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Teaching Accommodations

The provision of accommodations to students with disabilities does not carry with it an obligation to reduce the level of the course content or to lower the standards of mastery.


  • Putting a note on the syllabus inviting students to let the professor know if there are any accommodations students need in order to be successful in the course
  • Making the syllabus available when students are registering for classes and, when possible, being available to discuss the syllabus with students considering the course
  • Include a syllabus statement such as, “Disability Accommodations and Accessibility:¬†If you need accommodations because of a disability, please contact¬†the CLASS Office 612-330-1053 or stop by the Gage Center welcome desk on the link level of the Lindell Library.”

Instructional Activities

  • Using a multisensory instructional approach and providing information through the use of a variety of visual and auditory materials (such as presentation slides, charts, diagrams, graphs, flash cards, films, slides, computer graphics, illustrations, demonstrations, textbooks, black/white boards, audio tapes, recordings, etc.)
  • Beginning lectures with a review of the previous lecture and an overview of topics to be covered that day
  • Using the black or whiteboard or data projector to outline and summarize lecture material, being mindful of the legibility and the necessity to read aloud what is written
  • Emphasizing important points, main ideas, and key concepts orally in lectures and/or highlighting them with colored on the projected slides
  • Using everyday life analogies to make abstract concepts easier to understand and retain
  • Providing periodic summaries during the lecture, emphasizing key concepts or clarifying the relationship between new information and previously presented information
  • Speaking distinctly and at a relaxed pace, pausing occasionally to respond to questions or for students to catch up in their note-taking
  • Leaving time for a question-answer period or discussion periodically and at the end of each lecture
  • Explaining technical language, specific terminology, or foreign words
  • Noticing and responding to non-verbal signals of confusion or frustration
  • Trying to determine if students understand the material by asking volunteers to give an example, summary, or response to a question
  • Calling only on volunteers to read aloud in class since students with learning disabilities may have difficulty reading aloud despite good silent reading comprehension.
  • Using non-traditional teaching techniques, such as role playing, that provide students with the opportunity to learn concepts through concrete experience
  • Assisting students with finding peer note-takers, if they are needed, or allowing students to record lectures

Classroom Conditions

  • Trying to diminish, if not eliminate, auditory and visual classroom distractions such as noise in the hallways or a flickering fluorescent light

Support Outside of Class

  • Being available during office hours for clarification of lecture material, assignments, and readings
  • Helping students find study partners or organize study groups
  • Asking the student who self-discloses as disability how you as an instructor can facilitate his/her learning
  • Discussing in private with a student who you suspect may have a learning disability, describing what you have observed and, if appropriate, referring the student to available support services


  • Selecting a textbook that has a study guide or that has practice questions, review sections, or quiz sections
  • Choosing a textbook far enough in advance to allow students with reading disorders to obtain alternative-format textbooks
  • Providing study questions for exams that demonstrate the format that will be used as well as the content; providing a model exemplary answer and delineating what comprises a good response


  • Giving assignments in writing as well as orally and being available for clarification
  • Providing a suggested time-line when making long-range assignments and suggesting appropriate checkpoints
  • Showing students a model finished product such as a sample paper or project


Vogel, S.A. (1990). College Students with Learning Disabilities: A Handbook.

Mangrum II, C.T., & Strichart, S.S. (1988) College and the learning Disabled Student: Program Development, Implementation, and Selection.

Garnett, K., & LaPorta, S. (1984). Dispelling the Myths: College Students and Learning Disabilities.