Workshop 3:Teaching Disabled Students (12:45-2:15)
Instructional Resources Center School: Biological Sciences
University of California, Irvine Department (if applicable): EcoEvo
TAPDP 2004 Works hop Facilitator(s): Sarah Kimball
Workshop Title: Teaching Students with Disabilities
Date & Time: Day 2, 12:35-2:00
Length of Workshop: 85 minutes
Abstract: This workshop will introduce Teaching Assistants to the different types of
disabled students that they may encounter in their classes, provide tips for teaching
disabled students, give facts about the disabled student population at UCI, and explain the
services that Disability Student Services offers.
Learning Objectives: TAs will list the different types of disabilities they might encounter
and will present practical teaching techniques that will assist disabled students.
TAs will also:
• Work in groups to identify and describe methods of accommodating disabled students
in their classrooms
• Discuss and describe the learning environment from the perspective of disabled students
• Prepare a mini lecture on disabilities and present to the entire group
Preparation: Arrange for a guest speaker from Disabled Student Services to explain the
services that their office provides. Prepare cards with statistics on UCI disabled student
population and cards that recognize the group leader. Make handouts on each of 5
disabilities. Make handout with statistics regarding the disabled student population (the
same information that will be on the notecards (see materials & supplies).
Room Configuration: First, the desks will face the front of the room in rows. During
group activity, chairs will be divided into 5 groups. Before group presentations, the
chairs will be moved back into the previous arrangement.
Materials & Supplies: (besides handouts/worksheets):
1. 4 flipcharts with markers
2. 14 3 x 5 index cards. 4 will state: “You will give the group presentation.” The
other 10 cards will state:
Etiquette: Wheelchairs are personal space and should not be leaned against, etc.
Shouting distorts sound through hearing aids and impairs lip reading.
9% of university students nation-wide are disabled.
Tom Cruise, who has dyslexia, learns his lines by listening to a tape.
The following celebrities have dyslexia: Erin Brockavich, James Carville, Cher, Walt
Blind people use a code of folds to identify paper money and the value of the different
bills. They use a code of rips to identify canned food.
The first recorded use of a prosthesis to replace a limb dates back to 3500BC in Sanskrit.
Queen Vishpla lost a leg in battle and was fitted with an iron prosthesis.
Braille was introduced in the US in 1860, after being developed in 1829 by Louis Braille,
The first school for disabled children, The American School for the Deaf in Hartford,
Connecticut, was founded in 1817.
The Mitalda Ziegler Magazine, the first magazine for the blind, was first published in
In 1616, G. Bonifaco published a treatise on sign language called, “The Art of Signs.”
Title(s) and filenames of handouts/worksheets/Power point presentations/etc:
1. Disabilities.pdf (5 handouts in 1 document)
2. DisabilityTrivia.pdf (Contingency Handout with Statistics)
Note: The information in the first 5 handouts is from the UC Berkeley Center for
Students with Disabilities. The information in handout 6 is from the U.S. Department of
Education and from the celebrities page from the Organization for Learning Disabled
# of Minutes Start Time: End Time: Name and Description of Teaching/Learning
10 1:00 1:10 Introduction
20 1:10 1:25 Group Activity
30 1:25 1:55 Group Presentations
5 1:55 2:00 Statistics
Time: Duration: Activity:
1:00-1:10 10 minutes Introduction
Presentation of workshop goals
“I hope that you all had a nice lunch break and that you enjoyed the diversity training.
We‟re going to continue talking about diversity in this workshop by talking about tips for
teaching disabled students. Imagine that it is your first day of teaching at UCI. You are
attempting to appear professorial and getting ready to start the class, when a student runs
up to you holding a strange looking black box with long wires and a rope. The student is
difficult to understand, but she seems to be asking you to wear this strange device around
your neck. What do you do? This actually happened to me. The student was hearing-
impaired and wanted me to wear a microtransmitter for her „assistive listening devise.‟
The purpose of this workshop is to familiarize you with disabilities that your students
may have and for all of us to work together to develop strategies for teaching disabled
If I had known what a microtransmitter was in advance, I probably would have handled
the situation a bit better. I did have experience teaching deaf students when I was at Cal
State Northridge working on my master‟s degree. CSUN has a deaf studies program, so
while I was there I had many deaf students in every class. It was a challenge to get used
to teaching with an interpreter, but it also helped me to become a better teacher. I
realized that some skills, such as writing the words of more difficult biology terms o n the
board so that the interpreter knew how to sign them, were helpful to all students in the
class. Everyone needed to know how to spell the terms. Disabled students require
diverse sets of accommodations, providing you with a plethora of methods to improve
your teaching. Deaf and blind students may have difficulties with communication, while
mobility impaired students have a different set of issues. Having a student in a
wheelchair may lead you to give your lab presentation in a more open area, which will
enable all students to have a better view of your demonstration.
Additionally, spending time with deaf students allowed me to learn about the deaf
community, which is a strong and diverse group of individuals with their own unique
culture. These techniques for teaching disabled students will help you to teach all
students and will give you an appreciation for the diversity of your students.”
“The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) means that more and more disabled students
are attending mainstream institutions. You will encounter increasing numbers of disabled
students throughout your teaching careers.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, about 6% of all undergraduate students
have a disability. What are some types of disabilities that you think you might encounter
in your classes?”
Write a list on the board as TAs suggest disabilities. The final list should include:
1. Blind and Partially Sighted Students
2. Mobility Impaired Students
3. Learning Disabled Students
4. Deaf or Hearing-Impaired Students
5. Medically Disabled Students
“Have any of you had experiences with disabilities that you‟d like to share? How do you
think the presence of a disabled student in one of your classes might cause you to alter
the way that you teach?”
Listen to future TAs explain their ideas and experiences. The workshop participants may
have friends or family members who are disabled, or they may have a disability
themselves, and will have great ideas to share.
Time: Duration: Activity:
1:10-1:25 15 minutes Group Activity
Introduction to activity
“At this point, I‟d like you to break into 4 groups of 3.”
Wait for them to arrange their chairs in 4 groups of 3 and assign each group one of the
“Each group has been assigned one of the 5 different types of disabilities listed on the
board. I will provide each group with a packet of information on each disability. This
information comes from the UCI and UC Berkeley Disability Student Services offices as
well as from several disabled advocacy groups. The packet contains general information
about each disability as well as specific techniques for teaching disabled students. Each
group should answer the following 4 questions on their flipcharts:
1. Description of your group’s assigned disability
2. Ways that you as a TA may need to alter your lecture
3. Ways that you as a TA may need to alter or assist in group work or other non-
lecture based learning that you have planned
4. Ways that you as a TA may need to alter or assist with laboratory work or lab
5. Ways that the above alterations may be helpful to ALL students
One person from each group will be randomly selected to present this information to the
You have 15 minutes to discuss your topic with your group and to answer the 4 questions
on the flipcharts. The lucky person selected from your group will present information to
Assist with group preparation
Walk around the room in order to answer any questions that the groups may have while
they are preparing their presentation.
Time: Duration: Activity:
1:25-1:55 30 minutes Group Presentations
Selection of Presenter
Prepare four groups of three pieces of paper ready in advance. Let each group member
pick one of the papers out of a hat. The paper will either have a fact regarding the UCI
disabled student population at UCI or it will inform you that you have been selected as
the person who will give the presentation that your group prepared.
“Okay. Now, we‟ll do the group presentations:
In between each presentation say this: “Does anyone have any questions for this group?
Are there any additional suggestions for working with this type of disability?”
Time: Duration: Activity:
2:55-2:00 5 minutes Statistics on UCI Disabled Population
“Those of you who did not present your group‟s information have papers with statistics
on them. Let‟s go around the room and each one of you will read a statistic.”
The statistics will be written based on statistical information provided by U.S.
Department of Education. The information will be percentages of disabled students who
graduate compared to percentage of all students who graduate, percentage of disabled
students with learning disabilities, and other facts that describe the UCI disabled student
population. Facts about disabled celebrities and other light- hearted trivia will also be
Time: Duration: Activity:
2:15-2:30 15 minutes Group Speaker
“By now, we‟ve learned about different types of disabilities and how our teaching may
need to be modified to accommodate disabled students. We‟ve also heard some statistics
about the disabled student population at UCI. I tried to get a guest speaker from the
Disability Services Center here on campus, but today is their new student orientation day,
so nobody was available. I will attempt to explain to you how disabled students become
registered with the center, the services the center provides, and how these services will
Registering with the center is a 2 step process:
1. Provide documentation of disability
2. Center verifies documentation
3. Meet with staff, register, & figure out what services they provide
Look at brochure in folder. Suggested line to put on syllabus.
Other technologies may encounter: Speech synthesizer, scan textbooks, electronic voice
reads text, Screen reader, reads what‟s on screen, Real time captioning (court reporter
style), tape recorder, guide dogs.
1. Be prepared to present information on the services that Disabled Student Services
provides myself in case the guest speaker does not show up.
2. If the group presentations take too long, pass out a handout with the disabled statistical
information instead of having TAs take turns reading the information from their cards.
Feedback from 2004 TAs:
Great way to get us thinking of all types of teaching and students
Helpful to think about ideas ahead of time
It made me realize that teaching can be difficult but everything can be addressed properly
Nice reminders about techniques that can help everyone.