Disability and the Culinary Arts: A Case Study on Access to a Person of Short Stature

DO-IT Factsheet #239
http://www.washington.edu/doit/Stem/articles?239

Background

My name is Michael and I am a student of short stature. I have to do an internship as part of my course requirements in the culinary arts. I was working with career services to set up this internship when access issues emerged in the conversation.

Access Issue

Career services was concerned that I would not be able to reach into the oven as far as I would need to without causing danger to myself and/or other people. They were also concerned that if an accident happened, the internship site would no longer want to work with their program.

Solution

I suggested that career services consult with the disabled student services office. They met with disabled student services and me. We talked about the accommodations that I was receiving in my classes at the college-including the aid of another student and assistive technology, such as an extender-and how those accommodations could be offered at the internship site. The disabled student services staff assured staff at career services that providing reasonable accommodations is the appropriate thing to do and reduces the possibility of injury to anyone.

Conclusion

This case study demonstrates the following:

  1. Communication is essential to finding a solution that works for everyone.
  2. Accommodations successfully used in the past provide a good place to start when trying to identify reasonable accommodations for a new situation.