Disabled Student Confidentiality: Is This Professor Going Too Far?

@Pigglies (9336)
United States
May 2, 2007 11:12pm CST
It seems like some professors always let their curiosity get the better of them and want to ask what disability you have. But this professor really seems to take it too far... One of my courses just switched professors on us, and the new professor said right in her syllabus: "I want all disabled students to notify me at the beginning of this class of any disability they have: blind, deaf, dyslexia, etc.". Ummm... doesn't that pretty specifically breach confidentiality? I don't usually care if people know or not, and if anything, I wish people would have been more open when I was a kid so I could have known. But still! To flat out just say that we must go tell her? Yeah right. Needless to say, I didn't say a thing to the lady. In any case, I don't plan to use any accommodations in her class so she has no reason to know. What do you think? Do professors have a right to know or not? Is that going too far for her to demand disclosure?
2 people like this
7 responses
• United States
4 May 07
I think those things should be left up to the individual student as to whether they want their professors to know or not. If you don't see yourself needing anything from her for them then why should you have to tell her? I agree with your decision. Requesting the information is different but demanding it is kind of rude!
2 people like this
• United States
3 May 07
I don't know the professor so I am purely speculating here. But is it possible she wanted to know so that she can make the needed accomodations? Finding braille versions of handouts for the blind, closed captioning/interpreter for the deaf, extra time on exams for the dyslexic, etc? I'm thinking (hoping) it was meant in a good way and not just random forced disclosure. Anyway, she can't make anyone disclose their disabolity but, if they don't, they can't reasonable expect her to accomodate them either.
1 person likes this
• United States
3 May 07
disability*
1 person likes this
@Pigglies (9336)
• United States
3 May 07
While professors can make the accommodations if they want to, it's still done through the disabled student services department. They can't just give someone extra time because they say they're dyslexic either, the student must be registered with the disabled student services center either way. According to school rules, disabled students will be accommodated whether they tell her or not. If I'm going to use accommodations, I have to hand in a note to professors a couple weeks before I'll need accommodations. But that just lets them know I'll get them, not that they have a choice. On the letter it doesn't even say what I have, just that it's a visual impairment disability. That's all the professor needs to know.
1 person likes this
• United States
3 May 07
Oh, I didn't know all that. That is awfully strange then.
1 person likes this
@halynn (1809)
• United States
5 Dec 08
When I was in college I took notes for handicapped/disabled students so they could pay more attention & class & be able to study the notes @ their own time. I got paid for doing that too. Most of the professors did ask that any student who needed this help let them know because there was usually @ least 1 person in each class that was qualified to do the note taking. So the professor might've just been asking so that if there was a need then she could let 1 of the students know. it is ur right though to not discuss it if you wish.
@Pigglies (9336)
• United States
5 Dec 08
I've done that once or twice, paid someone to take notes for me. I just looked around and picked someone who appeared to be taking a lot of good looking notes the first day and then I asked them after class. But you're right that in this case it would have been easier to just ask the professor and then I could pick from people who wanted to do it instead of being turned down potentially. Usually I can take notes because I type nearly as fast as people talk. But if the notes are not spoken and are instead written (especially on a white board where I have no hope of seeing the notes), I will pay someone to take some notes for me. Or trade favors with something else if they won't take money (some people still can't type and will gladly give me written notes and then later I will type something for them as long as they can dictate it to me).
@halynn (1809)
• United States
5 Dec 08
You should check with your university because when i did that i was paid by the college & it didn't come directly out of the students pocket. So if you check with them the college will probably pay someone to take notes for you. If you would rather pick someone yourself they will pay that person too. You should check into it that way it won't come out of pocket for you. God bless.
@biwasaki (1745)
• United States
5 May 07
I think for her to demand disclosure is rude. If she is not going to make any special accomodations, then why does she need to know? I think she should leave it up to the individual to address her with any concerns they have, rather than for her to demand that they tell her. The only reason I could think of that she would need to know, is if she is worried that a disabled student might disrupt her class. But really, she should cross that bridge if and when she comes to it.
@Pigglies (9336)
• United States
5 May 07
Disruptions or not though, they're entitled to be in the class just as much as anyone else. Generally, I've never had a disabled student in a class with me that was a distraction. Even if they had to have an interpreter it wasn't that distracting really. But then again, I'm not super easily distracted.
1 person likes this
@biwasaki (1745)
• United States
5 May 07
Yeah, I was just trying to be the "Devil's advocate" in this case. But I agree with you, I don't think anyone could possibly be that much of a distraction that it would interrupt the entire class.
@PsychoDude (2018)
• Netherlands
5 May 07
The professor might also simply have a certain background on working with people with disabilities. On high school I had a teacher which used to work with physically and mentally handicapped students for years in special need schools and we were his first year of "normal" students. When going for an introduction round though he simply said "If everybody could tell their name, something about themselves and what disability they have we can all get to know each other a little better." as if like any teacher they got their talks imprinted into their minds.
1 person likes this
@Pigglies (9336)
• United States
7 May 07
That's a very interesting viewpoint that I would not have thought of. At first, I was inclined to say that there was no way that's the case with this lady. But she does head the pet therapy program. So maybe.
1 person likes this
@Debs_place (10524)
• United States
5 Dec 08
I think that this instructor sounds like she wants to try and accommodate every one. Sometimes it is just a matter of speaking more clearly or facing the students when they talk. I have over a 50 % hearing loss, but when people face me when they talk and actually make sure they have my attention, I have no problems, if people do not face me and mumble..well they are just talking to themselves. If you don't want to tell your instructor, it is up to you but you maybe missing out on some extra help that could make your life easier.
@Pigglies (9336)
• United States
5 Dec 08
This class was quite awhile back so I've already finished it. Generally I don't tell my instructors what I have, unless they mention that their kid has a reading disability or something, because then I would like them to know so that if their kid has what I have, it can be discovered. Especially since it's often mistaken for other problems.
@Pigglies (9336)
• United States
5 Dec 08
Since you asked, I have Irlen Syndrome which is a visual processing disorder which affects reading and being able to play sports and such. You can learn more about it on www.irlen.com
@Pigglies (9336)
• United States
5 Dec 08
Thanks. It can be embarrassing sometimes to have to have restaurant menus read to you by the waiter or not be able to read a paper someone hands you. But mostly, I have learned to deal with it now. I love technology and I'm hopeful for the future as technology continues to improve. I am one of those people who just has to do things on my own if I possibly can. I actually did qualify for housing at one point due to an abusive situation I was in, but I didn't take it. My family swears that I am a work-a-holic. I will work 60+ hours a week if I have to. Once I worked 60+ hours a week and went to school full time as well, that was totally insane. I actually plan on adopting since I wouldn't wish my reading disability or hereditary lazy (blind) eye on any child. Not to say that I would love the adopted child less or anything if they did have a disability. I just don't want to purposely saddle someone with a disability.
@gifana (4834)
• Portugal
10 May 07
I am not up on the "rules and regulations" in schools today but it would seem to me that any disability that a student had would be on record in the prinicipal or headmasters office. However, I am not sure that the information should be divulged by the directors except on a need to know basis. Seems like a weirdo professor who would ask the students to discuss their personal disabilities in front of their fellow students if they were not already known.
@Pigglies (9336)
• United States
19 May 07
Exactly. We have a disabled student office that keeps track of things and gives info to professors if they need to know for something (for example, if I need to take a test somewhere else for accomodations, then the professor will be informed).