Accommodation Solutions Online

Flexibility or Assistance With Field Trips

Assistance during field trips refers to any modifications to transportation, locations, activities, or equipment needed to allow a student with a disability to fully participate in field experiences.

There are many reasons a student may need accommodation during a field trip Students with mobility impairments may require special transportation and assistance with access issues when on site. For example, if the field trip is to explore a facility, a faculty member would need to ensure that whatever aspects of the facility are to be explored are accessible to the student with a mobility impairment or an equitable experience can be provided. Other field trips may involve outdoor activities such as archeological digs or field stations. In those cases, arrangements may need to be made in advance so the student may participate. In addition, some activities may need to be altered to ensure the safety of the student.

There are a number of actions that faculty and students can take to ensure all students have the opportunity to engage in field experiences such as:

  • Consider altering activities to allow students with disabilities to achieve the same learning objectives. This could be as simple as pairing the student with a disability with another student or may require the creation of an alternate activity.
  • Provide a Blind or visually impaired students with a raised line diagram or map, or verbal description of the area that is to be visited.
  • Allow sufficient time for a student with a mobility or visual impairment to fully experience and understand what is being presented during the field trip.
  • If the students are required to record data or experiences make sure that the student with a visual impairment or a mobility impairment has access to a tape recorder to record observations or data and allow them time to write up their experiences. Work with the student to find equipment that will allow for full participation in the field trip experience. This might include magnifiers for a visually impaired student or an portable FM system for a student with a hearing impairment. Label material, supplies, and equipment with regular print, large print, and/or Braille, as appropriate for the vision impaired student.
  • Pair the student with a vision impairment with a sighted student. Then have the non-impaired student describe the activities and outcomes as they are observed.

Responsibilities


Student

Students are responsible for meeting with faculty and collaborating on alterations that may need to be made to allow them to fully participate in a field trip and to bring in the services for students with disabilities office if there is a need for special equipment or other auxiliary aids.

Faculty

It is the responsibility of faculty to coordinate with the student in advance of the field trip to ensure that the student with a disability has the same ability to benefit from the field trip as student without disabilities.

Administration

The services for students with disabilities office is responsible for notifying faculty of the student's need for accommodation and providing the faculty and student with assistance in obtaining specialized transportation, interpreters or any other resources necessary to facilitate the student’s participation in the field trip.

Resources

Related Functional Characteristics

Motor Skill (Gross Upper) : Students may need assistance if they are unable to manipulate laboratory materials or if field trip sites present difficulties.

Motor Skill (Gross Lower) : Arrangements may need to be made to provide accessible field sites

Motor Skill (Fine) : Students may need assistance with tasks requiring fine motor control.

Reach Restriction : Students may need assistance if the field trip involves activities that require the student to reach.

Fatigue (Physical) : Modifications may need to be made for students with physical fatigue if field trips require extensive walking or physical activities.

Breathing Difficulty : Students may need to know the environment in which the field trip is to take place if they suffer from allergies or certain environments would impact their breathing.

Susceptibility to Infection : Students with weakened immune systems may require flexibility if participating in field trips would expose them to increased risks of infection.

Pain Management : It may be necessary to provide resting periods or other alterations for field trips that require standing or sitting for long periods or strenuous activity.

Risk for Injury : Students may need assistance on field trip settings to avoid cutting themselves on sharp objects, coming in contact with fungus or other contaminants, becoming burned or contracting frost bite.

Seizures : Students may need assistance in order to eliminate potential seizure triggers in field trip settings.

Bodily Function Control : Students may need to be advised of whether restroom facilities are available during outdoor field trips.

Climate Sensitivity : Modifications may need to be made for students with climate sensitivity if field trips involve exposure to extremes in temperature.

Allergies : Modifications may need to be made for students with severe allergies of field trips involve exposure to pollen, mold, animal dander, food product derivatives, or other allergens.

Low Vision : Students may need assistance on field trips so they can participate in activities that require normal vision.

Glare Sensitivity : Students may need to be advised to wear sunglasses or visors if they are sensitive to glare and the field trip is to take place in an outdoor or very bright environment.

Color Vision Deficiency : If the field trip involves demonstrations that are color dependent, there may need to be someone who describes the impact of color during the field trip.

Blindness : Students may need assistance on field trips so they can participate in activities that typically use a large amount of visual stimuli.

Hearing Loss : An FM system or other assistive technology may be necessary for student with a hearing impairment.

Deafness : Students may need an interpreter or other assistive technology in order to fully participate in a field trip experience.

Numbness : Students may need assistance in field trip settings when numbness limits their ability to participate or when participation could be unsafe (e.g. using extremely hot or cold substances).

Sensory Distractibility : Students may need something to muffle sound in very noisy environments or need to stand immediately next to the speaker to be able to screen out distractions.

Inability to Comprehend Social Cues : Students may need to have someone give them direct instruction in a dangerous field environment where they may not react to normal danger clues.

Obsessive Behavior : Students may need to understand exactly what kind of field environment they are going to encounter so they don’t obsess over not knowing or if they have phobias attached to certain kinds of environments.

Anxiety : Students should be made aware about the environments they will encounter on field trips, and flexibility may be necessary if the field trip will expose students to triggers for anxiety or panic attacks.

The Building Accepting Campus Communities (BACC) project was funded by the US Department of Education Office of Secondary Education grant #P333A080070-09. The University of Nebraska does not discriminate based on gender, age, disability, race, color, religion, marital status, veteran's status, national or ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.