Case #1


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.

Access Issue

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.


  1. Discuss potential solutions to the access issue described. There can be more than one good solution.
  2. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each proposed solution.
  3. Clarify the appropriate roles of the student, instructor, and campus support services in reaching a decision and providing accommodations if needed.
  4. 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:

  1. obtain program adjustments to meet university coursework requirements
  2. ain access to adaptive computer technology to accommodate her disability
  3. make use of campus services