Need your opinions on accommodations
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|Tue, 03-23-2010 - 10:12am|
This isn't about Euan, but about one of my students - but I would like your opinions as informed interested parties!
I have two disabled students in one of my postgraduate classes, a guy with Asperger's (who was only recently diagnosed) and a woman who is blind. It is an advanced class with 15 people, and one of the things they are graded on is 'participation and leading discussion'. Both of them struggle with this because they do not pick up on visual 'cues' (eg about when to engage in discussion, when it is their 'turn' to speak) and because they do not necessarily contribute the right things (eg they will not necessarily be able to follow which section of an article we are referring to, or even which article we are on because of organisational problems keeping up). To help them overcome this I make a point of specifically asking them to contribute at key points in the discussion - this sometimes works (in that it gives them a chance to say something intelligent and relevant) and sometimes doesn't (sometimes they don't have anything particularly relevant to say!). At this level we are not supposed to do this for other students: it's dog eat dog in PhD classes and we are not supposed to 'encourage' shy or reticent students.
The problem I have is that this is a core academic competency/skill that they need to have. When they complete their postgraduate training and PhDs, they then will have to engage in academic seminars, be prepared, participate in and lead discussion. I won't be there, and they won't get any accommodations in their jobs for this kind of thing, they'll be left to their own devices. It's even more dog-eat-dog once they finish their PhDs!
Obviously, to have made it this far in academia they are both incredibly gifted, intelligent and capable students. I do not really know what it is 'fair' to do: pull them up and give them poor grades for something they cannot help, or consider that I am making 'reasonable adjustments' to allow for the disability and give them reasonable grades, knowing that I am not realistically preparing them for the 'real' world of academia?
As parents of Aspies/ASD kids, what do you think? what would you do?
Kirsty, mum to Euan (11, Aspergers) Rohan (7, NT) and Maeve (4, NT)