Why faking disability accommodations is so damaging to disabled students.
In the first paragraph of the affidavit explaining the college fraud scandal that broke Tuesday, one sentence in particular stood out to me. Of the 33 parents, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, who were accused of engaging in elaborate bribery schemes to get their kids into elite schools, several of the parents allegedly “extended time for their children on college entrance exams … including by having the children purport to have learning disabilities in order to obtain the [necessary] medical documentation.”
As someone who is disabled, my blood boiled. I thought about all of the shame and embarrassment I had felt for needing, and sometimes using, accommodations for the ESPA, GEPA, ACT, LSAT, and bar exam. While I am no longer ashamed about needing accommodations, I do feel deep contempt for the people abusing these accommodations so they can succeed in a system that is built for them.
Right around my 11th birthday, I had my first “grand mal” seizure. These are the types of seizures that people imagine from the movies where you are on the floor, having full body spasms. These experiences were not scary for me, as I was unconscious, but they were disruptive of my life and my academic experience.
In addition to getting my first stick of deodorant that year, I also got a diagnosis of epilepsy. I spent the next couple of years trying almost every medicine on the chart of anti-epileptic drugs in my neurologist’s office. Between the doctor’s appointments and the seizures, I missed a fair amount of school.
I also developed a tremor, likely a