Jack and Engineering: A Case Study on Having a Temporary Mobility Impairment in an Engineering Course

Background

My name is Jack. I had surgery on my hand when there was about a month remaining in the semester. I was enrolled in courses that are required as part of my major in electrical and computer engineering.

Access Issue

During the early part of the semester, I was able to complete my coursework, including working with electrical components and computer programming. Following surgery, however, I had limited mobility in my hand, which made it difficult to work with circuit boards and type on a computer keyboard. My instructor and I were unsure of how to make accommodations. I thought that I might need to withdraw from his class.

Solution

My instructor and I consulted with the university’s disability services office. Working together, we devised a plan that allowed me to utilize voice-to-text input and receive notes from a classmate. In addition, I completed labs by working with a teaching assistant who would manipulate the circuit board for me. I was able to successfully complete the course with these accommodations.

Conclusion

This case study illustrates the following:

  • When a temporary disability arises in the middle of a term, creativity and collaboration can allow the student to complete his coursework and continue his course of study.
  • Often the best solutions result when a student, instructor, and disability services counselor work together.