WR7 Americans with Disabilities Act
 and Accessibility

 

Objective -  By the end of the lesson given instructions and reading assignment, scholars will:

 

Assignment Description

If you have not yet had a disabled student in your class, you undoubtedly will have in the future.  Disabled students offer instructors the opportunity for an especially rewarding experience.  Often these students have felt isolated by their peers and ignored by the educational system.  Even though the ADA makes provisions for these students, it is up to the institution and ultimately the teacher to implement the accommodations outlined.  The disgruntle student with a disability can present frustrating attitudes and be disruptive to the class-at-large.  He or she may be very demanding.  In some cases she or he may make unreasonable demands.  Other disabled students may have good attitudes but fail because they were not aware of their rights and the uninformed instructor did know how to assist them.

The ADA does not required educators to lower the bar.  It makes provisions for assisting disabled students to meet the same criteria as their classmates.  It is each teacher's responsibility to educate him or herself on his or her responsibility to the disabled student and to the class population.  Teachers should be aware of the facilities and practices their institutions have in place to assist disabled students.  They should have resources outside their own school to refer disabled students for assistance and students with possible disabilities for diagnosis.  It is equally important they are knowledgeable of what they are NOT required to do for students claiming a disability.  This is especially important for the occasional disabled student who feel the system owes her or him an education without any effort on her or his part. 

It is also important the disabled student be accommodated without undue burden on the mainstream students.  Sometimes a gesture as simple as putting the wheelchair-bound student in the center of the class instead of in the easy-access corner is all that is required to prevent a feeling of isolation and promote acceptance by the class community.  Allowing a learning impaired student extra time to take a test at the testing center can ease the strain on the student and the teacher.  In developing accessible materials consider senior adults and English learners.  Senior adults have similar needs such as increased lighting or larger fonts, sitting in the front of the room for better hearing and vision, and limited mobility.  English learners may require materials be visual to facilitate meaningful connections to their native language, presentations that move from simple to complex, and extra time for correction and practice.

Throughout this quarter you have been directed to various Web sites and books that provided information on how to assess and accommodate adults for various learning styles and circumstances.  You've been developing a list of on-line resources for educators of adult learners.  Now it is time to put the information and skills you've acquired to the test.  Look back at the students from classes you've taught and taken.  Some of those students brought special needs to the learning experience.  The number of students limited English due to English being their second language is on the rise.  The number of older and even retired adult re-entering the educational system is at an all time high and is expected to reach 50% over the next decade.  Adults with physical disabilities such as limitations of movement due to illness or injury, visually and hearing impaired are provided for through the ADA.  Learning disabilities are now recognized and assistance is available.  However, the disabled student may not be easily identified or willing to disclose their need for special consideration.

During your teaching career you will be expected to accommodate students with a wide range special needs.  Whether you teach automotive, allied health, culinary arts, business, or any career technical subject, you will need to meet the needs of these special students within the confines of your routine curriculum.  These challenges will require creative thinking "outside the box."  You may need to devise new methods of accomplishing tasks.  If you are unprepared, it will undoubtedly required additional work to modify your lesson plans to accommodate these students.  Having an action plan in place in advance will reduce your workload and ensure your special needs students receive the assistance they need from day 1 of your class.  Planning will allow you to utilize mainstream students to support your efforts which not only reduces your workload but prevents isolation and alienation of students.  Developing accessible lessons, course materials, and resources for a wide range of issues such as English learners, disabled and senior adults, various learning styles, multiple intelligences, motivational styles, and problem solving modalities effectively and creatively enhancing the educational experience.

The objective for this assignment is not to make a new lesson or to make a different lesson for each student.  The objective is to select one lesson already in your curriculum and give thought to modifying it to accommodate a the vast range of special needs students you may encounter to ensure their success.  Draw upon earlier discussions as well as all your experiences and resources such as the Internet, interview fellow instructors, explore CSUSB facilities or those of your institution.  Libraries have many books and periodicals dedicated to this subject, for example the San Bernardino public library on 6th and E street has an excellent adult literacy department.   Develop a pedagogical or andragogical action plan for accessible course materials, lessons, and activities.  Select one lesson from the course you teach or hope to teach.  Describe specifically how you will facilitate student learning without lowering the bar, disrupting normal classroom activities, or alienating students.  Use tools such as handouts with pictures or larger print, interpreters, special work stations, bilingual course materials, etc. Describe how the age of your students (adolescent or adult) influenced your choices and strategies.

Be specific but succinct in your report.  Your report should be 1 to 1 1/2 pages only.  This week's discussion will center on creative ideas for accessible course materials, presentations, and activities to facilitate best practices through advanced preparation and creative ideas.

 

Grading Criteria

This assignment is worth 10% of your grade. 

Reports meeting the following criteria will receive an 9 points. 

Participation in the on-line discussion via e-mail 1 point

Extra Credit

Determine and describe the policies and procedures your institution of learning has in place for disabled students who enter the class you teach. Describe how this information would impact a disabled student in the class you teach. 

 

References

Individual with Disabilities Education Act

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004

US Department of Education:  Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services