15 Ağustos 2013 Perşembe

Disability Friendly Colleges

     Transitioning to university life and academics can be challenging for many students with disabilities. Until the time of their college  years, they usually go to work where their family lives, and can receive support from close family members and friends. However, with the onset specials needs. In fact, with support from the disability services centers at many colleges these individuals can succeed. A broad range of services can be offered, but a good but fairly basic menu of services can make the lives of those students much easier and increase their success at school. These services include accessibility, course support and testing support.

     Accesibility means more than accessible furniture or classroom, or easy navigation in college campus when the student has to go from one class to the next or from a school building tı his dorm. Accesibility includes access to library to the course material, and to the course syllabus. Electronic access to the library material is a must. The student must have the text book, course material or the books on the reading list. These might be in digital format, which a machine or computer program then reads to the student. Another alternative might be recording the course material on tape, which the student can listen to in his own time. Large-print handouts and zoom-in computer programs for the visually impaired, sigh-language lectures for the hearing disabled, first-floor roomy classrooms for the students who are in wheelchairs are some other services that increase accessibility.

     Support services complement accessibility services where the students further need assistance. Tutoring centers where professional or peer tutors help the students to study and revise course content and complete assignments, learning support centers where the student can receive further counseling and psychological help are an essential part of such services. Students with learning disabilities can benefit from instruction and training on how to cope with concentration difficulties or mood swings.

     Finally, students with various disabilities also need specials test taking arrangements. Depending on the type of the disability they have, they may need a special classroom where they can roll in their wheelchair, a quiet environment free of distraction, and/or extended testing time. Exams should be given in a format that they can read and process, e.g. enlarged font, or recorded format. It would also be necessary to provide help in recording their answers to exam questions if the students themselves cannot do that. Some students may also need alterations in the exam content or course requirements, which are the responsibility of the course instructor.

     Universities may be not be so eager to implement these support and accomadation services, this reluctance stemming from lack of funding or priority of other institutional concerns. However, starting with the most basic services to facilitate access, and then moving on to other support services, making alterations where possible will definitely make fundamental changes in the quality of life of the disabled students.

quote:bogazici university, writing booklet-9; spring-2013


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