Extended time and/or alternate format.
  • Classroom Accommodations: Sitting in a specific place in the room, alternate forms of note-taking, ability to take breaks during class.
  • Accommodations for Assignments: Extended time, option to complete an assignment in a different format.

These are just some examples of the types of accommodations that may support specific student needs. It is best to consult with the appropriate department at your college so that you can learn about the school policies and resources available for specific accommodation requests. Keep in mind that the goal of universal design is to offer flexible pathways to learning. Furthermore, this can be just as much an ethical obligation, but also a legal responsibility of the instructor.

Resources

Accommodating College Students with Learning Disabilities: ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia

Accommodating Student Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Tips for Campus Faculty and Staff

Invisible Disabilities and Postsecondary Education

Web Design for Dyslexic Users

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