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Case example: Learning disability

(Used with permission from DO IT:Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking & Technology University of Washington)

Ken and Psychology


I'm Ken, a sophomore studying child psychology. I have an expressive language disability and I'm also a very poor speller.

Access Issue

This semester, two of my psychology courses require written exams. Even though I do all right with multiple choice and short answer tests, I have a hard time completing written exams that are timed. For my assignments I use a word processor with the grammar and spell checker options rather successfully. However, a computer will not be available for my exams.


I presented documentation of my disability to the disabled student services office and requested assistance. I also met with the two course instructors prior to the quarter, presented documentation from the disabled student services office, and discussed needed accommodations in relationship to the course requirements. Both courses had mid-term and final exams. With the support of staff from the Disabilies Services Office and my instructors, I was allotted extended exam time by one hour for each exam. I was also allowed to bring my hand-held speller to each exam. After considering the number of students in the lecture and the detailed course content, we also decided it would be to my advantage to use the weekly university notetaking service.


This case study:

  • Provides examples of test taking accommodations for students with learning disabilities.
  • Exemplifies the use of low technology solutions.
  • Shows how university support can work with the student and faculty member to assure reasonable accommodations are provided.