More Tips for Specific Disabilities

Please follow the links below for more information on these topics.


Learning Disabilities are documented disabilities that may affect reading, processing information, remembering, calculating, and spatial abilities. Examples of accommodations for students who have specific learning disabilities include:

  • Notetakers and/or audiotaped class sessions, captioned films
  • Extra exam time, alternative testing arrangements
  • Visual, aural, and tactile instructional demonstrations
  • Computer with speech output, spellchecker, and grammar checker

Mobility Impairments may make walking, sitting, bending, carrying, or using fingers, hands or arms difficult or impossible. Mobility impairments result from many causes, including amputation, polio, club foot, scoliosis, spinal cord injury, and cerebral palsy. Typical accommodations for students with mobility impairments include:

  • Notetaker, lab assistant, group lab assignments
  • Classrooms, labs, and field trips in accessible locations
  • Adjustable tables, lab equipment located within reach
  • Class assignments made available in electronic format
  • Computer equipped with special input device (e.g., speech input, Morse code, alternative keyboard)

Health Impairments affect daily living and involve the lungs, kidneys, heart, muscles, liver, intestines, immune systems, and other body parts (e.g., cancer, kidney failure, AIDS). Typical accommodations for students who have health impairments include:

  • Notetaker or copy of another student's notes
  • Flexible attendance requirements and extra exam time
  • Assignments made available in electronic format, use of email to facilitate communication

Mental Illness includes mental health and psychiatric disorders that affect daily living. Examples of accommodations for students with these conditions include:

  • Notetaker, copy of another student's notes, or recording of lectures
  • Extended time on assignments and tests
  • A non-distracting, quiet setting for assignments and tests

Hearing Impairments may make it difficult or impossible to hear or understand lecturers, access multimedia materials, and participate in discussions. Examples of accommodations for students who are deaf, hard of hearing, or who have an auditory processing disorder, include:

  • Interpreter, real-time captioning, FM system, notetaker
  • Open or closed-captioned films, use of visual aids
  • Written assignments, lab instructions, demonstration summaries
  • Visual warning system for lab emergencies
  • Use of electronic mail for class and private discussions
  • Preferential seating and the elimination of unnecessary background noise

Blindness refers to the disability of students who cannot read printed text, even when enlarged. Typical accommodations include:

  • Audiotaped, Brailled or electronic-formatted lecture notes, handouts, and texts
  • Verbal descriptions of visual aids
  • Raised-line drawings and tactile models of graphic materials
  • Braille lab signs and equipment labels, auditory lab warning signals
  • Adaptive lab equipment (e.g., talking thermometers and calculators, light probes, and tactile timers)
  • Computer with optical character reader, speech output, Braille screen display and printer output

Low Vision refers to students who have some usable vision, but cannot read standard-size text, have field deficits (for example, cannot see peripherally or centrally but can see well in other ranges), or other visual impairments. Typical accommodations include:

  • Seating near front of class
  • Large print handouts, lab signs, and equipment labels
  • TV monitor connected to microscope to enlarge images
  • Class assignments made available in electronic format
  • Computer equipped to enlarge screen characters and images

A short publication, Working Together: Faculty and Students with Disabilities, includes much of the content on this web page and can be adapted for distribution on specific campuses.

Sub-sections of this area of The Faculty Room are organized around disability types. Within each section you'll find examples of accommodations for students with this type of disability, case studies, frequently asked questions, and resources.

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