Recently, I spent a week working at a University in an office for Disability Services. It was quite enlightening because I never knew much about such departments or that these services existed. One reason is that I am blessed not to have need for these and the other is that it has been many years since I went to college so things may have evolved over time. It was great to see that there is now enough awareness of different needs of people/students that must be addressed in educational settings.
My ignorance on this subject had me thinking that this office probably just deals with students that are physically handicapped, visually or hearing impaired, etc. To my surprise, they dealt with far more than that. Of course there were people in wheelchairs coming by but there were also many students requesting help that seemed completely ‘normal’. The Disability Services also provides help to people with learning disabilities, ADHD, depression and anxiety disorders. I did not think about the fact that people with these issues may have trouble succeeding in school without some help. This department works with Professors and Administrators to provide some of these students with ‘accommodations’ to assist them. These accommodations could be in the form of extra time on an exam for someone with an attention disorder, or giving an oral exam to someone with dyslexia or a visual handicap. They help make sure that there are housing accommodations to help those with a physical disability so that they can get around easily.
I was really impressed that these services exist to help people with different issues prove their intelligence. I guess if someone has an anxiety attack whenever there is an exam then they would probably fail even if they have a genius IQ. With some help and accommodations, this student could do well, further their education, get a good job and give back to society. It does seem to make sense but I guess in the past people thought that unless you are blind or deaf, the rest of these issues don’t deserve assistance. People were of the attitude that you should ‘just deal or get over it’. It seemed unfair that they would get any extra attention. Now finally there is more knowledge and awareness that some of these learning disabilities or emotional problems are real health problems that need care and attention too. So I was enlightened this week and pleased to see the progress in our society and educational institutions!