Timing and scheduling accommodations change how much time a child has to complete a task or assignment. Examples of these include giving a student extended time to take a test or complete an assignment, allowing a student to take frequent breaks, or breaking up a test or assignment into different sections completed at a different pace. These accommodations can help a student perform better and turn in a better assignment.
Another form of accommodation corresponds to the setting in which the child works. A common example of this is having a student complete a test or other in-class individual assignment in a separate, quiet room with fewer distractions. This can also be as simple as assigning a seat that is in a part of the room that will allow the student to learn best without distraction, like away from the window or next to the teacher. Setting accommodations allow students to better focus on what they are learning.
Academic success is often measured by a score on a test. A test score can make the difference in being accepted into a desired school or in obtaining a professional license. However, a learning disability of a mental illness or disorder, or other disability, can derail a person’s career or learning goals when an accommodation is not given to level the playing field. In fact, all schools, testing organizations and professional licensing organizations should (and usually do) provide for testing accommodations.
When considering the condition, manner, or duration in which an individual with a specific learning disability performs a major life activity, it is critical to reject the assumption that an individual who has performed well academically cannot be substantially limited in activities such as learning, reading, writing, thinking, or speaking.
The Committee believes that the comparison of individuals with specific learning disabilities to ‘most people’ is not problematic unto itself, but requires a careful analysis of the method and manner in which an individual’s impairment limits a major life activity. For the majority of the population, the basic mechanics of reading and writing do not pose extraordinary lifelong challenges; rather, recognizing and forming letters and words are effortless, unconscious, automatic processes. Because specific learning disabilities are neurologically based impairments, the process of reading for an individual with a reading disability (e.g. dyslexia) is word by word, and otherwise cumbersome, painful, deliberate and slow throughout life.
In Volume 5 of DIG’s newsletter, Litigation Director Matthew Dietz, discussed the Department of Justice’s May 2014 announcement of a settlement with the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), the administrators of the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act for denying disability accommodations for test takers.
On May 20, 2014, the Department of Justice announced a settlement with the administrators of the LSAT, the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), for alleged violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act for denying disability accommodations for test-takers. For the past twenty years, testing agencies, schools, and the Florida Bar have applied different standards prior to allowing or denying testing accommodations. As a result, the person would need to re-establish the fact that they have a disability and produce ever-shifting amounts of proof, sometimes from preschool, to establish a disability. (click here to read more)
“Why?” is the most common question asked when I said that I was going to change my practice into a non-profit disability rights advocacy center. My reasons are each and every person with a disability that I have represented over the past eighteen years. With every single person, the issue was not about money, but about the dignity of being a human being, and having the same ability to enjoy life as any other person. Even when I was not successful, I was always able to give my clients the power and dignity to fight for their equality and humanity.
This is a new era where people with disabilities eschew labels and demand their rights. Those who are Deaf or who have vision impairments demand equal access to information, those with depression and anxiety demand emotional support animals, those with disabilities demand the right to have their own families
and make their own decisions regarding independent living, and those with learning disabilities demand testing and course accommodations. Disability Independence Group or DIG is an invitation for persons with disabilities to declare their independence from antiquated notions of a second class existence.
Disability Independence Group will be a center where people with disabilities can learn how to enforce their rights and a training center for future lawyers to learn how to enforce the rights of persons with disabilities. It will advocate for a definition of diversity and integration that includes persons with disabilities. DIG will be a hub for the growing internationalization of disability
rights in Central and South America. We have a big job and big dreams.