Posted by: MandyS | September 14, 2011

Activity 4.1 – emotional challenges

A little behind with this at the moment but not had a good start to the week and it is not set to get better either. Anyway, as I said at my interview yesterday; it is all a question of time management…

Of all the readings for this activity, it is Resource 4 which has had the most impact for me. Although I have appreciated the many physical challenges there may be for a student with disabilities, I have never really thought about the emotional ones. Obviously, it depends on the student, but I would imagine for the majority it is quite a daunting experience starting at college/university, and more so for disabled students. Some of the problems Goode (2007) highlights are: choice of university; break with parental oversight, coming to terms with disability, not knowing what resources are available or how to access them, relying on others, waiting for resources, ‘battling’ the system, being ‘extravisible’, dealing with bureaucracy, concern about disclosure. The reality appears to be that, despite provisions being in place for student’s with disabilities, they don’t in fact make life any easier or promote the ‘level playing field’. As one student says, “These aren’t issues other students have to deal with”. What emerges from the reading is that it is the support for disabled students which is lacking. This is particularly relevant in my own context as essentially my role is supporting my students. I would like to think that I deal with issues effectively for all my students but I think this activity has enlightened me to the fact that not all the issues will be obvious and I should not place too much reliance on student services getting it right every time. But how do you strike a balance when the AR students I have tend to want to ‘go it alone’, on the basis that they want to achieve the ‘level playing field’ by not being treated any differently?

References:

Goode, J. (2007) ‘“Managing” disability: early experiences of university students with disabilities’, Disability & Society, vol. 22, no. 1, p. 35–48; also available online at http://libezproxy.open.ac.uk/ login?url=http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1080/09687590601056204. (accessed 08 September, 2011)

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