How to Support Disabled Students
Information for staff on working with Disabled students
The following pages give information for staff working with students with a range of conditions that are included under the umbrella of disability. The guides give a general overview only and even two individuals with the same condition may vary considerably in terms of how they are best able to access teaching and course materials.
Services at SOAS
The Disability Service contacts all students at SOAS who have declared that they are disabled. The disability advisors aim to meet all disabled students as soon as possible to discuss what needs to be in place to ensure they are able to access the course. As a result of that conversation, an agreed summary of the student’s support needs is drawn up. Once the disability office has received supporting medical or other evidence and the student has agreed, the agreement is sent to the course convenor or undergraduate tutor and the faculty student support office.
A few ideas for initial contact with students
Make it clear to all students that you aim to make your classes accessible.
Ask students at the start if they need adjustments and invite them to come and see you or to e-mail you for an appointment. Make it clear that any information will always be kept strictly confidential unless they agree to it being shared with other tutors.
Talk individually to students about their needs. Students have different learning needs and are members of diverse communities: a student with dyslexia may also be a single parent and a student with depression may also be struggling with finance. Talking to students about their individual needs helps to avoid pigeonholing students into specific groups with predictable and fixed approaches to learning.
Feel free to ask the Student Disability Advisors for any advice you might need. (Angie Axon and Zoë Davis firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7074 5018).
Demos Project: online learning package
Aimed specifically at academic staff, this package examines the issues faced by disabled students in higher education.
Making your teaching inclusive
This site is full of practical advice about teaching inclusively and will give you an insight into what study is like for disabled students.
The aim of these materials is to make the research environment more accessible to disabled post-graduate students.
Social Model of Disability
Article by Tom Shakespeare on the Leeds University disabilities archive
See also Demos materials above.