Information for Teaching and Professional Staff
The links on the left menu offer information on teaching and supporting student's with various disabilities. Each link introduces the condition/diagnosis/difficulty, and goes on to explore how these may influence a student's academic performance and participation in college life. The purpose of this information is to raise awareness of the challenges that can be experienced by student's with disabilities.
Each section suggests ways in which you, as a member of staff, can support student's with disabilities. Bear in mind that these are general guidelines, and that every student is different- the difficulties and strategies identified are not exhaustive.
This information is available to download in a Disability Awarness booklet by clicking this link.
General strategies staff can use to support students with disabilities
Follow Inclusive Curriculum practices:
The main way to support student's with disabilities is to follow inclusive teaching and assessment practices. The Trinity Inclusive Curriculum Website is an extensive resource with good practice guidelines that enable you to support all students. Often, one action (e.g. circulating notes in advance) can benefit many different student's for many different reasons. Academic staff can consider accessibility when designing curricula so as to lessen the need for future reasonable accommodations.
Further help on creating an inclusive learning environemnt is porvided by the Trinity Inclusive Curriculum tool at: www.tictool.ie.
For more information on this tool please refer to the CAPSL website at: http://www.tcd.ie/CAPSL/TIC/evaluation/.
Implement reasonable accommodations
It is important for Schools and Departments to access student LENS reports on Sharepoint and to implement any reasonable accommodations recommended with efficiency and discretion. Please note that College has a duty to comply with (i) the Equal Status Act, 2000 which provides that an educational establishment cannot discriminate in relation to the access of a student to any course, facility or benefit provided by the establishment and (ii) the Disability Act 2005, which places a statutory obligation on public service providers to support access to services and facilities for people with disabilities.If you have any queries, we encourage you to contact the Disability Service.
We encourage students to disclose if they have a disability so that College can work with the student on exploring the impact of their disability on college experience. This allows for any necessary reasonable accommodations to be identified and facilitated in collaboration with the student. A short sentence on the course outline handout at the start of the year to the effect that adjustments can be made for students with documented disabilities may encourage an apprehensive student to disclose. Student's register with the Disability Service by providing documentation. When they meet with a Disability Officer, the student can decide how much information they wish to disclose to their department or school. Disclosure is particularly important for students on professional courses to consider, before going on placements.
Be mindful and open!
All students bring a unique set of strengths and experiences to college and students with disabilities are no exception. While many learn in different ways, their differences do not imply inferior abilities. Reducing course requirements for students with disabilities is not required, but instead it may be necessary to modify teaching and assessment practices to be more inclusive.
It is important to note that a lot of disabilities may not be so apparent, for example, mental health difficulties, medical illnesses, or learning difficulties.
Reading this information is a great first step in supporting students with disabilities. An understanding of the difficulties students with disabilities may face in college is very important. Student's with disabilities are responsible for disclosing their disabilities and identifying what they need and implementing personal strategies to support them. The co-operation, flexibility, and understanding of academic and administrative staff are vital too. Every student is different. It is often helpful to ask a student that you may come into contact with how you can support them. If you are teaching staff, you can highlight at the beginning of a module that students are welcome to approach you if they have any particular difficulties that affect their learning.