Accommodating students who "can't participate in discussion"

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prytania3:
Sounds ridiculous unless the student literally has no tongue.

I had a student with cerebral palsy, and she loved participating in groups. She wasn't that easy to understand, but we got the hang of it.

mouseman:
Quote from: brixton on January 31, 2013,  5:20:39 PM

I teach in an English department and was told by a student that because of a disability she couldn't read long texts. 


That sounds a bit suspect. 

Quote from: prytania3 on January 31, 2013,  5:37:04 PM

Sounds ridiculous unless the student literally has no tongue.

I had a student with cerebral palsy, and she loved participating in groups. She wasn't that easy to understand, but we got the hang of it.


Exactly.  And if indeed a student has hearing and/or speaking issues, the disability office should send somebody over who can interpret sign language.  You may have to accommodate by moving a bit slower, and giving a bit more time for a response, though.

History_grrrl, it sounds like your administration has moved from making reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities to a willingness to do anything to keep students happy and to avoid even the most frivolous of lawsuits.  Some places are starting to look like that DMV office in The Boondocks which gave a blind man a driving license because he threatened too sue them for discrimination.

history_grrrl:
Sprout: it so happens that, last year, everyone in my department put together student learning objectives for our courses, pegged to departmental objectives. I have draw on mine to add language to my syllabi about what students will learn in class. Although I find the whole learning-objectives/assessment craze pretty obnoxious, and the process was a pain in the ass, it struck me that this stuff can be very useful for circumstances like these.

I know that, in one case, the disability is "anxiety disorder." (A student volunteered this information to her TA, who told me.)

On preview: mouseman, yes. In at least one situation I'm aware of, the disability office hinted at the possible involvement of the provincial human rights people.

marigolds:
Well, I agree that leading and participating in discussions is crucial in humanities classes. I was thinking about something real-time but written. I wonder whether something along the lines of a conference twitter hashtag feed, where the student could make comments in real-time that could be checked after class (or during class, if that is how you roll; some conferences project the twitter feed on a screen during presentations!) might work.  That way the student is processing, synthesizing, and actually interacting with the material and classmates in real time, but isn't required to actually speak.

Is it speaking that is the problem?

mythbuster:
I agree that this sounds fishy. I'm guessing that the disability (if it's real) is somehow related to either 1) anxiety and fear of speaking or 2) a cognitive processing issue with verbal speaking. If it's #2, my BIL suffers form this, resulting in him hardly ever participating in conversations because he just can't keep up. By the time he forms his thoughts and is ready to speak, the conversation has moved on.
   So my idea is what about a twitter feed, IM screen, or some other type of "in the moment" typeable contribution? I doubt this is a Steven Hawking type situation, but I'm imagining some way for the student to get their two cents in on the fly. I doubt this would work though, if the disability is anxiety related, as then they just won't want to contribute in any way in front of the group.

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