Working with Students with Disabilities: A Faculty/Staff Guide
General Strategies for Interacting with Students with Disabilities
Do not assume a student with a disability needs your
help. Ask before doing.
If the student accepts your offer of assistance, ask how
you can best help and follow his or her directions.
Talk directly to the student with a disability, not
through the student’s companion or interpreter.
Refer to a student’s disability only if it is relevant to
the conversation. If so, refer to the person first and
then the disability. “A student who is blind” is better
than “a blind student” because it emphasizes the
person first. Be sure if you need to refer to a student’s
particular disability, use appropriate terminology.
Avoid negative descriptions of a student’s disability.
Saying “a person who uses a wheelchair” is more
appropriate than “a person confined to a wheelchair”
since a wheelchair provides mobility.
Most students have disabilities that are not visible. It
is inappropriate to ever say, “You don’t look disabled.” Invisible or hidden disabilities can have an
academic impact just as much as obvious disabilities.