The Benefits of Distance Learning for Disabled Students
Living your daily life with a disability is challenging enough, but for some young disabled people pursuing further education is a step too far especially if that entails living and studying away from home. Online education offers an opportunity to follow dreams that would otherwise have seemed out of reach.
For many disabled students, just making it to campus and into a classroom can be problematic. Not all universities, especially the older ones, offer specially adapted accommodation or ease of access to lecture theatres, social areas and the like. Depending upon the nature of their disability, some students may have a full-time carer who will require adjoining accommodation too and this is not always easy to find.
However, online classes allow students to work from anywhere with internet access; their own bedroom for instance. This removes the need for travel and special accommodation and takes away a large amount of the stress these challenges can cause. The computer and workstation will already be suited to the student’s individual needs; it’s just a case of logging in and working.
Stress free zone
Even in today’s all-inclusive society, people with physical disabilities can still feel uncomfortable and self-conscious in a classroom environment. This leads to stress which in turn can cause loss of focus on the course. Distance learning removes this stress whilst still allowing students to socialise through forums and webinars.
With the exception of online webinars and tutorials, distance learning offers totally flexible study times. Sometimes, people with disabilities find that they function better at certain times of the day or may need to take frequent breaks and online learning allows the flexibility to do this.
Hospital appointments, time out for physiotherapy sessions and the like can be accommodated without disrupting the student’s progress or causing them to miss lectures and fall behind their classmates.
Easier Social Interaction
Whilst it’s true to say that some students dislike the decreased element of physical social interaction that distance learning comes with, this can work to the advantage of the disabled student, depending upon the nature of their disability.
Course discussions usually happen online via a discussion board and some students may find it preferable and easier to type and post their comments than to participate verbally in a classroom situation. If a student has impaired hearing for example, it’s clearly easier for them to read what’s being discussed. Students with physical disabilities are not faced with the prospect of having to travel to and from discussion groups which may be problematic.