Disability Accomodations Dillemma

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.

Take the Accommodations or Not?

Yes
6
75%
No
2
25%
 
Total votes: 8

mb9113
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:13 am

Disability Accomodations Dillemma

Postby mb9113 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:04 pm

I've paged through a couple threads on this topic, but I think my situation is a little different.

Background:
I have narcolepsy, so I am prescribed Adderall to stay awake. For the most part, I am A-okay with my meds. I qualified at my university for disability accommodations and was approved, but never really used them.

I have a benign essential tremor in my hands and the Adderall for my narcolepsy makes this worse. However, the severity of the tremor varies according to stress, fatigue, anxiety etc. Also, the tremor varies depending on the nature of the way I need to use my hands.

That being said, the tremor is almost always visible to people, so most people I know will have seen it at some point.

While the tremor doesn't affect my typing 95% of the time, there have been a few occassions during typed assessments (like for a job) where I could barely type.

Learning about law school exams, I worry that this would be the exact type of situation where my nerves, fatigue, and anxiety could amplify my tremor and reduce my typing speed. Though I can't guarantee it will happen.


My Question:

Because accommodations must be prospective and not retroactive, I would need to ask for accomodations well before the test (when I'll actually know how my tremor will react).

I'm not worried that I can't get accommodations; my tremor is well documented and has been for years by multiple doctors since my narcolepsy diagnosis.

I'm worried if I should take accommodations or not.

One side of me says, "Take them. Don't fuck with your future."

But the other side of me is worried that there is a chance I'll get an unfair advantage. Also--and perhaps a little silly--I'm worried my classmates will resent me for it as they are likely to see me typing all semester just fine. Additionally, to adequately explain my tremor and subsequent accommodations, I'd probably need to disclose I take Adderall--knowledge of which I'm not so sure I want spreading through a law school.


What would you do?

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cinephile
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Re: Disability Accomodations Dillemma

Postby cinephile » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:26 pm

There is no reason for you to throw away your professional future just because you're worried about what your classmates might think. Also, you don't have to disclose your condition to the whole class, just whoever is in charge of accommodations/testing/etc.

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Emma.
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Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 7:57 pm

Re: Disability Accomodations Dillemma

Postby Emma. » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:32 pm

Take the accommodations. If you are worried about an unfair advantage and you find that once you get into the exam your typing isn't an issue, just stop typing when you get to the time allotted for the rest of your classmates, or don't take the accommodations on your next exam.

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presh
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Re: Disability Accomodations Dillemma

Postby presh » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:33 pm

cinephile wrote:There is no reason for you to throw away your professional future just because you're worried about what your classmates might think. Also, you don't have to disclose your condition to the whole class, just whoever is in charge of accommodations/testing/etc.


This. OP, you have a medical condition. Plan ahead for the worst outcome. You don't owe it to your classmates to potentially handicap your test performance just because you might not need it.

09042014
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Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:47 pm

Re: Disability Accomodations Dillemma

Postby 09042014 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:38 pm

Unless your school somehow forces you to publicly disclose all this, how will anyone even find out?

mb9113
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:13 am

Re: Disability Accomodations Dillemma

Postby mb9113 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:08 pm

DF:

I'm not sure. I just assumed they would have to somehow know I have accommodations and one thing would lead to another.

All:

Thanks for the advice so far. Taking the accommodations is what I was leaning towards, but I wanted to vet the rationality of my concerns before I did.

And for the being concerned about classmates:

I've grown up unusually close with hundreds of severely disabled people because of my Dad's job. It frustrates me when people do abuse disability accomodations because of the resentment it causes in a lot of people. Whether my use of is legitimate or not, I don't want to contribute a negative perception/trivialization if I can avoid it.

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kalvano
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Re: Disability Accomodations Dillemma

Postby kalvano » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:32 pm

What's your average typing speed? Is it significantly below the regular persons? If so, you're not abusing anything.

mb9113
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:13 am

Re: Disability Accomodations Dillemma

Postby mb9113 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:50 pm

kalvano wrote:What's your average typing speed? Is it significantly below the regular persons? If so, you're not abusing anything.


The issue is my typing speed is variable.

In class when I'm taking notes, it will almost never be a problem.

But on a test, the extra stress can make my tremor far, far worse. Like I just did some crystal and I'm tweaking.

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Emma.
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Re: Disability Accomodations Dillemma

Postby Emma. » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:54 pm

mb9113 wrote:
kalvano wrote:What's your average typing speed? Is it significantly below the regular persons? If so, you're not abusing anything.


The issue is my typing speed is variable.

In class when I'm taking notes, it will almost never be a problem.

But on a test, the extra stress can make my tremor far, far worse. Like I just did some crystal and I'm tweaking.


With your condition you should consider laying off the crystal.

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cinephile
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Re: Disability Accomodations Dillemma

Postby cinephile » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:57 pm

If you don't know what's going to happen, it doesn't make sense to take the risk. Law school isn't like undergrad - everything is determined by your first year grades. So one bad test might sink you, and you can't take that sort of risk.

I've only known one student who took the accommodations at my law school and no one judged her for it, as far as I know. It is rather difficult to get them at my school - plenty of people who had extra time in undergrad aren't getting it now (and they've complained about that), so the few who get it are seen as legitimately needing it.




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