Thank you for taking an interest in the Accessibility Center (AC) and the needs of our students with disabilities. We encourage you to keep the lines of communication with us open when you receive a Letter of Accommodations from a student or any time you have questions or concerns.
Here are some resources to support you:
- Faculty FAQs
- Disability Etiquette Tips
- How to Extend Time for a Student on a D2L Quiz
- Guidelines for Captioning Videos
- Seven Main Steps to Submitting a Test
ADAAA (Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008): All students who identify themselves to faculty as having a disability or suspect that they have a disability are encouraged to contact the AC. Faculty members are not obligated to provide accommodations without proper notification from the AC. Students may also contact AC staff by telephone to make an intake appointment at 303.556.3300 or by email at email@example.com.
Tips for Universal Design in the Classroom
In this day of buzzwords and acronyms, Universal Designed Learning (UDL) might get written off as another silly fad. However, here in the AC, we are very aware of the benefits of UDL. Many of our students do not have access to course material if it is not universally designed. As a federally funded institution, CCD is required by law to provide access to our students with disabilities. Students with varying learning styles also benefit greatly from UDL.
The following tips will get you started on your own universally designed classroom experience:
- Provide electronic versions of your handouts. Students who cannot read printed materials have access to listen to electronic versions of text through a specialized software available at CCD.
- Use multiple modes to deliver content. Some students learn better by reading, others by listening, others by doing, and others by seeing pictures. Using a variety of teaching methods motivates and engages more of your students to understand concepts essential to their success in your class.
- When working with technology, do not rely solely on visual cues. For example, if it is common to click on an icon to accomplish a task, imagine a blind student trying to find that icon on a screen. What keyboard shortcuts can you provide as an alternative to visual cues on the screen?
- When showing a video you must use closed-captioning to convey the information to deaf students. You will find that many students learn better by reading the information. These include ESL students, read/write learners, those in a loud classroom, those that are hard of hearing. With audio material, have a transcript available for deaf students.
- Protected PDF files are not accessible to screen-reader software. If you use these files for your material, be prepared to offer an alternative option to your students with reading disabilities. Word documents are accessible. Students with learning disabilities, dyslexics, students with ADHD, people with vision issues such as cataracts and macular degeneration, as well as blind students, use screen-reader software to read.
- Communicate with your students and get feedback. Elicit feedback via questions, clickers, surveys, discussion board, or informal quizzes. Allow feedback to be given in many forms, not just orally.
Your students will thank you for providing them with accessible material in a variety of forms. Their grades will show it and CCD will thank you as well. The more you provide accessible information, the less the Accessibility Center has to come up with a way of translating your material into something our students can use and the less money CCD has to spend on interpreters, scanners, editing software, human readers, and other accommodating devices.
- Utilize Microsoft Word styles headings
- Show intelligent descriptions for hyperlinks rather than literal URL’s or “click here.” They will be displayed alphabetically so use that intelligently.
- Do not use tables except when truly required.
- Use the following format for tables:
- A title above the table,
- Column headers that repeat on each page,
- Cells that do not continue onto more than one page, and
- Tables that make sense when reading from left to right.
- Use simple, sans-serif, legible fonts.
- Include contrasting colors to enhance readability (if colors are used).
- Use language that is straightforward and succinct.
- Do not overuse emphasis tools such as bold, all caps, underlining, exclamation marks, italics, and red color.
- Do not use repeated tabs and repeated spaces. Use custom tabs if necessary.
Supporting Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Remember that students with ASD are as unique and individual as their neuro-typical peers. Please seek to support the person rather than focus on his or her disability.
What is ASD?
Autism Spectrum Disorders include Autism, Asperger’s Disorder, and PDD-NOS (a pervasive developmental disorder that is not otherwise specified as a different disorder and follows several characteristics of Autism). These disorders are classified as a spectrum disorder because there is a wide range of characteristics and experiences of ASD.
Characteristics of ASD
- People with ASD have different understandings of social situations and cannot read social cues as accurately as their neuro-typical peers. They may not understand the emotions provided in conversation or interaction and may not respond to emotions appropriately.
- One social setting/understanding may not be generalized and changed for a different situation (e.g., a conversation that works is appropriate during a dinner conversation will not work as well in a professional or classroom environment but this may not be understandable to a person with ASD).
- People with ASD might think about social situations like a scene or snapshot for a movie that is supposed to play out in a certain way (based on previous experience). Deviations from this script may be difficult to process and interact with (social problem solving may be difficult).
- People with ASD have some form of limitation in communication.
- Some people with ASD do not develop verbal speaking abilities, some have concerns initiating and maintaining conversations, some do not develop a sense of taking turns in conversation and speaking.
- Communication may seem too formal or incorrect in various situations (stereotyped or repetitive).
- Many people with ASD have limited interests or might be fixated on one particular subject or topic and they may spend a lot of time discussing and thinking about this topic.
- People with ASD may not have skills needed to plan, problem-solve, schedule, or navigate the details of college work (long-term assignments, changes to a syllabus, time management related to studying, and class deadlines).
- Many people with ASD also experience health issues related to various biological processes, including sensory integration, digestion, mental health concerns, and food allergies.
- Some people with ASD are very sensitive to the environment both social and physical environments and may need consideration given to lighting, seating, and/or group work.
- Develop routines that can be expected at each interaction — how a class will run, how assignments are turned in, what process needs to be followed in a particular office.
- When changes are made to routine, make sure to communicate the change as soon as possible and in a clear (possible written) format.
- Write directions clearly and review directions verbally with the student.
- Do not use too many written words if simple direction conveys the same meaning.
- Avoid speaking in euphemism, hyperbole or figurative language.
- Assignments that involve abstract thinking may need to be adapted at times.
- Asking someone with ASD to take on the view of another person, object, or animal may be difficult and may require adaptation or extended explanation.
- Step by step and black and white directions and information may be helpful.
- Work or situations that require social interaction may be difficult — find ways to include a student with ASD or offer work that the student can do by his or herself when possible.
- Listen when the student seems anxious about social interactions or seems to have trouble working in-group situations.
- Discussions may seem one-sided, at times, with a student with ASD — help the student to find ways to include others in dialogue if needed.
- If the student with ASD seems to be getting anxious, he or she may have strategies that help them with behaviors related to anxiety — when possible, have a discussion about these strategies and develop ways the student can take breaks from anxiety-producing situations.
American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Revised 4th ed.)
Washington, DC: Author
Likens, Aaron (2012). A Journey of Pain, Struggles, Suffering and Hope. In 2012 Conference Proceeding Manual (208-213). US Autism and Asperger Association 2012 World Conference