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Ukazujem Revíziu 4 vytvorenú 12/09/2020 od klincecum.

  1. My name is Natalia Rivera.
    I'm a doctoral student.
  2. And, well, doctoral graduate actually.
    And in the Department of Hispanic
  3. Languages and Literature at the
    University of Pittsburgh.
  4. I'm also a Spanish Instructor and I
    specialize in Latin American and
  5. Italian literature and
    critical disability studies.
  6. So my interests, my academic interests
    are intimately tied to my personal
  7. experience as a student and
    now instructor with
  8. a learning disability and co-occurring
    anxiety.
  9. So, the first memory that I remember,
    just on a personal level,
  10. recognizing that there was some access
    issues or some degree of
  11. especially in the high school level,
    some degree of
  12. a lack of knowledge, really, of
    different types of learning styles
  13. and different types of processing speeds
    because of my diagnosis of attention
  14. deficit disorder. One of the key
    components of how that,
  15. you know, how ADD affects me is that
    I have a slower processing speed.
  16. So, while my reading comprehension is
    strong,
  17. my processing speed affects my
    writing speed so I'm not always
  18. able to produce a paragraph in a
    timely manner. So, we often
  19. had prompts in English class. This
    was in tenth grade and
  20. the expectation was that we would be
    able to write a paragraph in half-hour.
  21. And often times I would need double
    amount of time. I would need an hour.
  22. And sometimes I wouldn't even be able
    to finish one simple paragraph
  23. in an hour.
  24. And I remember my English instructor,
    at the time,
  25. after class when I sort of approached her
    and said,
  26. "Umm, hey. Not withstanding the
    additional time. I wasn't
  27. really able to finish my paragraph."
    And I remember she looked at me
  28. incredulous and said to me, "I mean,
    if you can't even write a paragraph,
  29. a simple paragraph in one hour,
    I don't know what to tell you."
  30. So, I remember that moment. I
    also remember later on
  31. when I was preparing for AP Exams.
    This also happened in high school.
  32. This was my junior year. I was taking
    an AP World History class
  33. And I remember that I approached my
    instructor, already knowing on my own
  34. because I had already had plenty of
    experience advocating for myself since
  35. I was a child. I already knew that
    all standardized testing
  36. had a process for requesting
    accommodations.
  37. So, I remember approaching my AP
    World History Exam and-
  38. I meant, my AP World History teacher
    and explaining to him
  39. that I was registered with disability
    resources, that I had a documented
  40. disability and that these were
    the particular accommodations I needed
  41. time and a half. It was a very common
    accommodation.
  42. And I remember him telling me, "I don't
    have a problem providing you
  43. classroom accommodations. I'm just not
    sure that
  44. that extended time is provided on the
    AP Exam." And I was just
  45. flabbergasted that an instructor would
    actively misinform me that way
  46. because even I knew at the tender age
    of, I don't know, sixteen,
  47. that ATS always provided a process
    for requesting
  48. accommodation. So, I was stunned
    that an adult felt that he could
  49. just misinform me that way. And I
    know
  50. that misinforming me not necessarily
    with a negative intent, but he
  51. genuinely had no notion of the
    process. And
  52. yeah. So, it's un-willful misinformation,
    but
  53. the effect is similar. Because imagine
    had he said something like that
  54. to a student who had no idea how
    to request accommodations.
  55. You know, how to attain an
    evaluation needed to substantiate
  56. the need for accommodations. So
    it's just a lot of misinformation
  57. enabled with ignorance and not so much
    malice.
  58. But, just the complete lack of information
    out there just really compromises
  59. student's ability to advocate for
    themselves.
  60. In my personal work with the
    disability rights
  61. community because I worked two
    and a half years at a disability
  62. rights organization called Autistic
    Self Advocacy Network
  63. and meeting a lot of people my age
  64. a lot of students don't find out that
    they have a diagnosis until much later
  65. in life. Once they start picking
    up on their own symptoms, they seek
  66. out individually supports. So I
  67. certainly, on a personal level, I
    benefited from my
  68. mother's knowledge and from her
    experiences as a parent advocate.
  69. I think my awareness of a level
    of discrimination
  70. even if it was kind of on the
    level of microaggression,
  71. I think I had more awareness of
    discrimination at the high school level
  72. but, my initial exposure to advocacy
    really happened when I was young
  73. and I remember going...
    There were some days off from school
  74. and I remember going to the office with
    my mom. And I remember meeting
  75. other moms and seeing her work part
    time at
  76. this parent advocacy group for parents
    with disabilities
  77. so I thank my mother for, you know,
    introducing me
  78. to the concept of self advocacy and
    for empowering me
  79. to use it in every aspect of my life and
    at a professional level
  80. and an academic level, as well.
  81. So, I don't really remember the day of
    the Americans with Disabilities Act
  82. 'cause I was just a couple of months
    old.
  83. But, the impact on me, basically
    I sincerely
  84. doubt had I been born, I don't know,
    forty years ago
  85. as opposed to thirty years ago, there's
    a possibility that I would not have
  86. attended college. And even if I had
    attended college,
  87. I just sort of feel that I would have
    never considered doing a
  88. PhD, if it hadn't been for the Americans
    with Disabilities Act.
  89. Because graduate school, the level of
    support at the undergraduate level,
  90. at least at a liberal arts college,
  91. that tends to be more supportive is
    radically different from graduate school
  92. where the level of support is practically
    non-existent, I feel
  93. and I think a lot of graduate students
    feel the same way.
  94. So without the ADA, I'm not even sure
    I would have been fortunate enough
  95. to attend college so I think that it
    offered me
  96. the protections that I needed to go
    beyond what my
  97. wildest dreams, right? So I feel like...
  98. I've had a very privileged life and I'm
    grateful for my academic
  99. opportunities that I know there are so
    many deserving students
  100. who didn't have the opportunities that I
    had and I'm not only grateful to my family
  101. for their unyielding dedication
  102. to advocacy and also very
  103. grateful for the ADA as well. I mean,
    disabilities definitely run in my family
  104. neuro-developmental disabilities, learning
    disabilities. I do have a cousin who
  105. was on the autism spectrum and
  106. I don't think, by no means, benefited
  107. by the protections offered by the
    Americans with Disabilities Act in the
  108. same degree that I did. I think
    unfortunately because I think there
  109. still cultural stigma
  110. particularly if an autism spectrum
    disorder
  111. co-occurs with a intellectual disability,
    but he
  112. finished his associate's degree with
    minimal supports.
  113. I think because the ADA empowered me,
    I feel like
  114. I'm prepared as an instructor to offer
    support
  115. to students with other disabilities. I
    have
  116. students with documented disabilities
    and I feel that because
  117. of my personal experience as a
    student
  118. with disability, I feel much more
    prepared to work with
  119. a wider range of students who need
    different needs and I'm prepared
  120. to be accommodating and I'm prepared
    to
  121. at least endeavored to make students
    feel like they're valuable members of
  122. my classroom. I'm not a perfect
    instructor. I still have a lot to learn
  123. but, I think that level of
  124. humanity, I think, that speaks to a
    lot of students and I think that I'm
  125. better able to connect to connect with
    my students. So,
  126. the ADA allowed me to be useful as
    an instructor, basically. But, I
  127. remember one interview I did with
    a student on the
  128. autism spectrum, who was attending
    a
  129. college specifically for students with
    learning disabilities.
  130. And she made a very astute observation
    about
  131. learning disabilities under colleges and
    sort of their
  132. focus on vocational training as opposed to
    academic training and
  133. this was a smart girl who wanted to
  134. pursue a degree in the humanities and she
    was doing an Interdisciplinary Liberal
  135. Arts degree, but she couldn't take
    philosophy, for instance. Or
  136. she couldn't do a major in history.
    And I think the way
  137. the classes, the course work, the
    curriculum,
  138. just how all the academic options were
    structured in this particular college
  139. it sort of reinforced this idea that
    traditional academic
  140. disciplines are somehow out of reach
    for a student who
  141. reads as having an intellectual disability
    or who reads as having
  142. potential learning difficulties and she
    lamented and I
  143. wholeheartedly agreed with her appraisal.
    She lamented the fact that she couldn't
  144. pursue a traditional discipline she would
    have wanted. She wanted to be a historian.
  145. So I think that in a way, people wouldn't
    really read the legislation
  146. very carefully.
    I guess in their attempt
  147. to sort of include people, they're
    inadvertently limiting the options
  148. for a lot of students because there
    are students who may need to
  149. do- There are students who may
    want to pursue
  150. physics, right? But they need a longer
    timeline to complete
  151. their coursework, but it's just in a
    traditional four-year
  152. college. Those mechanisms just
    aren't in place to provide
  153. that support system for a student who
    needs additional support, but
  154. who wants to pursue a traditional
    academic discipline. So, I think in that
  155. regard, even though the spirit of the
    ADA, you definitely get the sense
  156. with the wording of the legislation
    that I mean it's intended to
  157. sort of correct that kind of
  158. societal exclusion and academic exclusion
    of students who want to pursue traditional
  159. disciplines, but I think in that regard,
    the level of
  160. enforcement I think is still very
    differential. I think another thing
  161. that I do want to add, just for my
    personal
  162. observations as an instructor,
  163. the regular enforcement of the
    2009 Amendment -
  164. which was critical in the sense that it
    sort of broadened the category of
  165. disability to include vary proteins.
    And by "protein", I mean,
  166. very inconsistent disabilities. So,
    For instance,
  167. something like cancer or a auto-
    immune disorder
  168. finally was incorporated into this broader
    category of disabilities, so it wasn't
  169. just- So, that 2009 Amendment was
    critical because
  170. it rendered clear that disability
    did not have to be
  171. "stable". It did not have to be
    a "consistent"
  172. you know, "putatively consistent"
    physical disability to qualify
  173. as a disability under the legislation.
    So, this included you know
  174. disabilities, whether somatic or
    cognitive disabilities
  175. that were either inconsistent in
    nature or went through periods of
  176. remission. So, something like bipolar
    disorder, right?
  177. So, the 2008 Amendment, what was great
    about it was that it made clear that
  178. not withstanding the point through which
    you're sort of going
  179. sort of like thinking something like
    bipolar disorder where you're going
  180. through sort of a manic depressive episode
    that at a institutional
  181. level there was still a responsibility to
    provide adequate supports to that person
  182. who was experiencing cyclical changes.
    And what I've noticed
  183. at the university level, especially with
    science programs,
  184. that they include a tidbit that actually
    seems very almost
  185. unlawful to me.
    You look at the
  186. graduate handbooks and the
    undergraduate handbooks as well
  187. they have this very strange policy
    that you're supposed to
  188. let your professors know about your
    disability. That you
  189. must tell your professors within the
    first two weeks of the semester
  190. that you have documented disability.
    The problem is that a lot of
  191. disabilities don't work that way.
    There are moments where you're
  192. "functional". You know, relatively
    functional and there are moments where
  193. you are not functional in sort of
    socially understood terms, right?
  194. And especially for students, this is not
    unusual for students who
  195. receive a diagnosis later in life when
    they're just commencing college
  196. which is a transitional period, so it
    makes sense that certain symptoms
  197. that were not disabling in other
    contexts, suddenly become disabling
  198. when you enter college. And that policy
  199. basically
  200. basically misinforms students into
  201. thinking that they are not able
  202. to request supports when they've
    reached a point where their
  203. condition has become so disabling that
    they can't necessarily meet
  204. requirements in the expected time frame.
    So, it's almost as if there's like a
  205. mechanism in place to give the
  206. false impression that you're not able
    to receive supports
  207. later in the semester.
    So, I think in that sense it's more like
  208. even if there are protections in place,
    institutional ignorance
  209. and the regular enforcement continue to be
    a problem. So, if I could pick one
  210. thing that needs to change in terms of
    access...
  211. I'm gonna start a little bit abstract and
    then I'm gonna try to clarify what I mean
  212. I think we need to sort of overcome this
    concept of
  213. autonomy. What do I mean by that?
    And I think a lot of
  214. disability rights activists, when we think
    about advocacy, they do think about
  215. in terms of no collective grassroots
    movement, so there is an
  216. emphasis on relationality, there's an
    emphasis on mutual support.
  217. And I think traditionally in just
  218. Occidental culture, in Western culture,
  219. the responsibility for seeking social
    accommodations for disabilities,
  220. largely incumbent upon the individual
    and not society.
  221. I think the ADA certainly
  222. gives the impression right? That social
  223. accommodation is in fact, what the terms
    or the phrase suggests, right?
  224. "A social responsibility", but in practice
    it's not treated like a
  225. collective responsibility and I see this a
    lot in the university in administration
  226. level.
    So when a student begins
  227. college, not only are you responsible
    for time management,
  228. for learning how to live independently
    for the first time, if that's the case,
  229. learning to live with roommates, which
    may not actually be accessible for you
  230. if you're a student with a disability. You
    are also responsible for coordinating your
  231. own accommodations and depending on the
    kinds of
  232. accommodations that you need, I think at
    the undergraduate level - in my case -
  233. it wasn't so overwhelming, I could still
    manage it, but at the graduate level
  234. to try to request new accommodations,
    based on the new needs that you
  235. develop because of the shifting levels
    of work and
  236. sort of in the overall. It's just your
    coursework is just more demanding
  237. at the graduate level.
  238. There needs to be a way for social
    accommodation,
  239. academic accommodations to be-
  240. it needs to be re-thought of as a
    collective responsibility, but at the
  241. administrative level there is a
    responsibility at the administrative level
  242. for the student to succeed and that it
    is not merely
  243. an autonomous burden, it is
    a collective responsibility.
  244. It is a collective duty.
  245. I do think that we as community
    members can take on the
  246. responsibility to sort of identify those
    disabilities rights organizations that
  247. are actively working towards providing
  248. supports and services
  249. and not focusing on the cure aspect
    because the cure aspect is not
  250. allowing us to address the immediate
    societal needs.
  251. So, I think organizations
    like the
  252. Autistic Self Advocacy Network, the one
    that I worked for,
  253. they have these wonderful advocacy center
    programs. They really work on
  254. providing cognitively accessible resources
    for political
  255. advocacy, for instance.
    And they empower
  256. students to think of ways
  257. for advocating for supports on
    college campuses.
  258. So, looking at organizations that
  259. empower people to advocate for themselves
    with the skills that they
  260. have to feel that their lives are worth
  261. living as they are.