Inclusive Teaching Guides

information for LSE staff

The Student Wellbeing Service have created a range of guides to help teachers work in the most inclusive way possible

Our Strategic Objectives encourage departments to lead in the provision of excellent disciplinary and interdisciplinary education, ensure that graduates are well informed, critical, analytically sophisticated and globally employable, and ensure that students and staff interact to build a dynamic learning community that reflects the School’s distinctive identity.

Reflecting on inclusion and reasonable adjustments in your teaching provides an opportunity to refresh your practice ensuring it is accessible to students with diverse study experiences as well as disabilities.

Mental Health Difficulties

Mental health difficulty is a broad term used to describe a continuum between `relatively mild anxieties and frustration associated with everyday life, and severe problems affecting mood and the ability to think and communicate rationally. It is common for students to experience ‘mental health difficulties’ which may be long-term (have lasted or likely to last for a year or more) and may fluctuate. The impact on study can be wide and varied. 

Good Practice Guide: Inclusive Teaching for Students Who Experience Mental Health Difficulties.

Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs)

SpLDs (Specific Learning Difficulties – or learning differences) are thought to affect 10% of the UK population. Most common amongst students are dyslexia and dyspraxia, with a small number of diagnoses of dysgraphia or dyscalculia.

In practice very many of the characteristics co-occur and overlap. SpLDs affect the way information is processed and learned, which can have a very significant impact on formal education and study, and self- confidence. Research shows SpLDs are neurological and not linked to intellectual ability, socio-economic or language diversity. Students with SpLD often have significant compensatory strengths and can be creative and innovative thinkers.

A predominant strategy for pre-University students with SpLD is to work harder for longer. This is not a realistic long term strategy for University as to do so means students miss out on valuable opportunities for social and cultural capital.

Good Practice Guide: Inclusive Teaching for Students with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs), Including Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Dyscalculia. 

Visual Impairments

Visual impairment is the term used to describe a loss of sight that cannot be corrected using glasses or contact lenses. There are two main categories of visual impairment:

  • Registered partially sighted, which means the level of sight impairment is moderate
  • Registered blind, which means a severe sight impairment where activities that rely on eyesight become impossible

Students with visual impairments will experience varying degrees of sight loss; the majority will have some sight which may be useful for different things for each individual. For many, the visual impairment will not be obvious to others, even when someone is registered blind. Using the same teaching and learning spaces consistently is likely to be beneficial and prevent unnecessary additional effort in terms of orientation thus preserving energy for study.

Good Practice Guide: Inclusive Teaching for Students with Visual Impairment.

Unseen Impairments and Medical Conditions

Unseen impairments and medical conditions cover a wide range of diagnoses including cancer, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, pain conditions, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)/ chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and Crohn’s disease. Their effects may include fatigue, pain, general ill heath, and a need for more frequent access to food or bathroom facilities.  As well as the impacts on academic study, students often miss out on valuable opportunities for social and cultural capital.

Good Practice Guide: Inclusive Teaching for Students with Unseen Impairments and Medical Conditions

Physical & Mobility Impairments

Students with physical impairments may have difficulties with mobility, manual dexterity and speech. Some students might use a wheelchair all or some of the time, might need support with personal care and assistance navigating between teaching, learning and other spaces. Some physical impairments are fluctuating whilst others remain constant; significantly impacting on their ability to access study venues, materials and opportunities. 

Good Practice Guide: Inclusive Teaching for Students with Physical & Mobilty Impairments

Autism Spectrum Disorder (Asperger's Syndrome)

People diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) will have difficulty in

  • social communication
  • social interaction
  • social imagination

The term Asperger’s Syndrome is used to refer to the type of autism which has implications for social communication but does not affect intelligence or language development. ASD is characterised by inflexible thinking, rigid behavioural patterns, and a lack of social and communication skills. Individuals with ASD can find unexpected changes extremely stressful due to their strong adherence to rituals and routines. How ASD impacts on an individual and the strengths it provides differ on a person by person basis.

Good Practice Guide: Inclusive Teaching for Students with Autusm Spectrum Disorder (Asperger's Syndrome).

Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder [AD(H)D]

Attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (AD(H)D) is a condition that affects those parts of the brain that control attention, impulses and concentration, and can occur with or without hyperactivity. AD(H)D develops in early childhood and is most commonly noticed around the age of five. Research suggests that 80% of children diagnosed with AD(H)D continue to experience symptoms during adolescence and 67% continue to have symptoms into adulthood. It is also quite common for an individual to have co-occurring SpLDs. The impact of AD(H)D on a student may mean they miss out on valuable opportunities for social and cultural capital.

Good Practice Guide: Inclusive Teaching for Students with Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder

Deaf or Hard of Hearing

The term ‘deaf’ covers a very broad spectrum of hearing loss; ranging from mild, severe or profound, along with differing communication needs. Deaf people may wear hearing aids or have a cochlear implant; this can help some understanding of speech or environmental sounds. However, hearing aids and cochlear implants can only assist hearing, they cannot restore normal hearing.

Some deaf students may rely on lipreading and speech to communicate, others may use British Sign Language (BSL), Sign Supported English (SSE), a lipspeaker, use captioning or a notetaker. At times students may choose to use a combination of support, depending on their individual communication needs and the learning environment.

All deaf and hard of hearing students have individual needs, it is essential to check with the student which strategies they find most appropriate for their learning. 

Good Practice Guide: Working with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students



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