“Of the students who report having disabilities, the largest and fastest-growing group is students who have ‘invisible disabilities.’”

One of my greatest challenges as an English instructor is to address the learning needs of students with invisible disabilities, such as anxiety disorders. This population is growing at an astonishing rate. Between 2008 and 2016, the number of college students diagnosed with or treated for anxiety problems jumped from 10 to 17 percent (Petersen, 2017).  What’s a teacher to do?  When I asked my school’s Disability Resource Services director for advice, he recommended using a flexible Universal Design approach. Universal Design principles suggest using multiple strategies for engaging learners and allowing students to have multiple ways to complete assignments.

Burgstahler, Sheryl and Rebecca Cory. Universal Design in Higher Education: From Principles to Practice. Harvard Education Press, 2008.

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