Transformations Magazine January 2014 - page 16

and Spanish fluently; she
now has difficulty in her
IU Southeast Spanish
courses.
Because of damage to
her short-term memory,
Jody has had therapy to
help her develop coping
skills and techniques for
retaining information.
Repetition and flash
cards are helpful, as
well as color-coding
notes. To prepare for a
class, Jody will read an
assigned chapter twice;
after the second reading
she prepares detailed,
hand-written notes of
the chapter. If an audio
version of a book is
available, she will also
listen to the chapter. In
daily life, her structure
is almost militant. There
is a compartment for
everything so that it
can be located easily.
She constructs a list for
homework, groceries,
and daily routines. “If I
forget something, it isn’t
a normal ‘I forgot.’ It’s
times ten.”
Lists provide a
kind of security
for her.
Jody did not
provide an
accommodation
form from
Disability
Services for
some of her
classes this
semester.
When she was
questioned
about this
choice, Jody
replied, “I just wanted
to work for it and not
have it given to me. This
semester, I didn’t want
to feel like I was getting
special consideration. I
have a competitive streak
in me. I used to be more
like a thoroughbred—I
could
“I have to tell
myself that it
is foolish not
to take an
accommodation,
but it’s an
internal battle.”
Jody Hamilton-
Johnson
do anything. When I
have failed a test in a
class, I have to stop and
check myself and tell
myself that it’s not the
same anymore. I have
to tell myself that it is
foolish not to take an
accommodation, but it’s
an internal battle.”
Jody was not alone
in her wish to avoid
using a disability
accommodation.
Trevor and Brandon
also wished to forego
an accommodation,
if possible. Although
taking a test in the
Student Development
Center would provide
a distraction-free
environment with
extended time, all said
that having access to the
professor was important
to them, especially if
they needed clarification
on a test question. They
wished to avoid an
accommodation which
would bring attention to
their disabilities.
When asked how
professors could
structure courses to make
material more accessible,
all three students
emphasized organization
and availability of
materials. Providing a
detailed syllabus with
clear explanations
for all assignments is
absolutely necessary for
each of them. Because
each must do more
advance preparation
than other students,
material must be made
available if a student
with a learning disability
is to succeed. Audio
or video recordings
of a class allow a
student with a learning
disability to review the
material. PowerPoint
presentations can be
posted online following a
class meeting. Although
the technology isn’t
available in IU Southeast
classrooms, Brandon
has found that Smart
Boards are a valuable
tool because the
15 /
A Student Perspective
»
Brandon Shell
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