The Adjusted PhD: What Accommodations Work(ed) For You?

Posted: June 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

PhD(isabled)

Skateboard wheels in different colours arranged in grid formation display on a shop wall.

Today I initiated conversations with my new institutional home’s Disability Support Services.  As a disabled postgraduate researcher returning to PhD study after a previous unsuccessful attempt, I’ve been here before.

Here’s the thing: what I’ve found at this level, and in my previous experience, is that the “reasonable adjustments” – the accommodations to which disabled and chronically ill students, with medically confirmed diagnoses are entitled – are framed in terms of “what the student needs in virtue of their condition”.

In other words, the idea is this: you, the disabled student, know best how your condition affects your life, and importantly, your working practices.  You, therefore, are best placed to prescribe to your institutional support services, exactly what accommodations you need them to arrange for you.

On its face, this seems reasonable enough, especially if we leave aside for now the experiences of students who become disabled while doing…

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