Workshops for disabled students – my 5 top tips

Whether you are about to deliver your first group work for disabled students, or you have lots of experience, I hope my 5 top tips will be helpful:

  • Prepare

Run your slides through the accessibility checker (as you may be emailing your slides to the students after the session).

If delivering in-person go and check the room to make sure it’s a nice, appropriate space (and easy for the students to find). Book the room for an extra 15 mins in case any students want to chat with you at the end.

Think about timings. If encouraging participation (which would be good to do), I find exercises and conversations can run over, so don’t have too many slides and try and keep them quite concise.

As for content, I have learned a few, clear messages, and suggestions on your chosen theme/s work well. What information / message are you trying to get across?

Workshops on adjustments and/or sharing information (some people refer to this as disclosure) tend to be popular however numbers can sometimes be low, so ask the Disability Service and the marketing/comms person in your Careers Service to help with promoting it.

  • Introduce yourself

At the beginning of the workshop, I like to introduce myself and explain my motivation for running the workshop / the topics I’ll be covering. 

I explain that I’m not a legal expert, and not expert on every disability/condition but then I go on to talk about my areas of disability knowledge, and my experience working with disabled students and graduates.

  • Language

I also like to say something to the students about language. I say that they may be familiar with the term disclosure but that I’ll be using sharing information and explain why I choose to use that term. I make the point that I hope any language used during the session doesn’t offend anyone and I say something about being aware that you may not see yourself as disabled or having a disability.

  • Feedback

If you’d like to get some feedback, instead of asking students to fill out a form, leave some time at the end to ask them what other things they would like to see covered. This’ll be helpful when planning future workshops.

  • Give yourself some time

Students may have shared challenging or complex situations with you during the session or perhaps you’d like to digest how it went, possibly writing down a few notes for next time. It can be nice to talk to colleagues about how your session went. I try to leave a gap in my calendar before my next appointment or meeting so I can relax a bit and reflect.

Edmund Lewis, LSE, AGCAS Disability Task Group


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