Faculty Awareness and Training in the Post-Secondary Community: An Annotated Bibliography

Dawson College

Montreal, Quebec

Teaching College Students with Disabilities: A Guide For Professors


The suggestions included in this 41-page manual are based primarily on the experiences of college and university professors who have taught disabled students. The main conclusion presented is that faculty awareness is most effective when professors share tips and advice with their colleagues on accommodating special needs. The purpose of this guide is to improve communication between professors and students.

The guide is the result of research compiled by a group of students, professors, service providers, consultants and administrators at Dawson College. This group investigated concerns and issues both of students who have disabilities and the professors who teach them. The publication focuses on faculty concerns and recommendations. The research team talked to 74 professors who have taught disabled students and 37 students with disabilities. 54 of the professors who participated in the study have been nominated by their students as being outstanding professors in the past with respect to accommodating and teaching disabled students. Professors and students consulted for this study made more than 500 recommendations. The recommendations in Teaching College Students With Disabilities: A Guide for Professors will help professors feel confident and comfortable when dealing with students with special needs.

A survey was developed for the research which asked question such as:

  • "What can professors do to make their courses more manageable for students with physical disabilities?"
  • "What can post-secondary educational institutions do to make academic life more manageable for physically disabled students and their professors?"
  • "What do outstanding professors do?"
  • "What should be done in problematic situations?"

This guide covers the following topics:

  • What to do when you find out that you have a student with a disability in your class.
  • What to do when a student with a disability is often absent.
  • How to use everyday words related to a student's disability such as "See", "Hear" and "Walk."
  • What to do when a student with a disability is failing a course.

Recommendations regarding teaching students with visual impairments, mobility and muscular impairments, hearing and speech impairments, learning disabilities and head injuries are then discussed.

There is a second book created from this research that discusses how students relate to their professors. It is a valuable resource that shows the student's responsibility for their own education and their relationship with professors. This book is called Students And Their Professors: A Guide For The College Student With a Disability.

The guides were developed with support from Fonds Pour la Formation de Chercheurs et l'Aide a la Recherche (FCAR). Both manuals are available in large print, on computer disk and in Braille versions. Contact Dr. Catherine Fichten to receive alternate formats. In 1989, both publications won an award from the American service provider organization the Association on Higher Education and Disability. This publication continues to be a popular reference source.

Catherine S. Fichten
Dawson College
Psychology Department
3040 Sherbrooke St. West
Montreal, Quebec
H3Z 1A4
Phone: 514-931-8731 ext. 1546
TTY: Available on request
Fax: 514-340-7507
Web site: