What does this mean for education?
North American high school graduation rates for disabled students have risen 0.5% since 2011. 64% now earn a high school diploma in 4 years. Unfortunately, North American high school dropout rates have also risen 0.5% in as many years. 19.7% of students with a disability will drop out before completing high school.
Most students choose not to disclose their disability when they enter higher education. That's 60 to 80% of North American undergrads and 9% of graduate students. Even so, there is a lot that we as Educators can do to help disabled students be successful.
3% of the global population, less than 1% of students in North America, has a visual disability. This means that they have challenges perceiving visual content. Provide those students with text-based alternatives that they can consume.
4% of the global population, 4% of students in North America, has a physical disability. These students have challenges with muscle and motor control, which makes using technology difficult. Format your content for assistive technology and keyboard navigation for simpler web content navigation.
5% of the global population, less than 1% of students in North America, has a hearing disability. This means that they have challenges perceiving auditory content and need alternatives. Provide captions, transcripts, and other alternatives that they can consume.
An overwhelming 25% of the global population, 9% of students in North America, has a cognitive disability. That is 1 in every 25 North American freshmen who have a learning disability. These students have neurological challenges processing information. It's important to build in flexibility. Use many modes of information and create a clutter-free experience.