Back-to-School Accessibility Tips
Updated: Sep 6
In 2023, public schools in the United States admitted 7.3 million students with a disability. Children who use a mobility solution often face accessibility challenges when going to school, like entering classrooms, lunchrooms, and hallways. This article will discuss accessibility tips to help your children navigate school.
While there is still work to be done for improvements in school systems, many have prioritized having teachers work directly with students to make sure they understand the material. Examples include helping children with social interactions, navigating hallways, classrooms, and lunchrooms, and common independent learning strategies to be aware of.
Social interactions with a disability
For children, learning and developing good communication skills is imperative for several reasons. Communication skills help build relationships and the ability to express your feelings clearly. The benefits of solid communication are endless. However, it takes work, and your child's skills will grow with consistent practice! Below are helpful tips your child can benefit from with your help!
Look for classes, activities, and events for your child that fit their interests.
Practice using basic greetings with your child so that when they meet others, it will be comfortable.
Try to be in touch with other parents to see if their child can have planned activities with your child.
If your child gets frustrated, help them communicate their feelings with you.
Navigating school with a disability
Being able to help our children navigate school is imperative to learn and improve basic skills. Even if your school corporation offers student disability services, it’s necessary to be the best advocate for your child. Below are important questions we recommend finding answers to from your school corporation!
What student learning accommodations do you offer?
What accommodations exist, and how do we know which one applies to my child?
What has this institution done to become more accessible to students with disabilities?
What resources do you have in terms of assistive technology?
What’s the process for communicating accommodations with teachers? What happens if a teacher won’t grant accommodation?
How is disability incorporated into the school’s equality efforts?
Standard test-taking accommodations
As the rate of students with learning disabilities increases, it's important to use different strategies and techniques to help students understand what's being taught. When you meet with your child's teacher, ask them what methods they use in class. To make sure your child is learning appropriately, listed below are productive test-taking accommodations we suggest asking about if not mentioned by your child's teacher.
Using large print tests.
Allowing students to take a test in a separate room to block distractions.
Breaking the test down into different sections to simplify the material.
Having access to teacher notes during a test.
Reducing complicated language in test questions and separating items when spacing them on the test.
Having a teacher read the test to the student as needed.
Added time to complete tests.
Accessibility and accommodation need to improve in school corporations for our children to learn safely and effectively at a high level. Thankfully, there are early signs of progress, and we hope accessibility continues to progress and be a focus for school corporations nationwide. For more mobility tips, follow us on Facebook and just out our blog page!
- https://caring.childstory.nsw.gov.au/everyday-caring/caring-for-kids-with-disabilities/chapters/social-skills-for-kids-with disabilities#:~:text=encourage%20them%20to%20look%20at,and%20dealing%20positively%20with%20conflict