TEACHING STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: AN EXPERIENCE AS A SPECIAL NEEDS TUTOR

D. Fernández Martínez

Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (SPAIN)
This paper aims to present an experience as a special needs tutor of students who are currently studying the degree in Modern Languages at the Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. These students have different types of disabilities which include mainly visual and physical disabilities, but also some cases of Asperger disorder. Despite the recommendations offered by the university itself and some institutions, such as the Spanish Organisation for the Blind (ONCE), different situations emerge every day in which the support provided proves insufficient. The purpose of this paper is to comment on some of these situations, as well as on the decisions taken to solve them. In so doing, two basic rules are to be followed, namely, to maintain a constant and direct communication with the students and to follow common sense. Keeping regular contact with teachers is also crucial in order to know the learning and teaching difficulties these students may present in class. However, it must be noted that only after teaching these students oneself, can a special needs tutor realize the numerous factors to be taken into account when dealing with them. Not until then can the role of the special needs tutor be fully accomplished.