[teknoids] If gadget is required, accommodations must be made ...

Allan Chen abchen at scu.edu
Thu Jul 1 14:54:50 EDT 2010

First, just because something is a pilot program does not in any way exempt
it from accommodating students with disabilities.  That is a
shockingly...shocking notion.

The key is that normally a "reasonable" accommodation must be made.  The
question is whether electronic-text provided by OCR of a print book is a
sufficiently reasonable accommodation for students with disabilities not
being able to use the specific electronic device that others can.  The
tangible net gain is that a Kindle is smaller than a laptop running
TextAloud or JAWS (note that not all students covered by the NFB are in fact
completely blind.  They are merely visually impaired to the point of
requiring a reasonable accommodation).  But if there is a reasonable
substitute - such as many DAISY book readers - then that would seem, to me,
a viable legal counter-argument.

And to make one statement below more accurate, "students with disability
'using' said devices would be at a disadvantage" only in the sense that they
cannot use that said device.  Not in terms of ability to learn material,
necessarily.  If the program is based on use of the device for success in
the class, that is different.

FWIW - I think the NFB is right in making its claim.  I think the government
is over-reacting to that claim.


On Thu, Jul 1, 2010 at 9:14 AM, Nathan DeGruchy <ndegruchy at fcsl.edu> wrote:

> Not to start a flamewar, but I don't see how a pilot like this was somehow
> maliciously excluding the disabled. As has been stated before, the methods
> used by current blind and low vision students isn't changing, but these
> techniques (like digital copies/OCR scans) are often more convent than
> having to haul and use standard textbooks.
> Sure, students with disabilities *using* said devices would be at a
> disadvantage, but why would they use them over the current techniques
> anyway?  There would be no tangible net gain for them.  If anything, these
> pilots would be bringing non disabled students to a state where blind and
> low vision students are today. Having search, bookmark and ease of
> portability, same as with a digital copy of a book on a PC or Mac.
> I have to object.  It really does seem like the Fed killing a perfectly
> viable pilot because of external lobbies and/or overreacting to the rally
> cry of "It's not accessible/ADA compliant!".
> On Jul 1, 2010, at 11:58 AM, "John Quentin Heywood" <heywood at american.edu>
> wrote:
> > On Thursday 01 July 2010, Tracey wrote:
> >
> >> Maybe I'm not cynical enough, but I think this is just the Feds
> >> reminding institutions of higher learning that e-readers are covered by
> >> the ADA
> >>
> >
> > I see it as the Feds smacking Amazon for making an ereader that only has
> > speech capability if it is in the ebook itself, and more damningly, has
> no
> > speech in its menus and navigation, making it absolutely useless for
> folks
> > with sight issues. The iPad, however, is fully functional, just lacking
> > academic content.
> > --
> > John Quentin Heywood
> > heywood at american.edu
> >
> > <signature.asc>
> > <ATT00001..txt>
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Assistant Dean for Law Technology
Santa Clara Law School
v:  408-210-6274
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