The Other Side of Disabilities
The Office for Students with Disabilities
Division of Student Affairs
Volume III, Issue 4 June 2002 Editor: James Walborn
IN YOUR SYLLABI
All FAU Faculty are strongly encouraged to include a statement regarding students with disabilities on their syllabi. For example: “In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Students with disabilities who require special accommodations to properly execute coursework must register with the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) located in Boca, Library Rm 175 (561) 297-3880, or in Davie, MOD I (954) 236-1222, and follow all OSD procedures.”
On April 10th the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) acknowledged the invaluable service provided by volunteers by honoring them with a dinner and presentation ceremony. Approximately 100 volunteers, potential volunteers, faculty, and staff enjoyed the Volunteer Banquet, which was coordinated by OSD Assistant Director Sue Mills and assisted by OSD Counselor Barbara Bazinsky and a committee of volunteers and students with disabilities.
The Mardi Gras theme was flavored by the New Orleans style menu, music, and decorations. Highlights included speeches by Senior Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Emanuel Newsome, volunteer Dr. Jacob Goodman and the moving words of two students who expressed their gratitude to the volunteers. Certificates were presented to all of the volunteers by Sue Mills and Dr. Newsome.
For the academic year 2001-2002 165 volunteers assisted students with disabilities as notetakers, readers, scribes and tutors. Please read the following testimonial.
SHARING WITH SAMANTHA
Samantha is a junior majoring in Social Psychology, and has a math learning disability. She was one of the SGA nominees for student worker of the year.
Volunteers are very meaningful for Samantha. “Volunteers assisted me in getting a college education by notetaking and tutoring.” Without assistance, “what might take someone else only 10 or 15 minutes might take me a couple of hours to complete,” she states.
“When I am in class and needing help, people would stop by and ask if I needed assistance. Often it’s people you don’t know, doing it out of the kindness of their heart. They see that you’re in trouble and they’re willing to help. I value that a lot,” Samantha admits.
“I help out a lot of people in my job in the Financial Aid office,” Samantha notes. “I’ll hear a parent or a student with a problem that I know that I can help with so I’ll help out even if I’m not supposed to be working.”
In her future Samantha sees graduate school and perhaps a PhD.
“By the grace of God I will be writing a book of poetry, too,” she asserts.
“I like to draw, write, and read,” and when asked, she lists a half a dozen classical writers as her favorites.
“Many people never believed that I have a learning disability because I don’t ‘act’ like I have a disability. How am I suppose to ‘act’?” Samantha questions. “When they can’t see your disability, you don’t fit their labels. That offends me.”
Anything unusual in the refrigerator? “There’s a lot of island food that I cook myself. If you don’t know what it is, you’re not going to want to eat it.” Examples include: Breadfruit, chocho, ackee and salt fish.
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Louis Ferreira is the new network administrator for the OSD. He’s a sophomore in the Management Information Systems program and has a learning disability. In grade school, “they couldn’t understand why I wasn’t doing well in school and why I wasn’t progressing as well as everyone else,” Louis confides.
“They did realize when I was very young that I was good with computers. I would put them together in elementary school and help them set things up, and I would explain to the librarians how to operate the system,” Louis beams.
“When I started breaking my parents’ computer a little too often they sent me to go work with the guy who built our computers. He taught me everything that he knew, and I just ran with it,” states Louis. “My friend and I administered the entire network of the middle school, which was a very high tech school. By high school I was already working 40 hours a week.”
“As the OSD Network Administrator I’m helping to implement the new technology and standardize all of the systems to make it easier for students to figure out what they need to do without encountering problems,” Louis notes.
Hobbies? “To ask a computer person about hobbies, it’s computers, computers, and more computers. I like movies, and pretty much have a theater in my house. Also I’m into music, and I love talking politics.”
Dislikes? People that are happy with mediocrity. People should have goals other than just monetary. My goal is making technology a bigger part of people’s lives. My ideal is a paperless office. Home automation is getting bigger and bigger, as is life automation, which is the integration between work and home.”
Anything unusual in the fridge? “I eat very American, and have a lot of what I like--bread, cheese, pizza. Not a huge variety--a lot of carbohydrates.”
LAWSUIT OVER MONEY
The American Council for the Blind (ACB) has brought suit against the U. S. Treasury to require changes in the design of paper money. While most Americans have the ability to recognize the difference in denominations, this is not possible for the millions of visually impaired Americans.
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, which includes the issuance of banknotes.
The suit would require that the Treasury implement changes in the design of paper currency to make it accessible to people who are visually impaired. This is already the policy in over 120 countries.
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.