It really is great that schools, both K-12 and colleges, are now becoming more accomodating to individuals with disabilities and helping them get the most out of their education.
At TAG Magnet School, there are high standards to get in. Most of the individuals who had disabilities had it fairly well under control, from what I observed. Most of them didn’t have physical disabilities such as hearing or vision loss. There was one other student who did have some vision loss but I didn’t notice her using any accommodations. Currently, however, there is a student there who is completely blind. At that point, the only accommodations i really needed were to sit at the front of the classroom and have a lot of light. All of the teachers were very accommodating towards this and I was really appreciative. It helped that the class size was super small (like 7-15) so I could easily make everything work.
Now that I’m in college and class sizes are dramatically larger, things have become a little more difficult. This, compounded with the fact that my vision is getting worse, has presented me with several obstacles. Many of said obstacles I have overcome but some of them I’m still working on. In terms of strictly academic accommodations, I’m pretty set. I sit in the front of the classroom and sit where the glare won’t cause an issue. In most of my classes, the lighting is just fine. There is one class that the lighting is awful in and I can’t see anything except the screen. This is quite difficult for me. That is when I went to the Office of Disability Accomodations and they are working on getting the classroom changed. Another student, who is in a wheelchair, also has issues as this classroom is not wheelchair accessible.
Speaking of Office of Disability Accommodations, most colleges and universities will have an office that works with individuals with disabilities to make sure that the school and all teachers comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. At both the University of Tulsa and the University of North Texas, both offices were extremely helpful. They usually meet with you to discuss your disability, your provide proof of your disability from a doctor’s office, and then they work with you to make reasonable accommodations that won’t give you an advantage over other students. The whole idea is just to level the playing field, not give you an advantage. On my accommodations letter, it specifies that I can use my computer in all classrooms to take notes on, I can take all of my tests on a computer, and I need to sit in the front with “optimal lighting.” These accommodations themselves help so much because I give the letter to each professor and the professors are required to help me.
I’ll discuss in a future blog what issues I’m still having on campus, but those aren’t related to academic accommodations. They are more traveling issues.
As always, feel free to leave any comments/concerns/questions. 🙂