I am a student with a learning disability. I was diagnosed during my first year at college. The Student Disability Center (SDC) at UC Davis provides great resources for those with learning disabilities; and overall I’ve had a great experience with them.
I think the greater issue is that there are still some professors who don’t like to make the effort to reach out to their SDC students. As an SDC student, it’s our responsibility to send request forms to our professors to ensure that we receive accommodations for the quarter. After that, professors will respond and make accommodations for their students. I noticed that the bigger classes have more experience with SDC students. They are always the first to reach out to their students ahead of time and schedule their exam times to meet their needs. It’s an issue when professors fail to do their part.
When I first attended Davis, there was a professor who failed to reach out to their students so I made the effort to talk to them a week before an exam. Their response was “Oh, well sorry you were supposed to tell me 2 weeks ago. You’ll be fine because a lot of students don’t use the full 2 hours to finish this exam anyways.” I honestly felt offended because they did not know my situation, and they were making assumptions based on other people. However, I did not argue because I guess at the time it was “my” responsibility to let them know. Then, I had another professor who would never tell me when my exam times were. I still had to email them before every exam to make sure I would receive the time I needed which felt unnecessary because if I asked the first time, I would hope they understand that I need extra time for the rest of my exams.
I feel like there is also this stigma around learning disabilities. I used to find it really hard to tell my new friends in classes why I won’t be taking the exam with them in the same room and they always act so surprised by responding with, “You don’t seem like you would have one.” or “I would have never guessed.” I just think to myself, “Well, yes I am a normal human just like everyone else.”
Nonetheless, over time I have learned to embrace my learning difference. I am wired the way I am and I am owning it now. I’ve even gained the courage to share my story with some people and the responses have been very heart-warming. Because of what I have gone through, I’ve had the opportunity help some of my peers with their academic struggles. Knowing that I can impact someone and give them the support that they need is what makes my journey bearable.
Anonymous, UC Davis student
*Please note that although each student’s experiences are unique, and policies and practices evolve over time. Students with disabilities are urged to reach out to the Student Disability Center for support if they encounter difficulty accessing accommodations.
For more information please call 530-752-3184.
- Student Disability Center
- What Are My Rights to Accommodations in Higher Education?
- Join the Autism & Neurodiversity Community at UC Davis! Learn more about this organization by clicking here.
- Disability Discrimination Fact Sheet
- Equal Access to Extracurricular Activities for Students with Disabilities