Nicole Lee Schroeder, PhD

Nicole Lee Schroeder, PhD



This thread is for educators bc I am worried by how my students talk about their accommodations. Many are apologetic, many feel the need to convince me that they CAN do well and that they ARE smart. And all I can think is: what the fuck did you do to make them feel this way? 1/17

First of all I'm a disabled academic who has had accommodations since the sophomore year of undergrad. I had accommodations forms each term for the rest of undergrad and grad school - were they helpful? No. Accommodations treat disabilities like cookie cutter issues.2/17

Disability Services has a list of accommodations, and a set number of each they can give. It's a quota system of interventions like "time and a half" or "quiet test spaces" that's designed to save the school as much money as possible while pretending at access. 3/17

If you didn't know that please go read Academic Ableism or Ableism in Academia or check out #WhyDisabledPeopleDropOut. No matter what role you may have in #HigherEd you should be well aware of this reality. Disabled students face discrimination and lack resources every day. 4/17

Students have to go through rigorous, expensive, and sometimes invasive testing to get official medical dx that grant those accommodations. The process itself is steeped in misogyny, racism, ageism, and every other intersection of oppression at the heart of medical ableism. 5/17

A student has to convince a medical professional that they should recommend XYZ for their disability. Student input does not matter. Which is ironic because I wrote every letter for my doctors and they just signed them. Why? Bc they don't know what we need. We know best. 6/17

Most students do not know what they CAN ask for. No one tells them. Disabled students are asked to guess at what will help, but all those guesses have to fall on an arbitrary accommodations list designed by non-disabled ppl. And they have to fall in the school quota. 7/17

Even when the student carefully advocate for themself, they have to pass medical screening, they have to know who to contact in Disability Services, then they have to pass that screening too. They can be denied at any stage of the process. 8/17

Also if a student gets sick midway through the term? Most schools don't demand that professors enact accommodations midway through the semester. Accommodations are not retroactive either. So if a student fights for 4 months to get them sorted, they receive nothing. 9/17

What can you do to make the system more equitable? First of all actually change your course policies. Attendance requirements in a pandemic with no protections for disabled students? That's discrimination. Figure out how to take your course hybrid. 10/17

Hard deadlines? They might make grading and progress easier to track but if you get student accommodations for flexible deadlines you legally must honor that. Don't say it can't be done. It has to be done. Figure out a way to scale that up and normalize it in the course. 11/17

No computers in class? This is literally just a power move to police student behavior. They're paying over 10K to take your course. If they want to play around online during that time why do you care? 12/17

And there are so many things you can do to expand on these. I remind students that I have accommodations. I put my care needs in the lecture. I explain how my needs reflect themselves in my email policy and my approach to assignments. 13/17

And I tell them that if it's within my power to tweak a class policy or grading strategy or assignment that I'd be happy to sit down and negotiate. Course design is not enough to guarantee access. Expanding access is a constant pedagogical practice. 14/17

My heart breaks when I see students apologizing for needing access that has long been denied them. Every student is capable of thriving in higher ed provided the right resources. No student should feel guilty asking for what they need. 15/17

Students: you can use to find full lists of legally recognized accommodations. But you should also be able to ask for more meaningful and poignent accommodations. I'm sorry the system is up against you. Come to @DisabledAcadem for community. 16/17

Educators: do better. I'm tired of watching disabled students wither under discriminatory policies and procedures. Just because something is the norm doesn't mean it's good or useful or deserves a place in our unis. 17/17 #DisabilityTwitter #AcademicTwitter #AcademicChatter

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