From Academician’s Office to Physics Lab for Students with Special Needs

A Guide for Transformation

in Towards Inclusion of All Learners through Science Teacher Education
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This chapter focuses on the transformation of an academician’s office into a physics lab for students with special needs. It is written for science teachers and other educators wishing to create an accessible laboratory. By tracing the entire process, from the early transformation of walls, floors and furniture to the rigorous testing of the space by students with visual, auditory, and physical disabilities, this chapter provides suggestions and principles gleaned from the literature and experience. Also included are detailed descriptions about the innovative educational materials designed for physics learners with special needs, including information on some of the many adaptive kits that were developed on topics ranging from electrostatics to pressure. To ensure that the kits are situated and organized in an accessible manner, bookshelves are color-coded with a small tactile symbol and a barcode for smartphone usage directing students to a captioned, descriptive video about the kit materials. Also included are instructions on making doors and windows accessible, addressing safety issues such as sharp corners on furniture, using screen readers and scanners for accessibility, and how the creation of tactile figures on walls can convey important information for students. Ease and cost-effectiveness were considerations when making this laboratory accessible.

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