Joe and Test Taking: A Case Study on Accommodations for Learning Disabilities

Date Updated


I'm Joe, an undergraduate majoring in psychology. I have learning disabilities in the areas of reading and writing.

Access Issue

I wanted to use computer software that highlights words while it reads them out loud for my exams, as well as for reading and writing assignments. My professor was concerned that this accommodation gave me an unfair advantage over the other students in the class and was reluctant to allow me to use the computer for exams.


I had a meeting with my professor, the adaptive technology specialist who recommended the software, and the disability support counselor to discuss exam accommodations. At the meeting I explained my learning disabilities and how the software could help me. The professor was also able to ask several questions and discuss his concerns. We concluded that the computer software was a reasonable accommodation for my exams, provided I took the exams in the computer lab with a test proctor.


This case demonstrates:

  1. How accessible electronic and information technology can help create a level playing field for students with disabilities.
  2. How test proctors can be used during exams without compromising security.
  3. How coordinated efforts between faculty, students, and disability support services can lead to accommodations that are acceptable to all parties.