Top 5 Tips for Supporting Learners with Disabilities
1. Talk it Out
Talk with the learner. Each learner is the expert on their own disability. Ask how they learn best. Keep in mind that learners do not have to disclose what their disability is, but they may be open to discussing strategies to help them succeed.
2. Review Accommodation Requests
Keep note of requested exam and classroom accommodations for future tests and quizzes. Many learners request extra time on exams and note-taking accommodations. At Lethbridge College, faculty are first made aware of a learner’s accommodations when asked by the learner to review, sign, and return the learner’s academic accommodation letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. Faculty at Lethbridge College are asked to adjust the time for online exams through the college’s learning management system (Canvas).
3. Refer Learners to Available Services & Resources
If you notice a learner struggling, make a referral to an appropriate support service, such as Lethbridge College’s Learning Services. Even if the learner doesn’t have a diagnosed disability, the Learning Café &/or Accessibility Services can provide support and study strategies.
4. Always Consider UDL
Incorporate Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles into course material as much as possible. “UDL is not just for [learners] with disabilities; it also supports the diversity of learners found in classrooms today” (Stone-MacDonald et al., 2015, as cited in Brookes Publishing Co., 2017).
5. Ask for Help
Reach out for assistance if you have your own questions or concerns related to supporting learners with disabilities. Lethbridge College’s Accessibility Services team focuses on supporting learners, but is happy to support faculty and staff members too. Contact Accessibility Services at email@example.com.
Brookes Publishing Co.: The Inclusion Lab. (2017, October). 12 great UDL Quotes to Pin, Tweet, and Share. Retrieved May 12, 2020 from https://blog.brookespublishing.com/12-great-udl-quotes-to-pin-tweet-and-share/