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Resources for Faculty

Including a Syllabus Statement

Include a statement informing students with disabilities that they should notify you of their need for accommodations. (Usually within the first week or so.) A sample statement can be acquired through the Disability Services Coordinator upon request.  

Receiving a Request for Accommodations

Confidentiality is essential. We recommend that the student meet with you in private to discuss their accommodations. The instructor signs and keeps one copy; the other copy of the form gets returned to the Academic Skills Center. 

Any faculty member considering denying an accommodation or has further questions should consult with the Director of the Academic Skills Center. An accommodation cannot be denied without an interactive process between the Director, instructor, and student.

Making Referrals to the Academic Skills Center

If you see a student struggling, and that student has not presented you with a blue form, please feel free to refer them to the Academic Skills Center.

Using Person-First Language

Please refer to a person as a "student with a disability," not a "disabled student."

Supporting Common Learning Disabilities

  • General Strengths: Often, a person with a learning disability is empathetic and understanding of other people’s struggles. A student often spends much more time than peers in the process of reading, understanding, and learning material- this equals determination and commitment.  
  • Reading: People with dyslexia or other print related disability experience the printed word in a way that is different from their peers. Difficulties are likely linked to decoding words, fluency, or slower speed of reading. Some may struggle to keep eye gaze moving across a page without jumping around it. Use of electronic textbooks, text readers, refer student to ASC to learn ways to skim and scan reading materials if reading is taking a very long time, or extended time on exams can help. 
  • Writing: Some students’ disabilities make it difficult to communicate effectively through writing. This can be due to struggle with organization of thoughts, poor vocabulary, or grammar/ mechanics weaknesses. Use of computer or word processor with spell check, grammar check, and cut and paste capabilities for in-class essays and essay exams. Brainstorming out loud while making notes on paper can support organization of ideas, as well as, using graphic organizers, extra time when more than short writing is on a test 
  • Mathematics: Students have difficulty reasoning and calculating numbers, miscopying/misaligning columns and making errors when changing operational signs. Poor memory can also impact math. Extended time for testing, separate room to reduce distraction, use of multiplication table, a paper calculator, regular calculator, and/or graph paper as scrap for aligning numbers, in specific cases breaking a test in two parts.
  • Foreign Language: For students whose disabilities relate to distinguishing, processing, remembering, and expressing sounds and words, learning a foreign language can be problematic. Multi-sensory instruction, plenty of oral practice, extended time for oral and written responses, in specific cases refer the student to submit for a review of documentation for a course substitution through Academic Skills Center,  
  • Oral Language: Students with social interaction difficulties, stuttering, Tourette’s Syndrome, or articulation impairment, class participation and public speaking can be extremely difficult. After a question provide enough wait time while the student processes and speaks an answer, more time or alternate environment/ method for presentations,.
  • Organization and Attention: Some learning disabilities make organizational skills, the ability to maintain focus, and good study skills problematic. Use detailed syllabi with clear dates & descriptions, written instructions rather than only oral, refer to the ASC for academic coaching support, request to meet to work on a checklist of typical tasks to do each week for class.

To learn more, visit the websites of The National Center for Learning Disabilities, Learning Disabilities Association of America, National Center for College Students with Disabilities.

Source: Rutgers University