Millions of people in the world have some kind of disability. This population lacks proper services to help live a better life. This is why the majority have lower education, poor health, and limited economic achievements. To promote equality across the world, accessibility to services should be equal. This includes having universities provide equitable education access. Students with disabilities should have equal opportunities just like other students. The law also requires universities to provide equal opportunities to students with disabilities through accommodations
What are accommodations for disabled students
Accommodations involve giving students with disabilities equal opportunities as others. Students with disabilities are given an equal opportunity to benefit from education. Think of accommodation as a change in how things are normally done. Schools must provide accommodations for disabled students. This practice started decades ago. It started when public schools were required to offer accommodations to disabled students. Since then, most schools offer accommodations. Accommodations should be at no cost. Below, with discuss some types of accommodations that universities should offer.
Common accommodations for students with disabilities
- Housing accommodations
Universities should provide housing accommodations for students with disabilities. This shows commitment to equality in university housing. It gives students with disabilities equal access to school facilities. So, students with disabilities should be able to get a room within the school. This makes it easier for them to move. This is for the students who wish to live in schoolhouses. Some students with disabilities may prefer independence. So, they may choose to live outside the school.
Universities should also ensure that the houses are accommodative for the students. Providing any room is not enough. Students with disabilities may need rooms with some accommodations. For example, some students will need an air-conditioned room. Universities should assign such students rooms with air conditioning. Other students may need rooms with a private washroom. Universities should have such type of units for disabled students. The rooms should also be physically accessible especially for those using wheelchairs.
Other housing accommodations that students with disabilities may request include;
- Automatic door opener
- Students with hearing impairments may need a visual doorbell
- Smoke detector for students with hearing impairments
- Spaced room for medical equipment.
- Areas will fewer distractions such as traffic noise
- Emotional support animals
These are just some of the housing accommodations that universities should offer. This way, students will disabilities can have a favorable environment to live in.
- Provide support aids and services
Students with disabilities need additional support to learn like other students. For example, they may need assistive technology. This helps in doing tasks easily, independently, and effectively. Such technologies include recording devices, screen readers, and language interpreters. These aids make learning a lot easier for disabled students. Universities should have centers dedicated to assistive technologies. Such centers should be accessible to any student.
Students with disabilities will have different dining requirements. For example, some may need specific diets. This means tailoring menus to meet such needs. This may also mean modifying dining policies and procedures for an integrated setting.
- School accommodations
Physical environments can be a challenge for students with disabilities. If a school is not properly structured, disabled students may have access problems. Such barriers should be removed. All buildings should be accessible. This includes classes. Disabled students should be able to get in and out of classes easily. They should not have to rely on others.
- Classroom accommodations
Some classroom environments may be unsuitable for disabled students. For example, disabled students may need different testing arrangements. Such arrangements include; first, extended time for doing tests. For example, students with learning disabilities or auditory or visual challenges may need more time to complete tests.
Second, some students may need time during tests to take a drink. Third, disabled students may need test-readers. Different disabilities will need different test accommodations. Universities should provide such accommodations.
Disabled students may need to record lectures. Universities should have policies to support such accommodations.
Disabled students may need course materials in different formats. Such formats include large print, Braille, audio, or electronic format.
Disabled students may also need special classroom arrangements. For example, some may need to seat close to the board. Making such accommodations is necessary for integrated learning.
- Transport accommodations
Some disabled students need help moving around the school. Universities should provide supportive transportation services. The vehicles used for transportation should be accommodative. For example, they should have a proper lift for those using wheelchairs.
What should students do?
Students with disabilities should know that they have a right to ask for accommodations. But this is usually a process. Only reasonable accommodations are offered. Students should start by applying for accommodations. This involves; first, providing information about the disability. Second, you need to provide documents as proof of the disability. The university will then determine if you are eligible for accommodations. If your case is approved, you will be notified. The information you share about your disability remains confidential. So, don’t be afraid to share it. You are the only one who can share that information.
Universities should provide reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. The accommodations should be offered on an individual basis. This is the only way we can ensure that everyone is included in education. The accommodations enable students with disabilities to have a better experience in school. They need such an experience to be more effective.