School Accommodations: Update – Part One

My fall semester is in full swing and I have come up with a great routine for studying and keeping up with my schoolwork.

I wrote an article, recently, on my preliminary school accommodations now that I am a student with a disability. Since we came up with these before the year began, I couldn’t say for sure if they would be helpful or not.

Physical disability accommodations at college

I am now six (maybe, seven – I’ve lost track already) weeks into the semester so I think I can update you all on how it’s going. I initially wanted to write everything down in one article but it proved to be way too long; so, this update will be in two parts. In this one, I will speak on the physical ability accommodations and in the next, I will talk about the really, really nifty technology assistance. So, let’s get into it!

Double-time on testing

The most pre-dominant accommodation is probably the double-time on testing. This has been a lifesaver. It amazes me how much I have to get up, move, and stretch throughout a single testing period. I tried to push through during a smaller quiz and, hours later, I flared slightly from being immobile for that period of time. ::eyeroll:: I have the extra time, I better use it! Additionally, I don’t have to rush drawing and writing and can relax my hand a little.

Printing quota

Printing is something I definitely didn’t think about initially. I mean, how does printing paper affect my RA?? Well, let me tell you. In this day and age, more and more things are ending up online, including our textbooks. Unfortunately, with my Sjogren’s, I cannot stare at computer screens and read large portions of text at a time. Printed resources are much easier and better for me.

Students have a printing page quota every semester which is good but would not be sufficient for multiple textbooks! Now, if I have online resources, the Disability Center prints them for me and it doesn’t go towards my student printing! This is only something that I can take part with when I am on campus...for obvious reasons. What is the school going to do? Print my textbooks then send them to me by mail every week??

Dictation software

Then, last, but very much not least, dictation. Good, old-fashioned dictation that comes with almost every application and program on the computer nowadays. This has been the lifesaver of all lifesavers because I’ve found I’m having a lot of trouble with my hands and keeping up with note-taking. I convert my speech to text and then go in afterward to format and fix any grammar issues. The dictation softwares nowadays are really good (even with big science-y words...and my “accent”).

A volunteer scribe

Now, this one is also new, and I am dragging my feet in using it. But, I can now schedule a volunteer scribe to write out my exams for me. Already, this is a massive pain in the bottom but virtually? How exactly am I going to show someone, who is probably not my same major, how to draw organic chemistry molecules? How do I describe reactions or someone who is not familiar with the content?

Also, dictation is hard. I am still responsible for good writing and grammar. It’s hard to dictate that when I usually speak colloquially. I may not use this accommodation but it’s nice to know it’s there in case my hands really decide to conk out on me one day!

So, would some of these accommodations have been helpful for you? Stay tuned for part two coming soon!

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