The Other Side of Disabilities
The Office for Students with Disabilities
Division of Student Affairs
Volume IX, Issue 4, Fall 2008, Editor: James Walborn
U.S. CURRENCY TO BE MADE ACCESSIBLE
On September 4, 2008 the U.S. Treasury
Department lost its final appeal against the American Council of
the Blind, in which Judge James Robinson declared that the
Government must make U.S. currency accessible to people who are
blind and visually impaired as quickly as possible. He made it
clear that there should be no unnecessary delays and stated that
the court intends to impose a schedule on the Government for
making future generations of currency accessible and to ensure
that it is complied with.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states that individuals with disabilities may not be excluded from, or denied the benefits of participation in, any program or activity conducted by the U.S. government. The issuance of banknotes is clearly an activity conducted by the U.S. government on behalf of all of its citizens. The three Judge Appellate Review Board agreed with Judge Robinson’s original 2006 decision that the Treasury Department posed no adequate defense why money could not be made accessible.
MAKING CURRENCY ACCESSIBLE
Currently over 180 countries vary their paper currency which makes it identifiable by individuals with visual impairments. Some options include varying the size and length of bills of the different denominations, varying the color or texture of specific denominations, and including tactile markings for purposes of identification. An internal review by the Treasury Department during the 1990's revealed there would be minimal additional cost in making money accessible when combined with the redesign process which occurs every few years.
DID YA KNOW...
Engineers at Georgia Tech are developing a device that allows people with spinal cord injuries to control a wheelchair, computer, or other electronic device with their tongues. The tongue is connected directly to the brain by a nerve that usually does not get injured in spinal cord injuries. The device uses a magnet that is attached to the tongue. The movements of the magnet are detected by a headset, which transmits the command to the wheelchair or other device. Since the tongue is capable of a variety of movements, many different commands are possible. In the next phase the device will be tested by individuals with disabilities.
Stuart Buckley has been promoted to the position
of Coordinator of Assistive Technology. Just a few of his
responsibilities include maintaining all the various hardware and
software in the OSD office and Assistive Technology (AT) Lab,
instructing the students about utilizing the lab equipment, and
acting as an advocate for assistive technology on behalf of the
students before the FAU community. This FAU alumnus is a graduate
student who has been employed as the OSD AT Specialist for the last
few years. An in-depth interview with Stuart can be found in the
November 2007 Newsletter online at
The Assistive technology equipment and computer software are available for OSD students in a wheelchair accessible environment at the following campus locations:
On the Boca Campus in the OSD in SU 133 and in the Library.
On the Davie Campus in the OSD in MD I 104 and in the LA 303 Computer Lab.
On the Jupiter Campus at the Disability Student Services in SR 117 and in the Library.
On the Treasure Coast Campus in the Library.
Phyllis Zitcer is the new OSD Test Facilitator.
Her varied work experience includes a career in nursing, an
executive secretarial position at Motorola, and extensive
experience working within FAU, as well as having been the mother of
an active family. Phyllis is very proud of originally helping to
start up the Graduate Admissions Program at FAU. She tried
retirement but admits, “I hated it.”
Because of their disabilities, many students need testing accommodations such as providing an exam in a specialized format for someone who is visually impaired, or providing extended time for an exam for someone who has LD. “I like working with the students. I feel like, in my own way, that I am helping them,” Phyllis explains. She enjoys that, “...the office is bright and cheerful, with nice people.”
Phyllis has a passion for growing orchids. She also enjoys window shopping and dancing, and, “...I’ve been on several cruises which I’ve found to be very relaxing.” She and some friends have started a social group for senior singles called The Weekenders. The group has grown to about 35 members who meet in restaurants which have a separate room off the regular dining area. “I started looking into some of the singles groups that are out there and I was very dissatisfied with what I discovered, so I decided that if it’s not out there I’ll do it.”
Anything unusual in the refrigerator: “Snacks and sweets. In my freezer are a lot of prepared dinners.” Welcome aboard, Phyllis.
Some students with disabilities require special
arrangements for exams. Students cannot receive testing
accommodations from the OSD without a “Letter of
Notification” signed by the professor, indicating that the
OSD is to administer the exam. The professor can agree to provide
the testing accommodations him/herself, but cannot alter the
accommodations without the full agreement of the student.
If the OSD is to administer the exam then the student is required to complete sections A and B of the OSD “Testing Accommodations Form” at least one week prior to the test date. A copy of this form is then delivered to the professor to verify the information and complete sections C and D. The professor should check off and sign the appropriate statement if the student has permission to take the exam at a time other than the rest of the class. Testing accommodations are for the purpose of accommodating a student’s disability, and not for the convenience of the student’s work or personal schedule.
By authorizing testing accommodations, the OSD is not providing any special advantage to a student with a disability, but just trying to level the playing field for that student. Phyllis welcomes any professor to come tour the OSD testing facilities.
NEW DEAN OF STUDENTS
Dr. Corey King is the new Associate Vice
President, Dean of Students at FAU. Although he was born and raised
in Florida, after working in several other universities he made the
decision to return because... “FAU is evolving. I like to be
at a place that is developing, trying new things.” He assures
people that, “I didn’t come for a cushy job; I love to
be on the go.” He asserts that, “My goal every day is
to walk away knowing that I’ve done the best job that I can
He wants everyone to know, “I am always open, honest, and direct. My door is always open.” He philosophizes, “I’m a happy person who enjoys life.” He does not succumb to the negativity of others. “I do not empower people to determine my feelings or my self worth. If you’re not having a great day, that’s you. I’m having a great day, so how can I make your day better?”
Likes: Dr. King really enjoys New York style cheesecake made with either cherries or chocolate. He absolutely adores his family. “The best decision I’ve made in my life is to marry my beautiful wife. She takes care of me.” His seven year old daughter “gives me those eyes and I just melt.”
Anything unusual in the refrigerator: Various styles of vanilla ice cream in the freezer. “I have to have my scoop of ice cream every night before I go to bed.”
We want to encourage comments and contributions from our readers. Please address any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to share this newsletter with friends and colleagues. Current and past issues are available at http://www.fau.edu/osd.
This newsletter is available in alternate format upon request from the Office for Students with Disabilities. Boca: SU 133; phone 561.297.3880, TTY 561.297.0358. Davie: MD I, Room 104; phone 954.236.1222, TTY 954.236.1146. Jupiter: SR 117; phone 561.799.8585, TTY 561.799.8565. Treasure Coast: JU 312; phone 772.873.3441.