Mobility and Physical Disabilities - Instructional Strategies

This page contains instructional strategies for faculty who have SF State students with mobility or physical disabilities, enrolled in their classes.  The best instructional strategy is to facilitate the accommodations that the student is authorized for. You have the right to view the student's accommodation letter at any time. In addition, below are some strategies that some students have found helpful. Please contact the DPRC with any questions about these recommendations. Contact us at (415) 338-2472 or

Instructional Strategies

The following strategies are suggested to enhance the accessibility of course instruction, materials, and activities for students with mobility or physical disabilities. They are general strategies designed to support individualized reasonable accommodations.


  • On your syllabus, include a Disability Access Statement inviting students with disabilities to request accommodations. DPRC has developed the following Disability Access Statement for course syllabi: "Students with disabilities who need reasonable accommodations are encouraged to contact the instructor. The Disability Programs and Resource Center is available to facilitate the reasonable accommodations process. The DPRC, located in SSB 110, can be reached by telephone at 338-2472 (voice/TTY) or by e-mail at"
  • If necessary, arrange for a room change before the term begins.
  • Special seating arrangements may be necessary to meet student needs.  Students may require special chairs, lowered tables on which to write, or spaces for wheelchairs.  In laboratory courses, students who use wheelchairs may need lower lab tables to accommodate their chairs and allow the use of equipment.
  • If possible, try not to seat wheelchair users in the back row.  Move a desk or rearrange seating at a table so the student is part of regular classroom seating.
  • Students with upper body weakness may not be able to raise their hands to participate in class discussion.  Establish eye contact with the students and call on them when they indicate that they wish to contribute.
  • Make arrangements early for field trips and ensure that accommodations will be in place on the given day (e.g., transportation, site accessibility).
  • Make sure accommodations are in place for in-class written work (e.g., allowing the student to use a scribe, to use adaptive computer technology, or to complete the assignment outside of class).
  • Be flexible with deadlines: assignments that require library work or access to sites off-campus will consume more time for a student with a mobility impairment.
  • Please understand that for reasons beyond their control, students with severe mobility impairments may be late to class.  Some are unable to move quickly from one location to another due to architectural barriers, inadequate public transportation, or temporary obstacles on campus.
  • Not all mobility impairments are constant and unchanging; some students experience exacerbations or relapses requiring bed rest or hospitalization.  In most cases, students are able to make up the incomplete work, but they may need extra time.
  • When in doubt about how to assist the student, ask him or her.
  • Allow the student the same anonymity as other students (i.e., avoid pointing out the student or the alternative arrangements to the rest of the class).


If your questions are not answered by what is in the information please contact the DPRC at (415) 338-2472 (voice/TTY) or