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Teaching Students with Disabilities
A UCLA FACULTY GUIDE
Office for Students with Disabilities
A-255 Murphy Hall
INTRODUCTION TO THE FACULTY GUIDE
Students with disabilities at UCLA are capable individuals who experience some limitation that calls for adaptation of materials, methods or environments to facilitate their most successful learning. Each student's level of functioning and compensation skills may vary widely even if they are within the same disability group. That is why it is best to meet with the student to discuss his or her learning needs. Understanding and support are critical to the educational process as it relates to the student.
Our Faculty Guide is designed to be used as a reference when working with a student with a disability. It is meant to facilitate a student-faculty interaction that will lead to a successful learning experience. You may have a student who is having difficulty in your class who you would like to refer to the OSD. If you have concerns about knowing the most appropriate way to make a referral to the OSD, especially if the student has no visible signs of a disability, please feel free to contact an OSD Disability Specialist to consult. Once a student is referred, an OSD Disability Specialist will meet with the student to determine how best to assist them.
Federal law and State and University policies require the University to provide students with disabilities academic adjustments to permit them full access to their academic program. According to these laws, "no otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall, on the basis of his/her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any program or activity of a public entity."
"Qualified" with respect to post-secondary educational services, means "a person who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the educational program or activity, with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies or practices; the removal of architectural, communication or transportation barriers; or the provision of auxiliary aids and services."
"Person with a disability" means "any person who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities (including walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working)."
Disabilities Covered by Legislation
Disabilities covered by legislation include (but are not limited to) AIDS, Cancer, Cerebral Palsy, Diabetes, Epilepsy, head injuries, hearing impairments, specific learning disabilities, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, loss of limbs, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, psychiatric disorders, speech impairments, spinal cord injuries, and visual impairments.
OSD encourages students with disabilities to discuss their learning needs and possible adaptations, personally, with their professors. Nevertheless, a concern of many students, particularly those with unobservable disabilities, is confidentiality. Should you need to inquire about the nature of a student's disability or what constitutes an academic adjustment based on the student's disability, please contact OSD, and we will seek permission from the student to discuss this matter with you. Notetakers employed by OSD are asked not to identify the student they serve. It is essential that the privacy and confidentiality of students registered with OSD be maintained.
THE OFFICE FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES:
To have full access to the classroom, the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) provides educational support services to students with documented permanent and temporary disabilities and provides information to faculty about support services. The philosophy and mission of the office is to encourage independence, to assist students in realizing their academic potential, and to facilitate the elimination of physical, programmatic, and attitudinal barriers.
The OSD is available to serve as a resource in developing free, appropriate, instructional adjustments. In addition to the classroom, accommodations are provided in all academic environments, such as internships, laboratories, Education Abroad programs, fieldwork, fieldtrips, and research involvements.
Depending upon the disability-related needs of each student, OSD provides the following support services:
PROCTORING AND ALTERNATIVE TESTING
A student with a disability may need alternative test-taking conditions. Depending upon the student's disability-based need, appropriate testing accommodations may include:
Faculty are encouraged to work closely with the student, and with OSD to establish acceptable testing procedures that will allow each student to demonstrate his or her knowledge without reflecting the disability. The integrity of the test is always maintained in this process. Alternative testing may take place in the OSD Proctoring Center in A242 Murphy Hall, or in appropriate departmental areas designated by the faculty member administering the test.
"Proctoring/Test-Taking Request" Form
The specific accommodation must be articulated on the "Proctor/Test-Taking Request" form. Students must submit the request form at least ten (10) days in advance of the exam for faculty authorization of specific accommodations and test conditions. The proctor form should indicate the start time and end time for the student with the disability, as well as the locations of the pick up and the return of the exam. The instructions must be fully completed and signed by the Professor or teaching assistant prior to the test. Upon completion of the exam, the proctor will obtain a department signature on the form recording the return of the exam. If there is a question regarding the validity of a student's request, or any other concerns, please contact OSD at x51501, x52651
Many students with disabilities, such as those with sensory, manual dexterity or auditory processing deficits require notetaking assistance to compensate for their disabilities. Faculty assistance is frequently needed to identify a volunteer notetaker who would be interested in sharing lecture notes and who takes comprehensive and legible notes. Faculty are asked to make an announcement in their class to locate a suitable notetaker. Interested applicants are referred to the OSD at Murphy A255 with a sample of their class notes. For each class, the person chosen receives a stipend at the end of the quarter. The notetaker can be another student in the class or the TA; in some instances, a professor may choose to give the student a copy of his or her own notes.
Students with disability-based learning difficulties are often referred to campus tutoring services for assistance in their classes. An OSD Disability Specialist is available to meet with the tutor and the student to discuss teaching strategies that reflect the unique learning style and disability-based needs of that student.
SOME GENERAL SUGGESTIONS
Accommodations are always based on the specific, documented needs of each student with a disability. A student who is deaf, for example, may require a sign language interpreter to facilitate communications. Similarly, a student with a learning disability may require a quiet testing area with extended time in order to compensate for slowed processing of information and attentional difficulties. The following suggestions have been made by faculty and students to assist learning:
A learning disability affects the manner in which individuals take in information, organize it, retain it and express the knowledge and understanding which they possess. Although students with learning disabilities at UCLA have intellectual abilities comparable to all other students, they may have serious deficits in reading, spelling, mechanics of writing, and/or quantitative reasoning. Typically, students with learning disabilities also have difficulty with organizational skills, time management, and test-taking skills, particularly under timed conditions.
Notable individuals such as Woodrow Wilson, Albert Einstein, Nelson Rockefeller, Thomas Edison and Hans Christian Anderson were able to make significant contributions despite their presumed learning disabilities. The major underlying disorders in basic psychological processes include difficulties in perceiving information, retaining what is heard or seen, and in expressing what one knows through oral or written language.
Suggestions for Classroom Adaptations
If possible, begin each class with a review of the previous lecture and an overview of the topics to be covered. Emphasize important points, main ideas, and key concepts during the lecture and in the summary at the close of the class. Provide a suggested time line when making long-range assignments and suggest appropriate checkpoints.
Auditory Learning and Reinforcement:
ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is a neurologically based disorder that impacts upon learning and behavior. Specifically, the disorder may involve attention deficits, impulsivity, hyperactivity, mood swings, low stress tolerance and difficulty in following rules. It is a hidden disability which often impacts upon an individual's performance in the early school years, college and throughout life. When hyperactivity is combined with attention deficits, the condition is referred to as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Current medical research believe that differences in chemistry in the parts of the brain which control inhibition may cause ADD and may be inherited.
Academic adjustments may include testing areas with reduced distractions, breaks, extended time for exams to compensate for poor concentration, and notetakers. Students with ADD can be assisted in their academic program by presentation of a structured, sequential instructional program and assistance with time-lines, organizing, prioritizing, clear guidance as to expectations, and specific instructions.
Students with visual impairments range from limited or distorted vision to totally blind. They are usually unable to read from a blackboard and/or read standard sized print. Students with visual impairments often make an advance request for syllabi, textbooks, or class assignments. This is important so that they can order tape recorded textbooks or make arrangements with OSD to have their printed material scanned or brailled.
Hearing impairments vary from mildly hard of hearing to profoundly deaf.
Hard of Hearing Students
For a student who lip reads, get the student's attention and face the student while speaking. Avoid bright lights behind you which will cause a glare, interfering with lip reading. Provide the interpreter or real time captionist with copies of any handouts to be distributed during class.
Communication (hearing impairment):
It is a natural tendency when using an interpreter for the first time to speak to the interpreter instead of the deaf student. Communication precedes more smoothly if you virtually ignore the interpreter. Look directly at the deaf student in the same way you would speak to anyone else.
Students with mobility impairments may have muscle weakness, reduced stamina, lack of muscle control, or total paralysis.
Students with disabilities have the legal right to access a college education with disability-based support services designed to facilitate successful completion of their academic program. Staff from the OSD are always willing to provide information and suggestions for teaching strategies to assist learning. While academic adjustments are meant to make learning most successful, academic standards of the program are not compromised. Students with disabilities are responsible for their own learning. They are very much like other students; they are here to learn. With the collaboration of all individuals involved: faculty member, student, and OSD staff, the achievement of that goal can be realized.
Office for Students with Disabilities
(310) 825-1501 (Voice)