My name is Caryn. I am an eighteen-year-old freshman entering a small private university. I am studying the visual arts and eventually plan to attend graduate school for a Master's of Fine Arts.
Although I'm an art major, I have to take two English courses and four semesters of a second language that are required by the university. I have a language-learning disability which makes it difficult for me to understand and organize large amounts of verbal information. Writing was my most challenging academic area in high school. I was worried that I would not be able to keep up with the course workloads and failing a course my first semester was not an option.
- Discuss potential solutions to the access issue described. There can be more than one good solution.
- Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each proposed solution.
- Clarify the appropriate roles of the student, instructor, and campus support services in reaching a decision and providing accommodations if needed.
- After you have completed your discussion, read the access solution on the back of this handout that was employed in this real-life scenario. Compare your proposed solutions with this solution. Discuss the conclusions listed and add at least one more.
Initially, I did not want to disclose my learning disability. However, I was very worried about these course requirements, especially since it was my first semester of college. I contacted my advisor in the art department and mentioned my concerns. After an appointment with the disabled student services counselor where I presented documentation of my disability, we decided on the following solutions. I was able to substitute the foreign language course requirement for two courses in the social sciences. I also learned about the freshman writing lab. I set up a series of weekly private appointments with a writing tutor to review my English coursework. Also, I borrowed, from the disabled student services department, a computer equipped with a voice-to-text option. With this adaptive technology, I can speak into the computer and my speech is translated into text. Without this accommodation, my thoughts and writing can become easily disorganized or jumbled, and I have a very difficult time completing assignments.
This case study illustrates that assistance from the campus disabled student services department can help a student with a disability:
- obtain program adjustments to meet university coursework requirements
- ain access to adaptive computer technology to accommodate her disability
- make use of campus services