Growing up in Jordan with multiple disabilities, I learned firsthand the realities of disability issues in developing countries. When I moved to the United States, I hoped to see a place where people with disabilities were given better opportunities. Reading about the struggles of Michael Argenyi – a deaf medical student who is suing Creighton University School of Medicine for denying him access to an interpreter for his clinical training – tells me that the barrier walls of deaf people and people with disabilities in general have yet to be torn down.
I recognize that providing deaf individuals with resources to help them understand academic courses better is costly. Interpreters and real time captioning are expensive. Even Mr. Argenyi himself states that he paid more than $100,000 out of his own pocket to have interpreters and transcription services available for his course work. For this reason, a higher education institution that admits a student should not agree to provide certain accommodations – as Creighton did, initially in providing note takers, priority seating, and audio podcasts – and then, at a later time reject the student’s needs when these accommodations turn out to be inadequate resources and tools. (more…)