Disabled Students Programs and Services provides accommodations and support to students with disabilities, and is also looking for students who would like to offer a helping hand to those in need.
Counselor Haydee Lindgren explained that one of DSP&S’s main goals is to advocate for students with disabilities and ensure their needs are made as important as any other student on campus.
“We want to create a community where disability is not a stigma, so students don’t feel ashamed about asking for the help they need.” Lindgren said.
She works daily with students to determine which accommodations will best aid them in their academic pursuits according to their documented disabilities.
DSPS provides many alternate forms of media to accommodate students, such as audiobook forms of textbooks, braille, lecture recordings, and closed captioning. This also includes access to Kurtzweil 3000, software built to assist students in the program who would benefit from having text enlarged on exams and textbooks or have it read to them.
“We have these accommodations here so students don’t have to struggle in class to get the same education everyone else gets. It gives them an equal chance at success that any non-disabled student has,” said Franklin Chavez, DSPS College Program Assistant, who also provides training in any form of alternate media provided.
Which accommodations a student receives is determined on a case-by-case basis after meeting with a counselor, who will go over that student’s documented disabilities with them and determine which accommodations are appropriate.
“Even with the same diagnosis, two students with ADHD might have totally different needs,” said Lindgren. “We make sure they have what will work best for them.”
Accommodations are also provided during tests, as well as extra time if it is under the student’s set of accommodations. To receive this help, a student should notify DSPS as soon as they are aware that a test is being given so that DSPS staff can contact the professor ahead of time and request a copy of the test to proctor. This copy will then be adapted to the students’ needs, and given on the same day as the test normally would, but in the DSPS testing room.
To become part of DSPS, students should take documentation of their disability from a licensed professional to the DSPS office in the Student Services Building, Room 321. At that point, they will arrange a meeting time with a counselor to get the paperwork to request specific services and accommodations.
For students who would like to help their disabled peers, there are multiple positions available, such as volunteer note taker or scribe. If you happen to have the same class as a DSPS student who needs assistance, you can become a volunteer note taker and share your in-class notes with a student who may have difficulty getting complete notes on their own.
“It’s easy, ’cause you’re taking the class anyways. You just give them the notes you’re already taking. A scribe is a little bit different, since you’re going that class to write anything they need,” said Jessica Havelhorst, who has filled both roles.
The position is a paid job, in which the scribe attends class with the DSPS student to write for them. Students interested in these jobs can speak with Eden Olsen, who coordinates the service and implores students to fill these roles.
There is also a student coach positions, which involves helping students in class, keeping them focused, and assisting them with social cues, especially useful for people with disabilities like ADHD or autism.
DSPS staff agrees that students who take advantage of the services that DSPS provides are more motivated and become empowered to reach their educational goals.