Working with Students
Students bring a unique set of strengths and experiences to SMCM and students with disabilities are no exception. While many learn in different ways, their differences do not imply inferior capabilities. There is no need to dilute curriculum or to reduce course requirements for students with disabilities. However, accommodations may be needed, as well as modifications in the way information is presented, and in methods of testing and evaluation.
For verification of a student’s disability status, the student may provide faculty with an accommodation letter from Disability Support Services as well as a letter will be delivered to each faculty member’s Accommodate Portal. These letters are produced only for students who are registered with the office and for whom documentation of the disability is on file.
Initial questions to ask yourself after reading a letter of accommodations include:
- What barriers does the student experience in a classroom?
- How do the accommodations help the student access the content, the class, the environment?
- How can St. Mary’s College of Maryland create an accessible experience for these elements of the class? (Addressing the different types of experiences in the class/groups, presentations, tests/quizzes, papers, etc.)
The best way to understand students’ needs is to engage in private conversations with them.
Guidelines for Working with Students with Disabilities
Do not hesitate to call the Coordinator of Disability Support Services to arrange for a meeting between you, the CDSS, and/or the student to work out any issues and to collaborate on the best instructional strategies for the student.