Staying within the theme of students with disabilities, I have been thinking about students with temporary disabilities, perhaps because I have seen a number of St. Clair College students recently on crutches. I expect that all colleges and universities provide acommodations for students with a temporary disabilities such as a broken arm, sprained ankle or other injury. A student comes in with a broken arm and I expect the reaction is: Well of course! You are going to need more time to write your test because you broke your writing hand! Often, temporary disabilities are obvious – you can see it!
Let’s do a self test. When you are asked for accomodations from a student with a broken arm, how do you react? Do you:
A. Ask them for a doctor’s note and copy of their xray to prove that their arm is broken?
B. Question them about if they REALLY need extra time to write their test? After all, employers aren’t going to want to give extra time!
C. Accept their excuse but call them out in class for making you do extra work by having to get their test to Student Services 48 hours in advance and making you go back there to pick it up!
D. Accept their accomodation plan and ask if there is anything else you can do to help them while they recover?
Do you think that my A – C answers are ridiculous? I do, but I have heard stories of students with other types of disabilities including learning disabilities and mental health issues describe these kinds of reactions from faculty and I have heard faculty express concerns about whether students with disabilities REALLY need them.
I just wonder, do we give students with invisible disabilities the same acceptance and care that we do for students with temporary disabilities? It is something to think about!