Disability Service Seeks to Make Life Easier for Students

Charles Maricle

Charles Maricle

March is National Developmental Disabilities Month, and the theme this year is, “Every face in our community belongs.”

“We want to increase sensitivity and awareness, first for the students we have attending SDSU that are students with developmental disabilities and for just how successful they’re being as a result of what we’re doing here at SDSU,” said Nancy Schade, coordinator of disability services on campus.

The Office of Disability Services serves as a contact for students and employees with disabilities to discuss any concerns.

“They gave me a chance,” said Carl Westby, a freshman with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Accommodations that are made for students include extended test time to taped textbooks and lectures. These are intended to enable students with disabilities to meet academic requirements through an alternative path with no reduction in standards.

“The real critical term here is equal access. And we look at what is it based on, the nature of that disability that that student needs to equally participate or to have equal access to academic programs in our university,” Schade said.

“The more exposed people are to people with disabilities, the more they would relate to them and help them more,” said Peggy Willcuts, a pharmacy major with cerebral palsy. Exposure is a goal of National Developmental Disabilities Month. Though no activities are planned on the SDSU campus, the Disabilities Service is looking forward to future plans.

“Are there things we need to work on? Yes. I think in order to make change in an environment it takes some time. But, you have to be able to encourage people to get to a better place,” Schade said.

“If communication doesn’t happen, nothing’s going to happen,” said a junior student with dyslexia who wished to have her name withheld.

Students must make contact with them as early as possible for arrangements to be made. Schade doesn’t want to have this sound like a free ride. Equal access does not stand for preferential treatment.

The Office of Disability Services and SDSU want to help that hard work equal success. Briggs library offers an adaptive equipment lab. The Disabilities Service coordinates with other services such as Residential Life, the Writing Center, the Counseling Center, Health Service and the Academic Assessment and Evaluation to provide an adequate environment for a person with disabilities.

“I don’t think people with disabilities want sympathy. I think what they want is equal opportunity and that equal chance to be successful and to be included and to really experience that sense of belonging,” Schade said.