Myth Busters

Objective

Discuss and dispel some prevalent myths regarding disability accommodation

Reading time: approximately 2 minutes.

I already work with disabled students. I don’t need this training.

Instructors often want to accommodate, but don’t always have the right knowledge to support students effectively (Lombardi et al., 2011). In the health professions particularly, faculty members and placement supervisors can have difficulty separating their medicalized knowledge of disabled clients from their perception of the disabled student they are supporting (Stergiopoulos et al., 2018).  It is helpful for all of us to keep our knowledge up to date.

Students should already know what they need.

Students’ needs can change over time, and they may not have had access to what they needed in high school.

Accommodations set up students for unrealistic workplace expectations.

Students who can feel comfortable about their accommodation needs and are included by their instructors have better placement and employment experiences.

This is going to create extra work.

There may be some extra work, but the student is doing additional work as well. The student will do their part to figure out what they need in placement.

I don’t want to be a gatekeeper for accommodations.

By the time a student enters placement, they already have a need for accommodations. Your role is to support the student in facilitating that process.

How will I know the student is not cheating?

Accommodations are tools to help the student do their work; an accommodation does not do the work for the student.

Accommodations will spread. This will cause other students to ask for accommodations.

Accommodations are a tool put in place to support the needs of a particular student. It’s usually not something that would benefit all students. If an accommodation would benefit everyone, perhaps it could be a benefit to the workplace.

Sources

Lombardi, A. R., Murray, C., and Gerdes, H., 2011. College Faculty and Inclusive Instruction: Self-Reported Attitudes and Actions Pertaining to Universal Design. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 4(4): 250–261. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0024961

Stergiopoulos, E., Fernando, O., and Martimianakis, M. A., 2018. “Being on Both Sides”: Canadian Medical Students’ Experiences With Disability, the Hidden Curriculum, and Professional Identity Construction, Academic Medicine,  93(10): 1550-1559. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000002300

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