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Every student deserves to have an equal opportunity
to learn, and educators need to make sure that everyone has reasonable access to the
content that is being taught, and that they’re able to complete assignments. That being said, some students have a need
for certain accommodations in order to be able to achieve the same level of success
as others. Learning disabilities, mental illness, hearing
or visual impairments, And being wheelchair-bound are some of the most common issues a student
may have when it comes to accessibility. By law, schools must provide reasonable
accommodations to these individuals. Here we have Barbara, a high school senior. She was diagnosed with ADD at a young age. This has made sitting still and paying attention
in class an ever-present struggle throughout her time as a student. Since she has difficulty focusing on one thing
at a time, she sometimes takes a bit longer than other students to complete assignments. Her school allows her extra time for test-taking. This is an example of a reasonable accommodation. Other examples of reasonable accommodations
for disabilities are allowing a student in a wheelchair to leave class a few minutes
early in order to get to their next class on time, and having a transcriber or note
taker record lectures for the hearing impaired. All that being said, what constitutes a disability
by law? And how exactly is “reasonable accommodation”
defined? A disability is a physical or mental impairment
that limits an individual’s ability to perform certain activities. The definition is broad, and includes everything
from food allergies to reduced mobility. A student’s impairment must be significant
to meet the definition of a disability, and in some cases they must have documentation
from a doctor or psychologist. Schools and universities can’t discriminate
against an individual who is capable of learning apart from their disability, but who requires
a certain degree of assistance. However, reasonable accommodations are just
that – reasonable. Any services they must provide cannot jeopardize
the enjoyment or safety of any of the other non-disabled students, or put a significant
financial or administrative burden on the school. The laws in place protect individuals with
disabilities like Barbara, and make sure people like her have opportunities for success.

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