Accomodation in curriculum for specifc disabilities

Attention deficit disorder is a neurological impairment characterized by inattention, impulsivity, and/or hyperactivity. Individuals may be diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A diagnosis of ADD or ADHD is typically made by psychoeducational or medical professionals following a comprehensive evaluation.


Typical accommodations for students with ADD or ADHD include:

  • extra time to complete tests or assignments
  • note takers
  • tutors or other organizational supports
  • reduced course loads
  • preferential registration for smaller classes
  • preferential seating near the front of the class
  • private, quiet locations for work and tests
  • recorded lectures
  • printed materials on audiotape or in electronic format
  • written directions

Autism spectrum disorders and Asperger syndrome are neurological disorders characterized by significant difficulties with the use of language in social situations, poor social skills, and the presence of unusual and repetitive behaviors. Students with autism spectrum disorders or Asperger syndrome have normal intelligence and, in some cases, may demonstrate exceptional skills or talents in a specific area. But the social and communicative problems associated with these disorders often make social interactions, relationships, and participation in group situations difficult. Students with an autism spectrum disorder or Asperger syndrome may show anxiety in social situations, have poor eye contact, and have difficulty understanding non-verbal cues. They often have rigid routines and may be preoccupied with a particular subject of interest. They may also be overly sensitive to touch, sounds, tastes, smells, and sights. They may engage in unusual behaviors, such as hand-flapping, which may increase with stress.

Typical accommodations for students with autism spectrum disorders or Asperger syndrome include:

  • private rooms in residence halls
  • reduced course loads
  • preferential registration for smaller classes

Students with specific learning disabilities have average to above-average intelligence, but may have difficulties acquiring and demonstrating knowledge and understanding. This often results in a significant discrepancy between age-related achievement levels and actual intellectual ability.

Specific types of learning disabilities include:

An individual with dysgraphia has difficulty with the physical task of forming letters and words using a pen and paper and has difficulty producing legible handwriting.
An individual with dyscalculia has difficulty understanding and using math concepts and symbols.
An individual with dyslexia has difficulty spelling words correctly while writing and may mix up letters within words and sentences while reading. Some individuals with dyslexia have difficulty with spatial directions, such as left and right, and may have difficulty with navigating and route-finding tasks.
An individual with dyspraxia may mix up words and sentences while talking. There is often a discrepancy between language comprehension and language production.
Non-verbal Learning Disorder
An individual with a non-verbal learning disorder may have difficulty with motor coordination, visual-spatial organization, and/or a lack of social skills.

For a student with a learning disability, auditory, visual, or tactile information can become jumbled at any point during transmission, receipt, processing, and/or re-transmission. Students with learning disabilities may take longer to process written information or may have difficulty completing reading or writing assignments and tests in a standard amount of time. Inconsistencies between knowledge and test scores are common, as are difficulties with attention, organization, time management, and prioritizing tasks.

Typical accommodations for students who have learning disabilities include:

  • note takers
  • recorded class sessions
  • extended exam times and quiet testing locations
  • visual, aural, and tactile demonstrations incorporated into instruction
  • concise course, lecture, and presentation outlines
  • publications in large print
  • audio books and e-books
  • alternative evaluation methods (e.g., portfolio, oral, or video presentations)
  • detailed printed or recorded project descriptions or instructions
  • directions reinforced verbally
  • presenting large amounts of information or instruction in smaller segments

Computer adaptations and accommodations for students with learning disabilities include:

  • software that highlights and reads text aloud
  • word processing software that includes electronic spelling and grammar checkers, highlighting capabilities, and word prediction
  • screen- and text-enlargement software

Students who are blind cannot access standard print or visual materials. Accommodations for students who are blind include computer software that reads text aloud, audio books and materials, course materials in Braille, and verbal descriptions of demonstrations and visual aids.

When providing verbal descriptions, it is important to remember that students who have been blind since birth may have difficulty understanding descriptions that rely on imagery. Consider the description “This diagram of ancestral lineage looks like a tree.” To someone who has never seen a tree, it may not be readily apparent that the structure discussed has several lines of ancestry that can be traced back to one central family. Directions and demonstrations based on color differences may also be difficult to follow. During demonstrations, provide a clear, concise narration of the basic points being represented; this technique benefits other students as well.

Providing access to printed materials on computers or websites allows a blind student to use technology to read text aloud and/or produce it in Braille. Some materials may need to be transferred to audiotape or embossed in Braille. Since it may take weeks or months to create or procure audiotape/Braille materials, it is essential that campus service staff select and prepare these materials before they are needed. School services for students with disabilities typically coordinate Braille, electronic, and audio recorded production in collaboration with staff, instructors, and the student. They may also be able to locate or create tactile models and raised-line drawings of graphic images.


Typical accommodations for students who are blind include:

  • audiotaped, Brailled or electronic-formatted notes, handouts, and texts
  • verbal descriptions of visual content
  • raised-line drawings and tactile models of graphic materials
  • Brailled equipment labels
  • auditory emergency warning signals
  • assistive lab equipment (e.g., talking thermometers and calculators, light probes, tactile timers)
  • computers with optical character readers, speech output, Braille screen displays, and embossed output

Students with low vision may face challenges outside of class that can affect their coursework. They may need assistance locating large-print materials, getting around in an unfamiliar setting (on campus), finding transportation, conducting research, hiring readers for library work, and getting audio books on time.

Typical accommodations for students with low vision include:

  • large-print reading materials (e.g., books, handouts, signs, and equipment labels); large print is typically 16 to 18 point bold type, depending on the typeface used
  • front-row or preferential classroom seating in well-lit areas with full view of the presenter and visual aids
  • assignments in electronic formats
  • computers with screen and text enlargers, optical character readers (which convert print to electronic format), or speech output
  • readers or scribes for exams
  • recorded presentations
  • laptop computers for note taking
  • extended time for exams and assignments
  • verbal descriptions of visual aides
  • monitors connected to microscopes to enlarge images

In laboratories, typical accommodations for students with low vision include:

  • large-print instructions
  • large-print laboratory signs and equipment labels
  • monitors connected to microscopes to enlarge images
  • raised-line drawings or tactile models for illustrations

Functional hearing loss ranges from mild to profound. Often, people who have very little or no functional hearing refer to themselves as “deaf.” Those with milder hearing loss may label themselves as “hard of hearing.” When these two groups are combined, they are often referred to as individuals with “hearing impairments,” with “hearing loss,” or who are “hearing impaired.” When referring to the Deaf culture, “Deaf” is capitalized.

Some students who are hard of hearing may hear only specific frequencies or sounds within a certain volume range. They may rely heavily on hearing aids and lip reading, and may never learn sign language. Students who are hard of hearing may have speech impairments as a result of their inability to hear their own voices clearly.

Students who are deaf may have little or no speech depending on the severity of the hearing loss and the age of onset. They will often communicate through sign language. American Sign Language (ASL) is widely used and has its own grammar and word order. Other students may use manual English (or signed English), which is sign language in English word order. A certified interpreter is used for translation into either language. Students who are deaf may also benefit from real-time captioning, where spoken text is typed and projected onto a screen.

Students with hearing impairments may have difficulty following lectures in large halls, particularly if the acoustics cause echoes or if the lecturer speaks quietly, rapidly, or unclearly. They may find it difficult to simultaneously watch demonstrations and follow verbal descriptions, particularly if they are lip reading or watching screen captions. They may not be able to follow or participate in group discussions.


Accommodations for students who are deaf or hard of hearing can be classified as “visual” or “aural.” Visual accommodations—including sign language interpreters, lip reading, and captioning—rely on a person’s sight; aural accommodations—including FM amplification systems and assistive listening devices (ALDs)—amplify sound.

Typical accommodations for students who have hearing impairments include:

  • interpreters
  • sound amplification systems
  • assistive listening devices (ALDs)
  • note takers
  • real-time captioning
  • email for faculty-student meetings and class discussions
  • visual warning systems for lab emergencies
  • changing computer settings from auditory signals to flash signals
  • captioned video presentations

This project is a joint intitative between Deepak Foundation and Gujarat CSR Authority.

  • logo of deepak foundation
  • logo of Gujarat CSR Authority

This project is a joint intitative between Deepak Foundation and Gujarat CSR Authority.