Self-Advocacy Practice for Meeting With Your Instructor
These are questions you need to be prepared to address if your instructor asks them. Or you may want to bring one or more of them up as topics to discuss when you are emphasizing your desire to be successful in the course. It may be good practice to write out the answer or even role play them with someone acting as the teacher.
- What is your disability?
- You do not have to give a medical diagnosis and/or cause of your disability.
- You do need to state that you have verified disability documentation on file in the DSS office.
- For example:
- “I have documentation of my disability on file in the DSS office and have used their services for the past two quarters.”
- What are the educational limitations of your disability for that class?
- To the best of your understanding, explain how your disability will impact your performance in this particular class.
- “Because of my fine motor coordination, I can’t write quickly enough to take effective notes so I use a note-taker.“
- "I take medication for my disability and it can slow my thinking skills and motor reaction time.”
- Emphasize your abilities, strengths, and special interests in the class.
- “I have good long-term memory - once I learn something, I’ve got it.”
- “I'm want to be a pre-law major and political science is my most important class this quarter."
- What are you doing to maximize your abilities and to compensate for your disability to succeed in the class?
- Explain what the DSS Counselor or LD Specialist has recommended you do to succeed in the class. Include the extra effort you will put forth.
- “I spend extra time studying, using the SQ3R method.”
- “I use the Kurzweil 3000 to help me read my text.”
- “I use the DSS tutoring services.”
- “I just finished the study skills class last quarter.”
- What accommodation(s) from the instructor would help you learn in that class?
- Explain what your DSS Counselor or LD Specialist has recommended for classroom accommodations or provide an accommodation letter.
- Tell what has worked for you in other similar type classes. You have to be specific to explain your need.
- “I will need a volunteer note-taker because, due to my disability, I have difficulty listening and taking good notes at the same time.”
- “Since I am a strong auditory learner and a poor speller, I will need to tape the class to get a good set of notes.”
- What accommodation(s) from the instructor would help you demonstrate your knowledge in that class. In other words, what type of testing procedure do you need to show you have learned the material?
- Explain what the DSS Counselor or LD Specialist has recommended.
- Again, tell what has worked in the past and be specific in explaining your needs.
- “I will use extra time to take tests because it takes me longer to write due to the weakness in my hands”
- “I need to take major tests in an place 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, the DSS Counselor or LD Specialist can only recommend or authorize accommodations that do not
- fundamentally alter the content or procedures in a course
- cause an undue burden on the college.
- If you asked the instructor to give you the tests individually, that could be unreasonable, causing an undue burden.
- If you asked to be excused from taking tests at all or turning in written assignments, that could be a fundamental alteration of the course.
- The instructor may offer other accommodations. If these suggestions do not relate to your disability, inform your DSS Counselor or LD Specialist. They can then discuss this issue with the instructor to help get it resolved.
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 video-tapes, study guides, etc. are available?
- What are the alternative projects, assignments, or ways 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?