From this assortment of responses it appears that, although most facultyunderstand that they have an obligation to provide accommodation, ethicalquestions remain. Upon examining these concerns more closely, it becomesapparent that regardless of the tenor of the faculty comment- whetheraccommodation is viewed as a positive challenge or a negative burden- the corequestion for many faculty appears to be the ethical issue of "how much isenough?" in accommodating college students with learning disabilities.
More and more students with learning disabilities are enrolling in college and universities. And more and more higher education institutions are offering support programs for students with LD. Here weve assembled information to assist in the planning and selection process, plus lots of advice on creating a successful post-secondary education experience.
Disability scholarships are funded by a variety of scholarship providers with different requirements. They can be intended to help students with a specific disability , or they can be aimed at a wider range of students who have physical or mental issues. Disability scholarship providers may choose to narrow their awards towards students who have completed a specific program or who will attend a particular college or university. Some are aimed at groups that face multiple barriers to education; such as low-income, minority, or females with disabilities. Certain might also be earmarked for disabled students.
Endeavors to accommodate college students with learning disabilities havegiven rise to a range of responses on the part of faculty. Some faculty respondpassively, providing whatever accommodation is requested. Other facultyadamantly dig in their heels and refuse to provide any academic adjustments orwhat they perceive as "differential treatment." Most facultyresponses, however, fall between these extremes. Surveys of faculty attitudesreveal that the large majority of faculty members are willing to accommodatestudents with learning disabilities but struggle with ethical concerns inbalancing the rights of students with learning disabilities with the academicintegrity of the course, program of study, and institution (Leyser, 19989;Matthews, Anderson, & Skolnick, 1987; McCarthy & Campbell, 1993; Nelson,Dodd, & Smith, 1990; Nelson, Smith, & Dodd, 1991; Satcher, 1992).
Some people with verbal learning disabilities may be able to read or write just fine but struggle with other aspects of language. For example, they may be able to sound out a sentence or paragraph perfectly, making them good readers, but they can't relate to the words in ways that will allow them to make sense of what they're reading (such as forming a picture of a thing or situation).
Nelson, R., Dodd, J., & Smith, D. (1991). Instructional adaptationsavailable to students with learning disabilities at community vocationalcolleges. Learning Disabilities, 2, 27-31.
Matthews, P., Anderson, D., & Skolnick, B. (1987). Faculty attitudetoward accommodations for colleges with learning disabilities. LearningDisability Focus, 3 (1), 46-52.
Fichten, C., Goodrick, G., Tagalakis, V., Amsel, R., & Libman, E. (1990).Getting long in college: Recommendations for college students with disabilitiesand their professors. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 34,103-125.
Crooks, T. (Ed.) (1990). Proceeding of the Next Step: An InvitationalSymposium on Learning Disabilities in Selective Colleges. Boston: HarvardUniversity.
Once a nondiscriminatory standard is established, the professional judgementof faculty is also require in respecting and creatively responding to the accessneeds of students with learning disabilities. In a survey of college studentswith disabilities describing professors who were considered outstanding, Fichtenet al. (1990) noted that "professors considered outstanding by theirstudents with disabilities took an active role by engaging their students indialogue, discussing how problems can be resolved, and talking about how theymight help the student succeed" (p. 120). Depending on the number ofstudents with learning disabilities in a particular course (or across courses)and the realities of a large teaching load or other faculty time constraints,this level of interaction may not be feasible for all faculty with all studentswith learning disabilities. The student comment does, however, suggest that itmay be preferable to approach the question "how much is enough?" as adialogue between faculty and student rather than viewing accommodation as anegotiation process. As active and informed participants, faculty shouldapproach such conversations with an awareness of areas they are not asked tocompromise, but also open to a range of creative alternatives for students withlearning disabilities who wish to benefit from the same standards of highereducation as other students.
How much is enough in accommodating students with learning disabilities? Asseen inn the preceding discussion this persisting ethical question requiresprofessional examination and reflection incorporating faculty content expertisewithin an informed nondiscriminatory thought process. Realistically, facultyoften face the task of asserting essential requirements in response to animmediate request for accommodation by a student currently enrolled in a courseor program. To some extent awareness of essential requirements will already beavailable through the process of regular course and program development. Foressential components of content or pedagogy not already articulated, facultywill need, on a short-term basis, to apply their best professional judgement indefining the essential elements of a course or program. Over time, however, thisprocess should perhaps best be viewed as an on-going dialogue for professionalexamination within disciplines, a topic to be consciously incorporated intocourse development and curricular discussions. Such targeted discussions withinthe various disciplines will allow a more balanced voice for weighing theconstruct of nondiscrimination in institutions of higher education.
Mental health issues affect many college students. The psychological disabilities can range from depression to schizophrenia. These students often have to manage their mental health along with the stresses of paying for college and their academic load. Scholarships for students that are affected with mental health disorders reward students that overcome their disability. These scholarships also alleviate the financial burden having a metal illness can create and helps to dispel the false perceptions people have about mental illness.
Parks, A., Antonoff, S., Drake, C., Skiba, W., & Soberman, J. (1987). Asurvey of programs and services for learning disabled students in graduate andprofessional schools. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 20,181-187, 154.