Questions from Teachers in Training: Accessibility

How accessible were your schools/classrooms growing up? Did you ever have any issues receiving the necessary accommodations?

Until sixth grade, I attended public school, then private up through high school, and a public university. In public school, I had the help of the district providing services such as Orientation and Mobility, as well as providing tools I needed (like a CCTV) to do my schoolwork. Although, my classes were not innately accessible, at this stage in my life, I just wanted to fit in with the other students. In my small mind, that looked like not using accommodations even though I had the opportunity to do so. I know if I just asked, they would have provided me with what I needed, but truthfully, I didn’t know what I needed then. I continued this way during private school, the difference being that they did not have the financial ability to provide large-scale accommodations like those mentioned previously. Even when I did ask for accommodations as I became more confident to understand what I needed to succeed, I was not firm in my requests, so teachers frequently forgot how difficult it was for me to fill out a Scantron exam (but I did it anyway). I did end up receiving mobility from a state grant, but getting it took several months while the school got involved with the district. There were times I did ask for accommodations, but if they didn’t follow through, I felt that enforcing my needs was seen as entitled and burdensome (which is not true). It wasn’t until going to college my second year that I could accurately describe my needs and was not afraid to refuse to take an inaccessible quiz until it was administered in the university disability services with my listed accommodations. In summary, my classes weren’t necessarily accessible, but I wasn’t assertive enough to request accommodations and to know what I needed to succeed.

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