Accessibility Resources allows all students chance to succeed

Michael McShane
Staff Writer

For many students, college can be a tough hill to climb in pursuit of one’s educational goals. Some students have to struggle with multiple jobs, others have children they have to raise, sometimes on their own. 

There is one group of students in particular who have their own set of struggles that they deal with on a daily basis when going to college as well. Students with disabilities, whether that be intellectual, mental or physical go to college every semester.

To their peers, they are as normal as every other college student, with friends and social lives. But inside the classroom, they deal with issues that can be roadblocks to their success in college.

There are many students in every college in the nation that suffer from a wide range of disabilities. Students on the Autism spectrum, who are blind or deaf and students with mental health diagnosis such as depression, Bipolar disorder and Schizophrenia.

All of these are serious problems that many students have to live with and can impair them during their time in school.

In comes Accessibility Resources, an office that works with students with a wide range of disabilities to help them throughout the semester.

Rooted in laws passed to protect the civil rights of disabled citizens such as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, offices similar to Accessibility Resources spread to colleges and universities nationwide. 

Speaking to the Reporter, Beth Claussen, the assistant director for Accessibility Resources, desires for every student be given equal chance to achieve their academic dreams. 

“Our role for students on campus here is to consider the challenges, the barriers to their learning, and try to connect the dots to the appropriate accommodations,” Claussen said.

Around for decades now, Accessibility Resources helps hundreds of students each semester in assisting with their specific disability that impedes them from their academic responsibilities. 

This help can take the form of extra time on tests, the ability to record lectures, early registration for classes, and many other accommodations. Students are not charged to receive these accommodations.

With a wide range of disabilities, every student case is handled differently and individually assessed to make sure the specific student is given the adequate assistance pertaining to their disability.

Accessibility Resources makes sure students in high school getting ready for the transition from high school to college know about the office and the assistance they can receive upon acceptance.

“We go out and speak in high schools as well,” Claussen said. “Just prospective student visits, we do resource fairs and meet students and their families just to kind of talk about the differences, what our role is and just try to orient them to help them along in that transition.”

The National Center for Learning Disabilities published a report back in 2014 that stated that 67 percent of young adults with learning disabilities reported enrolling in postsecondary education within 8 years of leaving high school. 

The report showed that 1 out of 4 students who received special education in high school considered themselves with a disability and requested need of accommodations from the university.

“I think a part of it is that sometimes students come from maybe high school where they were on a 504 or IEP plan, they get to college and it’s not a have-to for them or they feel like they don’t want that stigma attached to them they really want to try without having the accommodation plan,” Claussen said.

The Accessibility Resource Office wishes for any student who is struggling through the semester to not be afraid to receive assistance to better help their academic lives. 

Accessibility Resources is located on the basement floor of the Memorial Library. 

Header photo courtesy of mnsu.edu.

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