Tips to Help DSPS Students Succeed In the Classroom - Disabled Students Programs and Services

General

  • Make syllabus and textbook information available as soon as possible.  Many students need alternate media, such as braille or etext; these formats take considerable time to create.  Allow students with disabilities to access your reading materials prior to the start of the semester.
  • While we encourage students to discuss their needs with their instructors, students don't always follow this recommendation.  If you have questions about whether a student might require accommodations, the first person to ask is the student, but not in front of the class or other students.  Confidentiality is required.
  • Respect the individual student's privacy when discussing his/her performance, behavior, or accommodations.  Students may also decide not to use accommodations.  This is also a protected right for students with disabilities.
  • Using terms such as “students with disabilities” rather than “disabled students” or “DSPS students” puts the emphasis on the person not the disability.  Students are not required to provide their disability diagnosis to faculty members.
  • Be flexible when you can.
  • Without compromising instruction, be flexible with absences and assignment due dates.
  • Encourage all students to avail themselves of campus resources.
  • Use technology whenever possible, i.e. put your syllabus online, and offer your notes, PowerPoint slides, study guides and additional resources.
  • Provide study questions for exams that demonstrate the question format, as well as the content, of the test. Explain what constitutes a good answer and why.

Syllabus

  • Including a disability statement in your syllabus, provides an invitation to students who have disabilities to meet with the faculty member, normalizes the accommodation process by treating it as just another part of the course, and opens the lines of communication making the student feel more comfortable approaching faculty to disclose their disability and need for accommodation.
  • Write changes to the syllabus, exam dates, deadline dates for assignments on the board and announce verbally.
  • Provide course expectations clearly in writing and verbally. How students will be graded, where makeup tests or rewrites of papers are allowed.

Classroom/Instruction

  • When possible and if necessary, allow students a variety of options to demonstrate mastery of core concepts, such as oral vs. written demonstrations, group projects, take-home quizzes and exams, etc.)
  • When class participation appears difficult for the student, if possible grade student on knowledge and application of course concepts instead.
  • Be considerate of the extra time it might take for a person with a disability to get things said or done.  Don't talk for the person who has difficulty speaking, but give help when needed.  Keep your manner encouraging rather than correcting or impatient.
  • When lecturing, speak slowly, clearly and begin with an outline of what is to be covered that day. It is extremely helpful is the instructor briefly reviews the major points of the previous lecture or class and highlights main points to be covered that day.
  • Face students and read aloud any material written on the board, or shown on the screen.
  • Show only captioned videos and film clips.
  • Make sure to give breaks in class to help students stay focused and engaged.
  • Teach students memory tricks and acronyms as study aids.  Use examples from current course work and encourage students to create their own tricks.
  • Periodically offer tips and encourage class discussion of ways for improving studying such as organizational ideas, outlining techniques, summarizing strategies, etc.
  • Remind students often of your availability during office hours for individual clarification of lectures, readings and assignments.
  • Restate key points several times. Try to present reviews and previews both visually and orally.
  • Emphasize new or technical vocabulary
  • Use color and graphics to emphasize key concepts and break down steps in solving problems.
  • Use verbal and written descriptions of graphics and other visual diagrams.

Accommodations

  • Assist the student to obtain a note taker when this is an authorized accommodation.
  • Allow the use of technology as an accommodation
  • Permit the use of calculator when mathematical disability is severe.
  • Permit the use of a dictionary or spell checker for essay exams.  Give less weight to spelling when the disability is severe.

DSPS welcomes questions and partnering with classroom faculty so we can support you in your efforts to accommodate a student with a disability.  Individual consultation with our highly qualified DSPS faculty and staff is most welcome and available to all Ohlone College faculty and staff on any disability related issue.  We look forward to collaborating with you.

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