Disabilities Week provides what the U community needs most: awareness

By By L.J. Lither

By L.J. Lither

It’s Disability Awareness Week. As such, it is important to note that I receive such help from the Center for Disability Services.

There are several reasons why people receive help. The condensed definition of my problem is a “severe learning disability with past traumatic brain injury.”

Many students who need help look a lot like me-average appearance with no obvious disability. The thing to remember is I’m just one of many.

This column is an attempt to make my fellow college students more aware of the difficulties that I, and many others like me, face as a U student.First, I would like to bring attention to the awareness of professors in regard to my disability. Many professors do not understand what kind of help the disability center can provide to students.

How many professors have taken the time to sit down and talk with one of the counselors? And how many will take the time to talk to a counselor at least once during a semester?

Or, how many would go into the center and talk to these counselors at least once during Disability Awareness Week? I am of the opinion that professors could certainly become more aware of these students.

Another problem is the availability of note takers. This has been such a problem for me in the past that I no longer ask for such service.

During a recent trip to the disability center, I saw a girl in a wheelchair who was frantic, and had not yet acquired her notes for a class. In fact, her notes had not yet been dropped off. The notes were nearly one week late and the first test was fast approaching.

The next time somebody asks whether or not anybody is available to take notes, it is also good to remember how important the notes are to others with my disability.

One example of a past problem I encountered was of one professor who recently said, in part, that students with disabilities should go to the center and “get the help you need.” Of course my thought to his comment was, this class is graded only on papers and the center can’t really do much in that regard. It could either offer me a tutor, help via the writing center or provide a computer with a dictation program. All of these tools can help, but I still interpret things differently.

A point I hope the students and professors will take from this article is this: not all disabilities are visual.

There are many tools offered by the disability center, but the biggest assistance to a person such as myself is the willingness of fellow students to help with note taking. This is a vital step toward the acceptance of students who may need a little help.

Professors should have an understanding of the special needs required for these students to understand the materials and curricula necessary for a class.

This has been a small example of one student’s experiences.

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