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Writing Assignments Case Study

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Joe and Writing Assignments: A Case Study in Accommodating Mobility Impairments

My name is Joe. I have Cerebral Palsy, which affects my mobility and speech. I use a powered wheelchair for mobility and an augmentative communication device to speak. After a placement test at my local community college, I needed to enroll in a developmental composition class to prepare me for freshman composition.

Access Issue
I use a switch-based input device and a scanning keyboard to do word processing on my computer. It takes me a long time to write using this input method. The course I had to take required several long essay assignments. I was worried that I would not be able to meet course requirements in the time frame of a semester because it takes me so long to complete written assignments.

I met with the disability student services counselor and the instructor to discuss options. Initially, everyone was hesitant to decrease the number of writing assignments, however, once it became clear that the essential course goals could be met with fewer assignments, my instructor agreed to modify the number of assignments I needed to complete. All other course requirements were kept the same (e.g., journal and grammar assignments).

This case study illustrates that:

  1. Adaptive technology can be used by an individual with a mobility impairment to access a word processor.

  2. Some course assignments can be modified without compromising the essential requirements of the course to accommodate students with disabilities.

  3. The student, disabled student services staff, and course instructor should work together to agree on reasonable course accommodations.