Lisa And Law School: A Case Study in Accommodations for Health Impairments
My name is Lisa. I was diagnosed with cancer about a year ago. I am currently in my second year of law school.
I switched to part-time status after I became ill. The medication I'm taking has some side effects including lapses in concentration. I want to continue my studies, however there are days when I'm too tired or nauseous to attend classes. I also have doctor appointments about every other week. My course of study runs on a quarterly basis and if I miss too many lectures or discussions, I quickly fall behind. I also need to watch my stress level as that can cause some of my symptoms to worsen.
I informed my instructors of the situation prior to each quarter and obtained a course outline and the required assignments before the classes began. I worked out a system of communication with the instructors and my advisor. I do not get penalized if I miss deadlines. If I cannot complete the coursework, I request an incomplete grade and can make up the work within a specified time period. I've also been using the notetaking service which sends me lecture notes on-line following each session. In addition, I have made arrangements with one of the law librarians to manage document requests for me and to send them by postal mail when I am unable to come to the library.
This example illustrates:
- The importance of instructor flexibility and a self-paced instructional option.
- How support for accessing materials and information can be provided when a student cannot be physically present.
- The active role a student can play in coordinating her support services.