A 2008 amendment to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires qualified individuals with disabilities to have access to public programs and services, including those provided online. That is, if a student with a disability enrolls in an online course, the course must be available to them. However, the ADA has not provided specific housing standards. Therefore, it is up to each school to determine how far it will go to serve its population of students with disabilities.

Because disabilities cover such a wide spectrum, creating educational content that is easily accessible to everyone poses a significant challenge. However, many universities consider it their moral duty to exceed the requirements of the ADA. "The law is a starting point from which we must operate," says Matt Trybus, associate director of the Office of Disability Services at James Madison University. "We have a moral and ethical imperative to create accessible environments and go beyond regulatory compliance."

Dave Cilay, vice president of Washington State University's Global Campus, agrees that access is both a legal right and an ethical responsibility. "We were founded as a land-grant university, which means our mission has long been to remove all barriers (distance or disability) that exist between students and their education," he says.

University-wide efforts

Experts agree that providing access for all requires commitment and participation from multiple sides of the university. "It takes the entire university to address accessibility online, not just the disability department, as is often the case when it comes to campus accessibility," says Jim Gorske of the University of Florida Disability Resource Center. . "The university needs to come together instead of taking a piecemeal approach."

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For example, Rutgers University established an online accessibility committee to develop best practices for online course accessibility. The committee is tasked with ensuring consistent accessibility and usability for all students enrolled in online courses. Rutgers now adheres to the following titles from the Quality Matters Program, a national benchmark for online course design:

  • The course contains equivalent alternatives to audio and visual content.
  • Course design makes it easy to read and minimizes distractions
  • Course design takes into account the use of assistive technologies

The University of South Carolina also has a college committee and uses the Quality Matters rubric. “As a committee, we decided to set a minimum expectation for each course. All materials must be readable with a screen reader and all video or audio files must have captions or, at the very least, we must provide a transcript for students to read,” says USC. "Instead of 'refreshing' a course when a student enrolls, all courses are expected to be accessible from the start."

At the University of Missouri, disability service providers work with other campus units, such as IT or educational technology, to set baseline expectations for online course development, including curriculum and use of different platforms and software.

“Many, but not all, barriers for students with disabilities result from the type of software or tools used, so awareness of how accessible a software system is can be critical to accessibility. Developing a protocol to deal with inaccessible programs is critical,” said Barbara Hammer, director of the Office of Disability Services at the University of Missouri.

(Video) Considering the Design of Online Learning for Students with Disabilities

For many, this is a new way of doing things.

“In the past, a student would approach the Office on Disabilities about a course, and the office would make the course available to that particular student. This often meant that students with disabilities had access to materials a week or two later than others. They have always kept up to date," says Karen Pettus, Director of Services for Students with Disabilities at the University of South Carolina. "By making the material accessible from the start, all students have equal time to prepare and participate. The faculty member is trying to build a learning community and have students interact with each other.”

Faculty Resources and Training

For many schools, a university approach means helping teachers understand the needs of students with disabilities and helping them meet those needs by creating accessible materials. For example, teachers need to know how to share a Word document with someone using a screen reader. At Wayne State University, the Office of Teaching and Learning is very active in training teachers on assistive technologies. And in several schools this type of training is already mandatory.

“Indiana University is developing mandatory training for instructors and course developers to educate them about the needs of students with disabilities, how to create accessible learning materials, and how to use Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles in their teaching methodology. teaching. . and how to use technology in accessible ways to ensure inclusive learning environments,” says Richwine. “This includes supporting instructors by giving them access to training materials and consultants who can help them understand and address the accessibility of their courses.”

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The University of South Carolina takes a slightly different approach. “We want teachers to be content experts, not web development or accessibility experts,” says Pettus. “When students have special needs, we work with the student and faculty to ensure those needs are met. Often our TA Coordinators are added to the Blackboard course so they can view the syllabi and work with faculty and students to ensure materials are available as quickly as possible.”

At Washington State University (WSU), Access Center Consultants work with individual students to make reasonable accommodations for online classes, and WSU Global Campus works closely with WSU Access Center and faculty. to ensure arrangements are made for students. These types of initiatives naturally require resources. Student services, IT, teacher education, and other departments must be adequately staffed as they work together to ensure that the needs of the school's students with disabilities are adequately met.

universal design

Since one size does not fit all, how does a university provide simultaneous access for all? Enter the concept of Universal Design (UD). When creating a product or environment, designers often focus on the average user. Universal Design, on the other hand, strives to create products and environments that can be used by everyone with as few special adjustments as possible.

By applying UD principles to online course design, universities can address accessibility issues early on. This means that the school strives to make the course as accessible as possible for people with different abilities, learning styles and other characteristics. "Developing accessible course content from the ground up is extremely important," said Anne Jannarone, director of the Center for Educational Access at the University of Arkansas. “This can reduce or even eliminate the need for a student to request accommodation on a course. It can also reduce the stress on teachers to adapt an ongoing course.”

(Video) Learners with Learning Disabilities | Final Teaching Demonstration | Virtual/ Online Class

UD is crucial when it comes to learning management systems (LMS), which are software applications like Blackboard or Akai that schools use to deliver online learning. Universities work with LMS companies to develop affordable products. “Higher education institutions make sure that the software applications and teaching materials they use are accessible. Software companies need to test and implement an affordable product or institutions won't buy it,” says Terra Beethe, faculty development coordinator at Bellevue University.

"At Indiana University, we work with major learning technology providers to determine where accessibility limitations exist and then to make sure plans are in place to provide equitable access and develop roadmaps to address accessibility issues," he said. Indiana Richwine University. “This work is carried out independently within our school and in collaboration with universities working together through organizations such as the Committee for Institutional Cooperation (CIC), working groups in professional bodies such as the Access Technology Higher Education Network (ATHEN ) and other informal collaborations. 🇧🇷

At Western Illinois University, the Disability Resource Center team works with faculty to incorporate universal design principles into course planning. Instructors are asked to review their course schedules to ensure that videos are captioned, that all materials are accessible via a screen reader, and that all members of the learning community are involved. “The best practices are those that seek to make courses and environments accessible to as many people as possible, and this also applies to online courses. We encourage faculty to work with our office to ensure course schedules are as inclusive of everyone as possible," said Gretchen Steil Weiss, Western Illinois University Disability Resource Center.

However, experts agree that universal design is really ideal when it comes to online learning. Not all barriers can be removed. The goal is to remove as many obstacles as possible so that accessibility is less of an issue, although some students still need specific modifications.

(Video) Learning Disability in Higher Education... | Lexie Garrity | TEDxVanderbiltUniversity


Can people with learning disabilities go to university? ›

Universities and colleges are increasingly aware of the needs of students with a disability and students with a learning difficulty. They can offer support in a number of ways and you may be able to get extra financial help.

What is the most common learning disability in schools? ›

1. Dyslexia. Dyslexia is probably the number one learning disorder auditory processing, visual processing disorders may have trouble that affects children and adults. It's a condition that makes it challenging to understand text or speech.

What is the biggest challenge for students with online learning? ›

7 Top Challenges with Online Learning For Students (and Solutions)
  • Isolation.
  • Motivation.
  • Equipment.
  • Tech Issues.
  • Distractions.
  • Time Management.
  • Barriers to learning (Disabilities / Special Needs)
18 Aug 2022

What is a good career for a disabled person? ›

Careers in management, education, business, technology, and healthcare all offer opportunities with few physical dexterity, stamina, or mobility requirements. Many of these careers also offer opportunities for people with visual or hearing impairments.

Which country is best for disabled students? ›

So, in this article, we'll take a look at some of the countries which best support those with intellectual disabilities.
  • What is an Intellectual Disability? ...
  • 6 Countries That Are Doing Well with Special Educational Needs. ...
  • The Netherlands. ...
  • The United Kingdom. ...
  • Denmark. ...
  • Cyprus. ...
  • Canada. ...
  • New Zealand.

Do universities accept IEP? ›

Can You Use Your IEP Accommodations in College? The IEP process only applies to students in preschool up through 12th grade. In other words, once you graduate high school, your IEP will not follow you to college. However, this does not mean colleges do not provide academic accommodations if students need them.

Do you have to disclose disability to university? ›

Colleges and universities should have a policy that says which members of staff at the university or college will be told about your disability. This might include the disability adviser, your personal tutor or teacher, the exams officer, accommodations officer, placement coordinator and individual lecturers.

Do universities care about IEP? ›

So, to recap: Colleges won't ask for any information about what kind of plan — IEP or 504 — a student has in high school. You don't need to switch plans or drop your student's services and accommodations because you worry it might affect college options.

What are the top 3 disabilities? ›

What are the top 10 conditions that qualify for disability?
  1. Arthritis. Arthritis and other musculoskeletal disabilities are the most commonly approved conditions for disability benefits. ...
  2. Heart Disease. ...
  3. Degenerative Disc Disease. ...
  4. Respiratory Illness. ...
  5. Mental Illnesses. ...
  6. Cancer. ...
  7. Stroke. ...
  8. Nervous System Disorders.
12 Jul 2022

What are the 4 major types of learning disabilities? ›

Learning disabilities usually fall within four broad categories:
  • Spoken language-listening and speaking.
  • Written language-reading, writing, and spelling.
  • Arithmetic-calculation and concepts.
  • Reasoning-organization and integration of ideas and thoughts.

What is the greatest challenge today's students face 2022? ›

The 6 Biggest Challenges Facing Children in 2022
  1. Children Living in Conflict Zones. ...
  2. Unprecedented Global Hunger. ...
  3. Two Years of Disrupted Education. ...
  4. Climate Change. ...
  5. Children Crossing Borders. ...
  6. Child Mortality Due to COVID-19.

Why students are struggling with online learning? ›

Given all the distractions that are only one click away, students are easily diverted from online study. Those distractions are designed to grab attention and maintain engagement. Distractions include everything from streaming services and social media to online games.

What company hires the most disabled people? ›

Check out the Top 6 Companies that hire people with disabilities:
  • IBM Corporation. IBM Corporation (which stands for “International Business Machines”) leads the pack when it comes to being disability-friendly. ...
  • Proctor & Gamble. ...
  • Ernst & Young. ...
  • Cisco Systems. ...
  • S.C. ...
  • Sodexo.
1 Mar 2016

Can a disabled person be successful? ›

Is there a link between success and disability? Disabled people work just as hard as non-disabled people, in fact, it could be argued that we have to work even harder because we often face access barriers or have to find alternative ways of completing tasks.

What is the number 1 disability in the world? ›

The World Bank/WHO folks sought out tabulations of people who have trouble seeing, hearing, walking, remembering, taking care of themselves or communicating. Worldwide, the most common disability in people under the age of 60 is depression, followed by hearing and visual problems.

What city is the most disability friendly? ›

Best & Worst Cities for People with Disabilities
Overall RankCityOverall Score
1Minneapolis, MN56.63
2Pittsburgh, PA56.02
3St. Louis, MO56.00
4Columbia, MD55.98
61 more rows
27 Sept 2022

What country has the best disability benefits? ›

On average, the Nordic countries and Switzerland offer the most generous compensation policies to persons with disabilities.

Does anxiety qualify for 504? ›

Answer: Yes. A student may qualify for a 504 plan if anxiety gets in the way of the student participating at school. The 504 plan aims to remove barriers caused by the anxiety.

What are the benefits of having an IEP in college? ›

Along with providing students with legal protections, IEPs enable them to secure certain accommodations, technologies, and other benefits, such as extra time on tests.

Does having a 504 affect college? ›

If you are a special education of 504 students, college admissions will focus on your test scores and grades just as they would anyone else. Having said that, accommodations at the college level are very scaled back compared to what you received in high school.

What counts as proof of disability? ›

You should also present some medical evidence. The more credible medical evidence you can present, the more likely it is the judge will agree that you have a disability. The kind of evidence you might present would include medical reports, relevant GP records, specialist nurse or consultant reports.

Do universities consider ADHD a disability? ›

How do you know if you need or qualify for accommodations? First, you need to have a documented disability. That could be ADHD, a learning disability, or any other medical, emotional, or physical condition that substantially limits one or more major life activities, including learning or concentration.

Can a disabled student be refused admission on a course? ›

It would be unlawful for universities and colleges to refuse you a place or treat you less favourably because of your disability – they have been covered by the Disability Discrimination Act since 2001, and the Equality Act since 2010.

Can you be smart with an IEP? ›

Since an evaluation of a child must include consideration of both non-academic as well as academic areas, schools must look at more than grades in making an IEP eligibility decision. Students with high IQ's are not automatically ineligible for IEPs.

What are the disadvantages of an IEP? ›

Common IEP Shortcomings:

Sets low expectations and misrepresents the child's educational potential. Does not target the fundamental cognitive, communicative, behavioral, sensory integrative, and social deficits of ASD students. Does not capitalize on characteristic strengths of this population.

Is anxiety covered under IEP? ›

Your students' OCD or anxiety symptoms may qualify as a disability if they are severe enough that they impact their ability to learn. In these cases, the student who is in public school is eligible for a 504 Plan or an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

What are the most severe disabilities? ›

Introduction. People with severe disabilities are considered to have the following disabilities: severe intellectual disability (formerly referred to as “mental retardation”), autism, deaf-blindness, and multiple disabilities.

What famous person had learning disability? ›

30 Celebrities You Didn't Know Have Learning Disabilities
  • Jennifer Aniston. Dyslexia. ...
  • Richard Branson. Dyslexia. ...
  • Jim Carrey. ADHD and Dyslexia. ...
  • Cher. Dyslexia and ADHD. ...
  • Tom Cruise. Dyslexia. ...
  • Patrick Dempsey. Dyslexia. ...
  • Richard Engel. Dyslexia. ...
  • Tommy Hilfiger. Dyslexia.

Who is the famous person with intellectual disability? ›

Mathematician John Nash is one of the most famous people with intellectual disabilities. The 2001 film A Beautiful Mind was based on the story of his life managing his disabilities.

What are the four levels of disability? ›

The four major types of disabilities include physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional, and sensory impaired disorders. While many disabilities fall under one of these four umbrellas, many can fall under two or more.

What are the 7 types of disability? ›

  • Physical Disability. Locomotor Disability. Leprosy Cured Person. Cerebral Palsy. ...
  • Intellectual Disability. Specific Learning Disabilities. Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Mental Behaviour (Mental Illness)
  • Disability caused due to- Chronic Neurological Conditions such as- Multiple Sclerosis. Parkinson's Disease. ...
  • Multiple Disabilities.
25 Apr 2022

What are 14 major types of disability? ›

autism; • deaf-blindness; • deafness; • emotional disturbance; • hearing impairment; • intellectual disability; • multiple disabilities; • orthopedic impairment; • other health impairment; • specific learning disability; • speech or language impairment; • traumatic brain injury; or • visual impairment (including ...

Are learning disabilities permanent? ›

A learning disability is a permanent disorder that affects the manner in which individuals with normal or often above average intelligence acquire, retain, and express information. Such difficulties in processing information can significantly interfere with academic or social development.

Are learning disabilities genetic? ›

Learning disabilities aren't contagious, but they can be genetic. That means they can be passed down in families through the genes, like many other traits we get from our parents and grandparents.

What should you avoid in online classes? ›

Five Biggest Mistakes to Avoid as an Online Student
  • Technical Difficulties. When taking an online course, it's important to ensure that you have access to a reliable computer equipped with the proper hardware. ...
  • Poor Time Management. ...
  • Lack of Participation. ...
  • Tempting Distractions. ...
  • Not Asking For Help.
3 Feb 2022

Is studying online a good idea? ›

Online education enables the teacher and the student to set their own learning pace, and there's the added flexibility of setting a schedule that fits everyone's agenda. As a result, using an online educational platform allows for a better balance of work and studies, so there's no need to give anything up.

Are online courses worth? ›

Are online courses really effective? Like any class or program, online courses are effective if designed and taught well. In fact, studies have shown that online education increases students' retention of material by up to 60% compared to in-person classes. Part of the reason is flexibility.

What are 5 issues facing students today? ›

Common Issues
  • Social anxiety, general anxiety, test anxiety, or panic attacks.
  • Family expectations or problems.
  • Depression, lack of energy or motivation, hopelessness, being overwhelmed, low self-esteem, homesickness, loneliness.
  • Relationship difficulties (emotional and physical aspects of intimate relationships)

What are the biggest problems with online education today? ›

Let's take a look at the biggest challenges facing distance education today and review some specific tips for how to overcome them.
  • #1. Technical Issues.
  • #2. Lack of Motivation.
  • #3. Feelings of Isolation.
  • #4. Effective Time Management.
  • #5. Managing Distractions and Staying Focused.

What is the biggest challenge in university? ›

10 potential challenges and how to deal with them
  1. Homesickness. One of the first challenges you may face in university is missing home. ...
  2. Transitioning to university life. ...
  3. Roommates. ...
  4. Effective studying. ...
  5. Time management. ...
  6. Budgeting. ...
  7. Relationships. ...
  8. Partying.

What are the three disadvantages of online learning? ›

Ten Disadvantages of Online Courses
  • Online courses require more time than on-campus classes. ...
  • Online courses make it easier to procrastinate. ...
  • Online courses require good time-management skills. ...
  • Online courses may create a sense of isolation. ...
  • Online courses allow you to be more independent.

Do teachers prefer remote learning? ›

Despite their well-documented struggles, about one in three teachers who'd done remote teaching this year said they would like to continue providing at least some remote instruction or had no preference. Some educators, students, and families alike have come to appreciate the flexibility that remote classes afford.

What is the most common problem in online classes? ›

Abundant Distractions, Lack of Discipline

Most students find learning online boring and often complain of lacking the motivation to make it through a class. Even teachers often complain of a lack of tools to make the classes engaging, leading to a loss of interest from both parties.

What classes does a disabled person have? ›

The legal definition of disability

They have a physical or mental impairment, and. the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Can I do a course while on disability allowance? ›

If you are getting Disability Allowance or Blind Pension and take up a place on a FET training course you receive a training allowance at the same rate as your social welfare payment. Your social welfare payment is suspended when you are on the training course.

Which engineering is best for PWD? ›

The best engineering courses for very low vision student might be electrical engineering, metallurgical engineering or automation engineering. The high vision engineering courses are mechanical engineering, architectural engineering.

What are the 4 categories of disabilities? ›

There are many types of disabilities, but Crow (2008) divides them all into four categories: visual, auditory, mobility, and cognitive.

What can disabled people get for free? ›

Travel and transport
  • How to get a blue badge for disabled parking. ...
  • Get free bus travel with a disabled person's bus pass. ...
  • Get 1/3 off rail fares with a £20/year Disabled Person's Railcard – plus 1/3 off for a friend. ...
  • You may be exempt from toll road charges. ...
  • Get a free 'offer me a seat' badge for public transport.
11 Nov 2020

How much do you get for disabled students allowance? ›

2021 to 2022 academic year

Full-time and part-time undergraduate or postgraduate students can get up to £25,000 a year for support.

How long can you stay on Disability Allowance? ›

Disability Allowance is a long-term social assistance payment for those aged 16-65 with a disability expected to last at least one year.

What can you get with disabled students allowance? ›

DSA could help by providing you with: A financial contribution towards a computer if you needed any software to help with planning and note taking. Reimbursement of cost difference between standard and ensuite accommodation if necessary. Travel allowance to enable quick travel home when necessary.

Can a PWD become doctor? ›

Candidates suffering from blindness, hearing impairment, low-vision, dwarfism, locomotor disability, and multiple sclerosis will now be able to become doctors.

Which is the highest post in PWD? ›

It is headed by the Director General (DG) who is also the Principal Technical Advisor to the Government of India. The regions and sub-regions are headed by Special DGs and Additional DGs respectively, while the zones in all state capitals (except a few) are headed by Chief Engineers.

Are you a PWD with 40% or more disability? ›

According to Section 2(r) of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, a "person with benchmark disability" means a person with not less than forty percent of a specified disability, as certified by the certifying authority. 21 types of disabilities have been covered under the Act.

Why do disabled students drop out? ›

Students with disabilities often leave school for the same reasons as general education students: They don't feel engaged in school or they get frustrated in class. But experts say they're more at risk of experiencing these problems.

Can disabled student study abroad? ›

Students with disabilities can and do study abroad, and they often say that their time abroad was the most exciting time in college. While study abroad can be challenging, the experience can help you learn more about yourself and your capabilities.


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