Accommodations

RamblinRed

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I am going to start a thread here about accommodations for people with disabilities. There has been some discussion in a thread on the football board but this topic is better suited to this one.

As a father of a child who is on the Autism spectrum accommodations are an important topic to me. We have a son who is incredibly smart (he is actually in Mensa based on testing done with a psychologist ), but he struggles in recognizing some social cues and also has processing disorders where it takes him longer to process information in his brain and then transmit that back to his body. When he was in public schools he had 529 plans, though we eventually took him out of public schools due to bullying by other kids and a teacher. The majority of the time you would not even know he was on the spectrum, but there are other times when it is very obvious.

There are certainly families that take advantage of the system, but when used correctly it allows people who have alot to contribute to our society a chance to do so. I'm glad that many universities (including GT - which like all public universities has to provide reasonable accommodations and actually has a program specifically for Autistic individuals) and alot of businesses recognize this and are taking steps to allow individuals like my son to be able to grow and make contributions to our society.

Just like all kids my son is very like me in some ways and different from me in other ways (I love sports, he doesn't care about them in the least. I'm really good at math, my son definitely is not. But my son is incredibly creative and a big outside the box thinker, which I am not). But it is important to me that he has a chance to go after his dreams and be a productive member of society and the accommodations we have been able to get for him over the years give him a better chance of getting there.
 

Buzzbomb

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I too have an adult son on the Autism spectrum that I raised alone. Similar to yours, as far as recognition goes for the general public. If anyone has a fairly independent child with these challenges, the Excel program at G.T. is tremendous and extremely affordable. It is a roommate situation on campus for the student, with a two year stint.
 

4shotB

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I am currently a HS teacher after 25+ years in the private sector (manufacturing). I am fascinated by this topic in my current role and I definitely see the advantages provided to people who actually use them in the way that they were designed.Like other social benefit programs though, there are those who try to gain advantage/exploit the system. I have a handful of students who make A's who would struggle to make C's without the benefit of extended time. I believe their underlying issues are indeed genuine. One such student is currently taking his final exam as we speak and hopes to get accepted into a top tier engineering school. I always wonder how such students fare though after education when such programs are NOT available to them? You mentioned that some businesses are adjusting in your paragraph Can you elaborate on this issue?

Disclaimer: I am the father of a son who struggles with very real mental health issues so I am sensitive to the topic as well. He has failed to hold on to steady employment as a result of his issues and part of the issue is that there are no accommodations in the work place for people like him.
 

IEEEWreck

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607
I am currently a HS teacher after 25+ years in the private sector (manufacturing). I am fascinated by this topic in my current role and I definitely see the advantages provided to people who actually use them in the way that they were designed.Like other social benefit programs though, there are those who try to gain advantage/exploit the system. I have a handful of students who make A's who would struggle to make C's without the benefit of extended time. I believe their underlying issues are indeed genuine. One such student is currently taking his final exam as we speak and hopes to get accepted into a top tier engineering school. I always wonder how such students fare though after education when such programs are NOT available to them? You mentioned that some businesses are adjusting in your paragraph Can you elaborate on this issue?

Disclaimer: I am the father of a son who struggles with very real mental health issues so I am sensitive to the topic as well. He has failed to hold on to steady employment as a result of his issues and part of the issue is that there are no accommodations in the work place for people like him.
In short? Pretty well. I'm not the right person to pull out statistics, but the reason for them is both fairly basic and also illustrative of why it works.

The short answer is the difference between accuracy and precision. That's a highschool STEM topic when the true value is trivial to identify if not measure. True values are moles per liter or newtons or amperes and there is no confusion around what is being measured or, in our world of extremely well tested models, how to calculate them. So that's great for the work done in a system, but things like mastery of educational material fundamentally aren't like that. How to define that is very much in contention and good definitions are almost always impossible to directly measure, so you have to substitute something you can measure as a stand in. You make your test as precise as possible, but the correlation between what you test for and what you're actually trying to measure aren't really knowable and in fact may not even be stable over time.

The real world may not have extra time accommodations, but it also doesn't have a particular use for the ability to correctly calculate a useful frequency domain form of an equation or surface integral by yourself within a time limit and with severely limited tools. In fact, in industry a lot of engineers right out of school struggle to contribute in a team environment where which tools to select to solve a problem are far more significant than how quickly those tools are used. People whose minds have a different affinity and process for using tools, on the other hand, frequently contribute immediately because they bring a new perspective that can add to the total information awareness of team decision making.

Often times, you might say, those folks that needed extra time to get through that physics test might just have used that extra time and effort that they understand that precision and accuracy are important and useful concepts, not just an answer to a test.
 

forensicbuzz

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In short? Pretty well. I'm not the right person to pull out statistics, but the reason for them is both fairly basic and also illustrative of why it works.

The short answer is the difference between accuracy and precision. That's a highschool STEM topic when the true value is trivial to identify if not measure. True values are moles per liter or newtons or amperes and there is no confusion around what is being measured or, in our world of extremely well tested models, how to calculate them. So that's great for the work done in a system, but things like mastery of educational material fundamentally aren't like that. How to define that is very much in contention and good definitions are almost always impossible to directly measure, so you have to substitute something you can measure as a stand in. You make your test as precise as possible, but the correlation between what you test for and what you're actually trying to measure aren't really knowable and in fact may not even be stable over time.

The real world may not have extra time accommodations, but it also doesn't have a particular use for the ability to correctly calculate a useful frequency domain form of an equation or surface integral by yourself within a time limit and with severely limited tools. In fact, in industry a lot of engineers right out of school struggle to contribute in a team environment where which tools to select to solve a problem are far more significant than how quickly those tools are used. People whose minds have a different affinity and process for using tools, on the other hand, frequently contribute immediately because they bring a new perspective that can add to the total information awareness of team decision making.

Often times, you might say, those folks that needed extra time to get through that physics test might just have used that extra time and effort that they understand that precision and accuracy are important and useful concepts, not just an answer to a test.
A very insightful answer to a potentially inciteful topic.
 

4shotB

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In fact, in industry a lot of engineers right out of school struggle to contribute in a team environment where which tools to select to solve a problem are far more significant than how quickly those tools are used.

Thoughtful response. Thanks for sharing your perspective on this. When i think back to my own adjustment from the educational process to engineering world, the biggest adjustment (for me) was that I was getting "assigned" problems for which the answers were not known a priori. in high school and even at GT, the teachers or professors knew the answers and could walk you through the process to arrive at the "right" answer. Dealing with that uncertainty was challenging in my first few years.
 
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