Friday, August 10, 2012


No, I'm not being philosophical.  DREAM.  That's the name of the disability resources office on campus.  And I had my first positive interaction with them a few weeks ago.  I got my approval to bring Owen to campus (something you need if your university doesn't get any federal funding; I have no idea if Gonzaga does or doesn't, but I wanted to be safe) along with other accommodations I didn't even know I had access to.

Like flexible attendance policies.  Those words are so magical I'm going to say them again.  Flexible.  Attendance.  Policy.  Which means that if I have a migraine or am recovering from bad tics, I can email my professors that due to my disability I am missing class and it doesn't count towards my absences.  Gonzaga is strict about the absence policy and when there's only 7 people in your class, it's really noticeable when you're gone.  This policy means that even if a paper was due on a day I miss (for TS related reasons) or there was an exam, I can't be penalized for doing the work late.  Where was that four years ago?

I can also have a note taker if I want one.  What this means is that if I felt like I were unable to take notes in a class, they would ask somebody in my class to take notes for me using a carbon-copy notebook.  I don't anticipate using this; most if not all of my classes will provide guided notes and/or powerpoint presentations and if I miss something I feel comfortable asking my professors for the missing notes or other people in my class.

They also have given me additional testing time (25%) and a "distraction-reduced testing space".  Neither of these I actually anticipate using at school.  I do okay when testing in school; I can focus on one thing and manage to get it done.  It would be a bigger hassle for me to schedule a test with the disability resources office and go take it there.  But... I need these accommodations documented when I go to apply for disability accommodations for my BCBA exam next summer.  I can not sit in a room with other people for hours upon hours trying to take a test.  And quite honestly, it is more for everybody else in the room than it is for me.  It doesn't matter if I take the test in a quiet room or not, I will still tic.  But can you imagine the reactions of everybody else in the room trying to take a test if I were there squeaking and bouncing away?  In the past, I have never applied for accommodations for these types of tests (because I didn't have documentation of a need), and I tried my hardest to hide my tics.  Which normally meant finishing well before the time allotted, normally first of everybody in the room because there is only so long I can keep my body quiet.  Which led to some not so high test scores.  This time though, I will apply for accommodations.  I will appeal if they deny me and I will continue appealing until the date of the test if necessary.  If however, they refuse to give me my own testing room and if they refuse to allow Owen in the room (and allow us potty breaks if the test goes that long), I will not try to hide my tics.  They can deal with the backlash of having people unsatisfied with their testing environment.  If I follow all the rules, then it isn't my job anymore to make certain that I control my tics.

I, for the first time ever, have everything lined up to start the school year with the accommodations I need.  The disability resources office seemed totally excited about Owen and on board with anything I need.  They have told me that I can come to them with any problems I encounter; although I don't anticipate any seeing as I'm taking classes with 4 professors whom I know very well with 6 other students, whom I also know very well; all of whom know Owen is coming.  I don't know what they would do if somebody claimed they had a severe allergy; in an undergraduate program where I would actually have options for other classes, they would just move me.  But now, when I am taking such specific classes and I don't have other options, I don't know what they would do.  And I hope I don't have to find out.  Luckily for Owen and me, severe allergies or a phobia of dogs is not a reason to kick us out of a class (or anywhere for that matter).  If the allergies or phobia rise to the level of a disability, somebody has to come up with a way to accommodate us both.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

There are 40 days until Owen and Darcie arrive!

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