Archive for Saturday, August 14, 2010

Office of Disability Resources strives to assist special needs

August 14, 2010


A world that’s easily navigable for most can pose difficult challenges for those with disabilities — a situation Kansas University recognizes and works to mitigate every day.

KU serves about 600 students with disabilities, the vast majority of which are medical or psychological, said Mary Ann Rasnak, director of the Academic Achievement and Access Center, which includes the Office of Disability Resources. While some blind and deaf students attend KU, they typically number in the single digits, she said.

Such documentation can be sent to Disability Resources at any time and is not required until after the student is admitted. If submitted earlier, however, the documents can help make for an easier transition to KU.

Students are not required to use accommodations, but they are provided to them if they wish.

The campus is reasonably wheelchair-accessible, but the campus doesn’t typically enroll many students in wheelchairs, probably due to its hilly terrain, Rasnak said.

Most people on campus are cooperative and helpful when presented with a student who needs accommodations, Rasnak said.

Joan Sereno, professor of linguistics, said that she’s noticed more and more students needing accommodations popping up, particularly in larger introductory courses.

“It usually goes through the student,” who provides paperwork to the instructor and then accommodations are made as necessary, Sereno said.

Some accommodations need to be handled by her or her teaching assistants — like creating different fonts for a test or providing extra space for an exam.

“It allows the student to participate in all aspects of the classroom,” Sereno said. “I find it very easy to allow these accommodations.”

Still, some students don’t know about the office, and how it can help them, Rasnak said. Others on campus may not notice problems — like a blocked wheelchair ramp — or may not know where to report those problems to get them resolved, she said.

“It’s awareness and attitude that are our biggest problems,” Rasnak said. “We can’t be everywhere. We can’t know everything.”


equalaccessprivacy 7 years, 9 months ago

KU and Lawrence people often make unfair and flat- out cruel and discriminatory assumptions about those they perceive to have physical limitations. Such assumptions and the aggressive and presumptuous way they are imposed on the public are what give KU a reputation for substandard respect for civil rights. An actual impairment doesn't disable or hold anyone back nearly so much as these patronizing locals who seemingly kiss to kill.

If you are the type of person, which the majority of Kansans seem to be, who is officious and self-flattering enough to go about the world asking the mindless question, "Need help?" to complete strangers, often on the basis of profiling-like snap judgments and discriminatory assessments about appearances, please learn to mind your own business. It is obvious you need a lot help with your brain. You may think you are making the world a welcoming, accomodating place for "others," but in fact you doing exactly the opposite.

Most people just want to be treated like everyone else and approaching strangers with the offensive insinuation they are so needy and bereft of friends they should be grateful for the attentions of any random yokel or hick off the streets just doesn't fly. It's a hideous violation of boundaries and privacy and a travesty of equal treatment under the law.

Boo KU and Kansas!

equalaccessprivacy 7 years, 9 months ago

The idea of "accommodations" barely scratches the surface of equal opportunity, and the need for accommodations can only be assessed by experts, certainly not by any offensive Joe or Jane off the street who wants to assert their privileged white, able-bodied status by aggressively asserting their belief others cannot manage independently. Oh, pity, life must be so tough on you on this big, hilly campus! Well, impossibility thinking likely makes it all ten times worse?

You people are positively kinky about how handsy and grabby you get molesting complete strangers too. If you did not require a lot of help with your brains and awareness you obviously wouldn't terrorize people on the streets. You are not making anyone's day, trust me! Quite the opposite.

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