1. Understand the disability
Take the time to educate yourself about the challenges presented by the condition. Meet with the student ahead of time to determine how you can best support him or her. Work with your student services program to match the student with the appropriate outlets on campus.
2. Make the classroom and its materials accessible
The necessary tools will vary based on disability, but your student must be able to access the proper materials. If a student frequently misses class for health reasons, make sure lectures are available via video or audio recording. Match the student with a note taker, interpreter or signer to ensure lectures are communicated effectively. It’s increasingly easier to provide accessible course materials, including closed-captioned videos and alternate image text.
3. Create an individualized learning environment
Realize that each student, whether disabled or non-disabled, learns differently. Remember that some students are visual learners, while others who are visually impaired need special tools just to read text. Be prepared to customize your lessons to the student’s individual needs.
4. Provide continued support
A student’s needs don’t end once he or she leaves the classroom. Some students may need extra guidance with task organization and time management. Establish strong study skills, and offer testing help if needed. Most important, be willing to provide individual attention and tutoring, whether through extended office hours or the assistance of a teaching aide.
There may be a shortage of apps targeting post-secondary special education, but you can still take steps to facilitate a smooth transition for your students. Do you have any tips for supporting special needs on campus? What resources do you use in your classroom?
Andria Casey is an Account Manager at C. Blohm & Associates, a public relations firm specializing in the education and special needs industries. Connect on Twitter @andriaclaire & @CBlohmAssoc.