Tips for Working with Students with Learning Disabilities and Attention-Based Disorders
Students with disabilities will often provide an instructor with an Academic Adjustment Notice listing specific academic accommodations needed for access to course content and materials. In addition to any academic accommodations, the following compensatory strategies may prove useful to students with learning or attention-based disabilities. While not mandatory under Section 504 and the ADA, these suggestions can help.
- Make yourself available to the student to discuss his or her progress in class and to discuss any questions or concerns the student has about course content, assignments, and policies.
- Clarify instructions on assignments/projects to ensure that the student has a clear understanding of what is required. Include in these instructions the criteria on which the project will be graded.
- Provide assistance in helping the student develop timeframes for completing projects. Help a student break large projects into smaller segments so that the student can understand the various steps that will lead to the overall completion of the project.
- Make yourself available to meet with the student to discuss graded projects. Help the student gain a sense of what was done correctly and what could be done in the future to improve the quality of the work.
- Try to make the student feel as comfortable as possible in approaching you to talk. Communication is key. Be sure to alert the student as soon as possible should the student fall behind. Utilize additional support services available within your division and throughout the university.
It is hoped that these suggestions will help students with disabilities meet their academic goals. It is crucial, however, that students with disabilities take the responsibility of meeting with the instructors and asking for guidance and assistance.