The methods, materials and strategies that are currently used in the ABE classroom generally work well for students with disabilities. These include:
- Basic Physical Access
Classrooms and bathrooms that will be used by students with disabilities must be barrier free. Likewise, drinking fountains, desks and bathroom sinks need to be accessible to all students. Keep the classroom clear of obstacles especially for wheelchair users, mobility challenged students and students with visual impairments. Table height may need to be adjusted for students who use wheelchairs or have unique seating needs.
- Intellectual and Emotional Access
Teachers must prepare lessons that will be accessible to all students. It might take additional teacher time.
Finally, ensure that students with and without disabilities respect one another. Some students might be willing to explain their disabilities to their classmates. The students can research the disability on the Internet.
Provide large print materials when necessary. Assistive devices such as padded pencils, lined paper, colored acetate overlays. Large key calculators and page holders should be available. Use the accessibility features on computers. Consider using a small computer keyboard for students that have limited range of motion. Allow students who have a disability to choose the area of the classroom that they believe will be most conducive to learning. How will a scribe and additional materials and equipment fit in your budget?
- Additional Help
Consider using a volunteer tutor to assist a student with a severe disability. The volunteer tutor should be supervised by a classroom teacher.
- In Case of Emergency
Evacuation plans should be in place for any student who would have difficulty moving quickly in an emergency.
- Students with disabilities tend to have more frequent medical problems. What is the program’s attendance policy? What is the program’s policy for absence due to medical appointments or illness? Students with disabilities should have the same requirements for reporting an absence. Scheduled rides on mobility buses or cabs are not always reliable. What will your student’s responsibility be?