This page provides information on the potential issues for students with particular impairments in laboratories, workshops and studios. See also some examples of the reasonable adjustments that could be made.
These settings can be hazardous and safety should always be considered when making individual arrangements for students. In all these environments it is important to think about the setting, the equipment and the practical activity.
Practical activities may present particular and significant challenges for blind and visually impaired students because they are so visually orientated. This applies to any instructions or demonstrations you may provide as well as the activities students undertake for themselves.
Practical activities can play to the strengths of many students with specific learning difficulties, who often also find the more multi-sensory approach to practical tasks is very helpful. However, students with coordination or dyspraxic difficulties find some aspects of practical activities particularly difficult and may benefit from working with others. Students with Asperger's syndrome and autism often find teamwork in practical learning environments very stressful.
The following table summarises the difficulties that may arise for students with specific learning difficulties, but also points out the benefits of practical learning.
|Difficulties may arise with||On the other hand, the benefits may be|
|taking notes||learning by doing|
|multi-tasking - writing, listening and observing||learning from making mistakes but being able to correct them|
|speed of processing auditory and visual material affecting reading speeds and accuracy||working with others|
|visual processing difficulties, especially if information is poorly presented||watching actions rather than having to just listen to instructions|
|managing complex diagrams and maps||using creative and artistic skills|
|time management and organisational skills||seeing the whole picture whilst others struggle through various stages|
|numeracy - recording mathematical details accurately and at speed||writing up short reports from templates rather than long free flowing essays|