4. How to make feasible adaptations to your learning environment

The inclusion of people with disabilities in mainstream academic education also means a need to ensure that people with disabilities have equal rights in accessing the educational opportunities the University offers.

What does this mean in practice? 

The answer to this question is not that obvious and may be different for different people. Therefore, it is reasonable to adopt a few principles which may be guidelines leading to the right outcome. These principles may be very practical guidelines, such as economic sense or effectiveness in providing equal opportunities to someone with a disability. 

On the other hand, however, the adjustments made should also be prepared in response to the individual educational needs of a given person. Indispensable in this context, is empowerment, i.e., autonomy and the right to decide for oneself. 

The aim of any accommodation is to give that person a chance to develop their potential, and so exemption from all obligations should be a last resort, even if accepting it would be compatible with maintaining the academic standard. Moreover, it is exactly this standard that should be the most important of the factors determining the extent to which an adjustment is made. The knowledge, skills, and competencies that can be achieved by studying at University are the driving force for undertaking studies, and therefore represent a value for any student with a disability too.

Look at the example cases below. Think about what difficulties these students might face when attending your course meetings

Want to know more and prepare a plan for your next course session incorporating these accommodations? You can use materials available at:

https://www.siho.be/en/publications/guideline-universal-design  .

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