Science Laboratory Accommodations

Guide for faculty on adapting laboratory courses for students with disabilities

A disability does not necessarily mean that a student cannot perform lab techniques. If modifications are required, it may be a matter of:

  • adapting equipment
  • pairing the student with another student
  • pairing the student with an assistant

General guidelines

Consider the following when trying to adapt laboratory experiments and processes for students with disabilities.

  • Discuss safety concerns with the student and a disability specialist from the campus disability resources office.
  • Ensure that safety equipment is adapted according to a student's disability. For example:
    • label safety equipment with Braille or large print labels
    • lengthen pull chains
    • put visual or auditory warning systems in place
  • Assign group lab projects in which all students contribute according to their abilities.
  • Arrange lab equipment so that it is easily accessible for students with disabilities.
  • Give oral and written lab instructions.
  • Provide raised-line drawings and tactile models of graphic materials for the students with visual impairments.
  • Work with the student and campus disability services office to identify, modify, and provide appropriate lab equipment, such as:
    • adjustable tables
    • ramps
    • talking thermometers and calculators
    • liquid label indicators
    • large print and tactile timers
    • computers

Adaptations can often be made without resorting to expensive equipment. Student Disability Resources can serve as a resource for laboratory modifications.