By Grace Avila
Every person has a unique way of taking notes, studying, or getting ready for school. Likewise, a person’s accommodations needs will vary as well. For instance, when I was an undergraduate at university, I had preferential seating accommodations to sit in the front row of the classroom because I wore glasses and could not see the board from a far distance.
Due to my hearing loss, I also had an accommodation to bring my hearing alert service dog from classroom to classroom. Both my classmates and professors were very respectful when they saw my dog and did not disturb or bother him. After speaking to my disability specialist in the students with disabilities office and talking to my roommate at the time, my dog was also able to live in the dorms with me. Another accommodation I had due to my hearing loss was a CART captioner who came with me from class-to-class and live-transcribed my lectures so that I could not only follow along but participate.
I’ve had encounters with ableism before in school, don’t get me wrong: I had a professor who rolled their eyes and refused to slow down when my captioner said they were talking too fast, peers who said “nevermind” instead of repeating themselves, and even problematic administration when they didn’t listen to my concerns about housing on campus. For the most part, I got lucky- many of my peers and professors were very accommodating, kind, and open to finding ways to make classes as accessible as possible. I will never forget their kindness.
If you are a student with a disability in need of accommodations, it may be worth a shot to seek out your school’s disability services office to work with a counselor to find the best ways for you to succeed. If your school does not have a disability services office, talk to a teacher, administrator, or counselor that you trust to see who to contact to get accommodations/support.