7-4 Introduction to Accommodations

So in this segment we’re talking about accommodations and how they are put in place. Before we get into the
specifics of this, however, there’s a short video I
would like you to watch that provides a
unique “Twilight Zone” type of perspective on the
need for accommodations.” This video like the others
we’ve seen in this lesson was created by the Disability video team in Spring 2013 ♪ [intro music] ♪>>Professor Long: A question
that a lot of people have as we think
about accommodations, and that is, quite frankly,
do accommodations provide an unfair advantage or
are they to guarantee access. And the way that it’s been
looked at within the law and within kind of the
education community is that it’s not meant – an
accommodation is not meant to provide an unfair advantage. Now, unfortunately we
don’t have a lot of research. And this is where, again,
any of you budding scholars out there want to look at the
impact of accommodations, we would love to know that. But the philosophy, the
rationale behind all of this is level playing field, not that anyone gets a particular extra benefit or ease or lower standards applied to them. Because when we think
about accommodations, they allow students to
demonstrate what they know rather than being limited by any aspect of
their disability. So we want to, in all cases,
provide the supports necessary so they can let us know where — what their skills are,
what their achievement is and where we can
go from there.>>Bobby: Interpreters are
there simply to give me equal access, and I
appreciate the fact that they are there I would like to say that
I love interpreters. I love the fact that
people learn my language — have learned my language and
they’ve learned to translate. I just love it. It gives me that access
to the same information that hearing people have. I’m now an equal
in a classroom. And it’s sort of a
— in a courthouse. You name it. I now have equal access. And that’s thanks
to the interpreters.>>Sarah: I take my test at
the Disability Resource Center. And the reason I do that
is because there is more peace of mind for me. I can have my dog lay
down with me no problem. There won’t be people who
are walking around us and constantly making
me look up. It’s just me, the
test and that’s it. Like, there’s more
concentration there. I won’t have to
worry about, well, who is finishing before me,
who is finishing after me. Whatever. It’s just me and this test, and that’s all that
matters honestly. It’s more helpful for me
keeping a peace of mind. And, sometimes teachers
seem a little hesitant to talk to me about it. Usually what I do at the
beginning of the semester is speak to the
professor beforehand. Or if I happen to walk
to the classroom like on the first day of class,
I’ll set up an appointment. I mean, it really depends. Because mostly when
I talk with anyone, not just instructors,
they expect eye contact, which I can’t — I don’t
usually give them. Like eye contact is
really hard for me. So there is a — eye contact is an issue because that’s a way for
people to know, oh, that person is paying
attention to me. And so there’s this constant
like space there that — I think teachers seem to
not want to deal with that. Like they’ll be afraid, well, she’s not going to pay
attention to me anyway because she’s looking
somewhere else, if you know what I mean. Other problems that I’ve had
with teachers is finding times to take my tests and quizzes
outside of the classroom. Because most teachers want
you to take it in the classroom. That’s another problem that I’ve run into constantly
with instructors.>>Professor Long: Now,
while we can talk advantage versus access,
there’s also that idea of are there times when
accommodations aren’t required. Okay. So even if you
have a disability, you go and ask for
an accommodation, are there times when it
might not be approved. And the answer is yes. Okay. And this is where when
we think about laws, it becomes a little hazy. Because talk about the
idea of unreasonable. Okay. What’s an unreasonable
accommodation request? I have a number of
students, for example, who take my class who are deaf. And so the two main
accommodations they use, one would be a –
what’s called CART, Computer Assisted Real-Time
Captionist, it’s essentially a stenographer
who takes down word-for-word everything that is
said in the classroom so the student
can subsequently read it, or an interpreter. Now, both of those
individuals would be considered auxiliary aids.
And they’re expensive. Right. Now, if a student came in
and said, hey, I want both of those and I want a note
taker and I want — a university or program
could reasonably say that’s unreasonable. We will work with you,
but we’ll choose what is a reasonable approach. Accommodations are also
not required if they represent a fundamental
alteration of the program. And by that I mean that the
student has to be able to do and be successful
with the requirements within the program. If we talk about, for
example, within nursing, we expect nurses to be
able to give shots, to pick up things, to move
things, so on and so forth. If a student was practicing
to become a nurse and yet had very severe
physical limitations and sight limitations or
hearing limitations, there may be some barriers
that would exist. So you can’t alter a
program in a fundamental way that makes it
fundamentally different, easier or whatever for that
student with a disability. And then the final way
in which we would say accommodations are
not required is that idea of undue burden,
undue financial burden. Probably the most controversial
aspect of all of this. Because when we think about
paying for the accommodation, it’s something that is not the individual’s responsibility. If you take nothing
from this at all, think about that when
we’re talking about education in the U.S., that it’s not the
student’s responsibility to pay for his or
her accommodation. Okay. That’s picked up
by the university. But where it becomes
tricky is how is that set up in any particular university,
and is it the university that’s paying for it
out of a pot of money or does an individual
program have to pay for it out of their limited budget. Because if it’s the latter, often times we find access
to be rather limited. I would like to also note
that certainly going through a disability office and getting
the approved accommodation is absolutely a very
helpful thing to do, but a student might
also approach you in a more informal fashion
and ask basically is there something
that you can do. And while if you have
questions, certainly contact the Disability Resource Center
or the office there, but also consider
some flexibility when you work
with students. And we can talk about this
as universal design, but it also could just
be some flexibility.>>Staci: I’ve had several
professors who are, you know, always like if you need extra
help, come to my office. Because, you know,
clearly when they — seizures affect the brain. So learning for me is a
little bit more difficult. So they’ve often
took extra time to just help me through things. I’ve had professors who
have actually, you know, been very curious about
my epilepsy and have had friends of their students —
of their children who have it. And so I’m always willing
to offer advice or help. So I’ve had a lot who
are just phenomenal. And I admire them for that, because it’s not every
day that that happens. Most think it’s
an inconvenience.>>Professor Long: So
as we come back and close this
particular segment, I just want to mention the
idea that accommodations are handled through — in
an educational setting in college through a
specific office who has documentation who
works with the student to determine what’s appropriate, make sure it’s
not unreasonable, that it doesn’t fundamentally
alter the program and that these
types of accommodations occur in a variety
of different ways. And you’ve got some readings that will tell you
even more about that.

Paul Whisler

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