BC’s Invisible Disabilities Brought To Light
Issues For Students With Disabilities Go Unnoticed
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
The negative experience this student has had with professors even extended to her grades.
“There was one class I took last semester where I decided to start using my accommodations after the midterm,” she said. “The grade I got on the final for that class was much lower than the one I got on the midterm, though I felt I had done well on the final. I went to go talk to my professor and they had to give me points back because they realized they had graded me too harshly.”
This student believes that there is a logical explanation behind the treatment she has received from professors.
“There are some professors at any school who wouldn’t handle working with students who have learning disabilities well, but I believe that there may be more at BC because they aren’t used to dealing with students with disabilities because of the higher degree of academic rigor here. Not many students with learning disabilities are accepted.”
For this student, one of her accommodations gives her the ability to avoid classes taught by professors who are known to treat students with disabilities poorly.
“Early registration really helps. That way I know I can get into classes taught by professors who are known to deal well with students with learning disabilities.”
Durrett is also willing to clear up any conflicts that arise between students and professors over accommodations.
“If a student comes in and has a misunderstanding with a professor about their accommodation, I would call the professor and have a conversation about what’s going on with the student and how we can help them out,” Durrett said.
Some students choose not to ask Durrett for help, however.
“I would rather deal with it on my own,” the unnamed student said. “That’s just what I prefer. I’ve made the decision from now on to only inform professors of my disability in classes that have written tests for which I would need extra time.”
BC students far outshine their professors in terms of dealing with their peers who have learning disabilities, according to the unnamed student.
“I have yet to find a student with a disability who feels targeted or hurt because of other students,” the unnamed student said. “There is the occasional joke from close friends, but it’s all in good humor.”
Students with learning disabilities believe that they have the resources at their disposal to successfully navigate through BC academics, but they believe their situation could still greatly improve.
“A student with learning disabilities can get through BC just fine,” the unnamed student said. “The services have been great. I wouldn’t do as well without them. Because of my experience with professors, however, I’d seriously consider not registering, given the chance to start over.”
Awareness is the key that both students with disabilities and the administrators who work with them agree will improve the BC academic environment.
“I think the community of students with learning disabilities has a voice, and it needs to be heard,” the unnamed student said. “I think with greater awareness, professors would view us in a less demeaning way, and understand that our accommodations act as a compensation for a life of disability. People would stop putting limits on us. Some of the world’s greatest minds have been dyslexic. If you keep hindering people like us, you won’t find the next Thomas Edison.”