FOR HELPING THE
STUDENT WITH A MOBILITY IMPAIRMENT
- There are many different
types of mobility
limitations, with varying functions and needs. Some of these are
Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Paraplegia and
Quadriplegia. Some students using wheelchairs are totally
independent, while others do need
a great deal of assistance.
- One of the biggest
difficulties is getting to
class. Electric wheelchairs often break down and, along with
manual chairs, are subject
to flat tires. The weather presents problems, too.
Wheelchairs get stuck in the snow, electric batteries can freeze and go
dead, belts will become wet and slide -- all of which leave the student
stranded. Even students who have pushers may not make it to class
on time because the pushers may not show up, and it is hard to get a
push on short notice. It is also difficult to get a pusher for a
special unscheduled push, i.e., an appointment with a professor.
- Some students are unable
to take notes or are not able
to keep up with a rapid lecture. Therefore, the student may rely
upon another student to take notes. You might also have copies of
outlines made for that student.
- Teaching podiums in
lecture halls are sometimes
inaccessible to students using wheelchairs because of stairs. In
this case, try to stop by and see how the student is doing, in case
they are unable to
see you after class. Also, some students are unable to come down
hear the lecture or see the blackboard, so keep this in mind and try to
make sure you speak loudly enough, and write big enough.
- Give thought to
structuring lab experiences for
someone in a wheelchair. If the student's arm/hand mobility is
limited, could she/he participate in such an experience on a "buddy
system" with another student doing the active experience portion of the
- Exams are difficult for
some students. They may
not be able to write as fast as the other students so that the time
limit is not appropriate. You may want to see if they would want
to take an exam in some other way. Examples: Oral exam,
exams out of class (in teacher's office), take-home, typing of answers,
T.A. or someone else writing under dictation from the student.
- The student with lower
body mobility problems only is
just like any other student sitting down. Don't assume there will
be difficulties encountered.
- The most important thing
for an instructor to remember
is that each student using a wheelchair has different needs and the
instructor should become aware of these needs as soon as she/he learns
of a student using
a wheelchair in the class.
- If you have any
questions about any of the information
presented above, call the Student Accessibility Center at 229-6287,
stop by Mitchell Hall Room 112, or e-mail Victoria Groser at email@example.com.
Last updated: July 15, 2005