The Issue of Physical Access

Make sure that the classroom is accessible. Most buildings on campus have entrances that are accessible to students who use mobility aids (for example, canes, crutches, walkers) and wheelchairs. Individual classrooms and laboratories differ in how accessible they are. If you need to switch to a more accessible room, call your department secretary for assistance.

Pay attention to seating needs. Students who use canes, crutches, or walkers may need a chair or desk that is close to the door. Students with other types of disabilities may need classroom aides such as signers, lab assistants, and readers; make sure that seating is available for these aides as well. The approach to seats must be flat, without steps or uneven surfaces. Wheelchair users need flat or ramped access. Classroom tables or desks must have enough clearance for students using wheelchairs to get their legs underneath. Lab tables and computer consoles should be set up so that wheelchair users can comfortably reach the equipment.

Monitor access to out-of-class activities. Be sensitive to questions of access when planning field trips, assigning lab and computer work, and recommending visits to museums or attendance at off-campus lectures. Such activities must also be accessible to students with disabilities.