Five Tips for Helping International Students Access Accommodations and Disability Services

source: http://www.ohlone.edu/org/dsps/adaptivetechctr.html

International students are not homogeneous. They come to Webster University with the same variety of abilities as domestic students, and therefore they may need accommodations and special considerations in the classroom. Following is a short list of guidelines to help professors work with their international students who have, or may need, disability accommodations.

  1. There are strong cultural barriers in terms of being diagnosed with a disability. Sometimes students arrive with disabilities but no diagnosis, or with a diagnosis, but they have not met with disability services to get accommodations. All students should be encouraged from the beginning of the semester to meet with disability services if they think they may have issues with learning.
  2. Documenting international students is the same process as for domestic students. If a professor suspects a disability, the professor should encourage the student to visit the ADA Coordinator in the ARC.
  3. Sometimes students have had prolonged help throughout their academic career, so they may not realize the extent of their own needs. If a professor has provided ample time for testing and other aids for student success, and the student is still struggling, the professor can arrange for a meeting with the ESL Director and ADA Coordinator to review the students' language proficiency and skills set.
  4. Assistive technologies for students with disabilities, such as Kurzwiel, can be helpful for international students with or without disabilities. Kurzweil is a literacy tool containing a text-to-speech reader, study tools and writing tools. Professors can encourage international students who seem to be struggling with reading to make appointments with the Assistive Technology Coordinator at the ARC to gain access to these services.
  5. A disability accommodation is a modification or adjustment to the tasks, environment, or materials that enable individuals with disabilities to have an equal opportunity to participate in an academic program. For many international students, the term accommodation means housing. The use of this term in respect to disability services can be confusing to international students who may know the word only in the context of a place to live or hotels. When speaking with students, make it clear that accommodations are services that are available to students with disabilities. These conditions can include learning, physical, and psychological disabilities that may hinder academic development and success.

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Created with images by WavebreakmediaMicro - "Student in wheelchair working with a classmate"

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