Teaching Students with Limited Manual Dexterity

Students may have limited manual dexterity as a result of illness or injury. Increased computer usage is increasing the number of students with repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis, which causes them to experience severe pain when they take notes or write exams.

The following are some suggestions for working with students who have limited manual dexterity:

  • Whether they handwrite, use computers, or dictate to voice recognition software, students with limited manual dexterity generally need extended time for exams.
  • Students may need request rest breaks during exams, since handwriting and typing are slow and painful. Dictating to voice-recognition software is complex and mentally fatiguing.
  • If possible, allow the student to take an exam orally in a private workspace.
  • Assist the student to identify another student in class to share notes. The student may prefer to tape record lectures.
  • During lab sessions, students with limited manual dexterity may need a lab assistant to manipulate equipment, take notes, and complete lab reports.
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