The Other Side of Disabilities
The Office for Students with Disabilities
Division of Student Affairs
Volume III, Issue 5 September 2002 Editor: James Walborn
STUDENT PANEL ENLIGHTENS CONFERENCE
The Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) staff and students received rave reviews for their presentation, “Helping Secondary Students with Disabilities Receive Services in Colleges and Universities,” at the 3rd annual Southeastern Regional CSPD Conference, held in Jupiter, FL August 1-2, 2002. The audience, consisting of exceptional student education (ESE) teachers and concerned parents, listened to Director Nicole Rokos talk about the role of a university disabilities office, documentation requirements, and the accommodations a student might receive. Assistant Director Sue Mills discussed how the teachers and parents can help assist high school students with disabilities prepare for college. While Coordinator Barbara Bazinsky reviewed the availability of specific resources, Communications Specialist James Walborn compared the advantages of attending a community college with the advantages of attending a 4 year university. However, the highlight was the frank discussions of the OSD student panelists, Ryan Gebauer and Justin Blitzer, who shared their personal experiences with the audience.
The OSD would like to thank the readers who completed the survey from our last issue. We are pleased to note that two-thirds of the readers responding have read all of the issues published during the 2001-2002 academic year, and that three-quarters found the content to be informative or very informative. Many respondents want to know about specific disabilities, student accommodations, and how the faculty and staff can assist in the process. Be assured that your suggestions are very helpful for us, and will assist in generating articles in the future.
Here are some points for the faculty of FAU to keep in mind.
* Course content should not be altered. The faculty need not fundamentally change the nature of their classroom materials. FAU allows a student with a disability a specific accommodation to level the academic playing field, and not to lessen the requirement.
* When to accommodate? No professor is required to accommodate a student due to a disability without a “Letter of Notification” from the OSD. The OSD provides the student 2 copies of this “Letter of Notification” for each professor for each term. The letter verifies that a student has a disability and has been authorized to receive specific accommodations. One copy of the letter is for the professor, while the second copy is to be signed and returned to the OSD.
* Who provides? At the bottom of the “Letter of Notification,” professors are to indicate whether they wish to provide the test accommodations, or whether the test accommodations are to be administered by the OSD.
* Who decides? The OSD counselor is the legal representative of FAU who decides what accommodation is appropriate based upon documentation, and how the disability affects the student in an academic setting.
FAU has an established petition process students need to go through in order to obtain substitution course(s) for a particular subject due to a disability.
LD Course Substitution chairperson Assistant Provost Mikki Minney notes, “Florida Statute 240.153 grants alternative curriculum considerations for students with certified learning disabilities. This is a process in which students seek alternative solutions to meeting degree requirements in areas of language or math.”
The student must have attempted the course with the accommodations officially approved and provided by the OSD. The course cannot be in an area of study deemed to be an essential element of the student’s major (For instance a business major could not request a course substitution in the area of math).
For more information the OSD has a brochure which describes this process, so please send any students to the OSD who are seeking a course substitution due to a disability.
On Saturday, August 17, 2002, Jeff Klein died due to his deteriorating physical disability, which was a congenital brain condition. As a teenager he had a stroke and was in a coma for two years. He rebounded, finished high school, and graduated from BCC with honors. He attended FAU on the Davie campus as a student in the Human Resources Management program.
Former OSD student, Renee Levinson, died Sunday, July 7, 2002, of natural causes. Her family is establishing a scholarship in her name for a student with a psychological disability. Renee graduated from FAU in May, 2001.
We send our deepest sympathy to the friends and families of Jeff and Renee. They will be sadly missed by us all.
The OSD now has three graduate assistants. While Shivakumar (Shiva) Kodali and Lisa Salokar have previously worked for the Boca OSD, Davie OSD GA, Shelley Green, has previously worked on that campus in other capacities. Welcome Shiva, Lisa, and Shelley.
As of fall, 2003, the producers of the SAT and ACT college entrance examinations will stop singling out tests taken by students with disabilities. Currently the practice is to mark the words, “Non-standard Administration” on score reports which are sent to the university admissions offices. Admissions officers might discriminate against these students by assuming that the scores of students receiving extra time on the tests due to their disabilities might not reflect the true abilities. Both testing firms have agreed to cease this process, hence allowing students to be treated equally, based upon the merits of their scores.
As of July 1, 2002, it is now a third degree felony in Florida to intentionally injure or kill a dog guide or other service animal. It is also a misdemeanor to jeopardize a service animal, or injure or kill a service animal through "reckless disregard."
Florida is now the first state to give dogs trained to help people with seizure disorders the same rights to enter public places as other service animals. The owners say "seizure-alert" dogs detect an oncoming seizure up to 45 minutes before it happens and alert the owner to take medication or make other preparations.
DID’JA KNOW . . .
You can find out the traffic conditions of the south Florida roadways by dialing “511.”
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.