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Making Online Learning Accessible for Students with Disabilities


TEACHING Exceptional Children Volume 46, Number 5, ISSN 0040-0599


The growing presence of K-12 online education programs is a trend that promises to increase flexibility, improve efficiency, and foster engagement in learning. Students with disabilities can benefit from dynamic online educational environments, but only to the extent that they can access and participate in the learning process. As students with disabilities' enrollment in full-time virtual schools may not be keeping pace with the enrollment rates of their typically developing peers, educators are becoming better at identifying the barriers to access that may be partly responsible for this current scenario. The future landscape of K-12 online education therefore represents both challenge and opportunity for students with disabilities. The guidelines and resources identified here help decision makers reframe online resource selection in terms of accessibility-an essential first step in broadening participation in online learning programs. This perspective can also promote the selection of digital learning resources that emphasize inclusion and access needs over flashy products and strong product marketing campaigns. Ideally, the demands for accessible online learning resources will also spur educational programmers and designers to create more online learning products that can level the playing field through enhanced accessibility, putting all students in a position where they can reliably benefit from the rising tide of online learning opportunities.


Hashey, A.I. & Stahl, S. (2014). Making Online Learning Accessible for Students with Disabilities. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 46(5), 70-78. Retrieved May 30, 2023 from .

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