Self-Advocacy

Questions you need to be prepared to answer:


What is your disability?

You do not have to give a medical diagnosis and/or cause of your disability. You need to state that you have verified disability documentation on file with OAS.

For example:"I have documentation of a disability on file with OAS and have used services for the past two semesters."

What are the educational limitations of your disability for that class?

You do not have to explain your disability, as you understand how it relates to the class.

For example: "I have a disability related to my fine motor coordination, and as a result, I can't write quickly enough to take effective notes" or "I take medication for my disability and it slows my thinking skills and motor reaction time."

Emphasize your abilities, strengths, and special interests in the class.

For example: "I have a good long-term memory - once I learn something, I've got it." Or "I am in pre-law and political science is my most important class this semester"

What are you doing to maximize your abilities and to compensate for your disability to succeed in that class?

Explain what OAS staff has recommended you do to succeed in the class. Include the extra effort you put forth.

For example: "I spend extra time studying, using the SQ3R method" or "I use Kurzweil 3000 to help me read my text" or "I just finished college study skills last semester."

What accommodation(s) from the instructor would help you demonstrate your knowledge in that class, e.g., type of testing procedure?

Explain what OAS staff has recommended. You have to be specific to explain your need.

For example: "I will use extra time to take tests because it takes me longer to write due to weakness in my hands" or "I need to take major tests in an environment with reduced distraction because I have difficulty concentrating in a room full of other people which causes me to forget the steps to solving the equations."

Are these accommodations reasonable?

Based on the impact of your disability and the law, OAS staff will suggest accommodations that do not cause undue burden, or a fundamental alteration of the course content and procedures.

For example: If you asked the instructor to give you the tests individually, that would be unreasonable, causing an undue burden. If you asked to be excused from taking tests, that would be a fundamental alteration of the course which requires testing. The instructor may have suggestions for additional accommodations. If these suggestions do not relate to your disability, inform OAS who will then discuss and help resolve the issue with the faculty member.


Questions you may also want to ask your instructor:

  • What do you recommend that I do to succeed in your class?
  • What is the best way for me to study for your class?
  • What is the best way for me to prepare for your tests?
  • Could I get into a study group?
  • What supplementary materials such as videotapes, study guides, etc. are available?
  • What are the alternative projects, assignment, or way to demonstrate an understanding of class content?
  • Could I check in with you every two weeks or so to see if my work is either satisfactory or not satisfactory, or to see if I have any outstanding assignments?