From: "Wilhelm, Monique" <mwilhelm**At_Symbol_Here**UMFLINT.EDU>
Subject: Re: FW: [DCHAS-L] Assistance in the classroom
Date: Tue, 9 Oct 2018 16:08:42 +0000
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
Message-ID: 1109037139E1524980CF9CBEB2476618010B2FAC98**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <005b01d45fe6$fa319fe0$ee94dfa0$**At_Symbol_Here**>

Hello Everyone,


This can actually get super complicated and I suggest that anyone in such a situation WORK WITH YOUR DISABILITY/ACCESSIBILITY SERVICES OFFICE directly for the student.  There are many reasons why a student may not be able to read or even be good at taking notes from verbal lectures for the student if they have not had the course or meet the pre-reqs to take the course.  For a lab situation, I have had to go to this office to get a different student as a notetaker/disability assistant multiple times.  They have been really good about hiring and training a student who has already completed the class to fill the role.


I worry more about a student being enrolled in a lab and not being able to read the materials.  It has been a struggle for us to find a good way of working with students who have been accepted to our institution, have difficulty understanding English, and try not to let anyone know that they do not understand.  These students spend so much more time working with translators outside of the classroom, and may miss the “extras” within the verbal instruction such as safety reminders.  It seems to work out ok if there are several students who speak the same language in the class together.  But occasionally that does not happen.  Does anyone have suggestions for these situations?


Monique Wilhelm

Laboratory Manager

Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

University of Michigan – Flint


From: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU] On Behalf Of Peter Zavon
Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2018 11:45 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] FW: Assistance in the classroom


Some very useful comments have been offered on this topic, but the basic question has not been directly addressed.  That basic question, slightly paraphrased, is - is the institution or the instructor obligated to train the aid provided for a person who can neither read nor write.


I would say that the answer to that question is a big fat “YES!!!” 


Now, the subsequent question is, can that training be adequate for a lab?  I suggest that that depends on why the student cannot read or write.  If the student is blind and therefore cannot see markings and labels on reagent bottles, simply training the aid may not be adequate for safety.  However, if the student can see but cannot read because of some cognitive condition, for example, perhaps it is possible to help the aid show the student (or to show the student directly) how to recognize standard warning symbols and phrases.  Many illiterate people, for example, were able to tell the difference between the men's and women’s restrooms, even before the icons for those facilities were adopted in the US.



Peter Zavon, CIH
Penfield, NY




From: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU] On Behalf Of DCHAS Membership Chair
Sent: Monday, October 08, 2018 12:29 PM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] FW: Assistance in the classroom


From: Gmurczyk, Marta
Sent: Thursday, October 4, 2018 3:35 PM
Subject: FW: Assistance in the classroom

Dear All:
I would appreciate very much you reading the question below and sharing your perspective. ACS does not have any guidelines related to the situation described in the message, but I promised to ask the safety community in case you may have any wisdom to share. I will compile your responses  (but will make sure to remove the names) and forward them to correspondent.

Very many thanks for any help you might be able to provide.

Marta Gmurczyk

Dear Dr. Gmurczyk,

I received the ACS document "Undergraduate Professional Education in Chemistry" yesterday.  I truly appreciate you sending this.

Granted that in the short time I have it, I have only taken a cursory look, but I am wondering if you can more directly put me in the direction of guidelines/laws/ regulations/ best practices with regard to having students in the chemistry classroom/laboratory who can not read or write.  I am very concerned for a situation in which I am presently involved as the instructor.

There is an aid (a student not enrolled in the class) in the lab to assist this student "read the lab sheets" but I believe that there is a safety concern in that if the aid does not read all, or at least the pertinent safety components, other students, in addition to the disabled student, will be at risk.  I have specifically read section 4.5, as you recommended, and I am wondering if my institution (or me) has an obligation to "train" the aid I mentioned above.  Any additional guidance you can provide would be so greatly appreciated.


Ralph Stuart, CIH, CCHO

Membership chair

American Chemical Society 

Division of Chemical Health and Safety 


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