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New name, new location … same student-centered service

Disability & Access Resources (formerly Disability Services) has relocated to the Bush Campus Center, Suite 202.

Students with documented disabilities can rely on the office to explore and facilitate reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services. Those anticipating the need for accommodations, both before and after enrollment, are encouraged to email or call 570-320-5225.

The office relocation also includes a testing center, in which eligible students can request to take exams with accommodations.

Director Dawn M. Dickey (left) and assistant director Katie L. Mackey are a welcoming and knowledgeable presence at Disability & Access Resources' new location.
Director Dawn M. Dickey (left) and assistant director Katie L. Mackey are a welcoming and knowledgeable presence at Disability & Access Resources’ new location.

In conjunction with the relocation, staff prepared a convenient and comprehensive Q&A for the campus community.

What does Disability & Access Resources do?
The office serves as an educational resource for faculty, staff and community partners while ensuring access to campus programs, events and activities for students and guests.

  • Reasonable accommodations: Disability & Access Resources explores and facilitates reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services for students with disabilities. It also partners closely with Residence Life, Dining services, counseling and health services to ensure that students have access to the campus community environment.
  • Ongoing support: The office understands that transitioning to college can be an enormous change for students with disabilities. Through ongoing meetings, an assigned staff member will work closely with students on executive functioning skills, communication/interpersonal skills, self-advocacy and self-awareness.
  • Faculty/staff consultation: Employees play a critical role in creating an accessible campus. Faculty/staff consultations provide the opportunity for collaboration to promote inclusion and implement effective accommodations.
  • Community partnerships: The office collaborates with many community organizations that offer services and support to individuals with disabilities. Transition initiatives such as the Autism Spectrum Postsecondary Interest Experience and the Transition Conference are a few opportunities made possible through that collaboration.
  • Professional development: The office provides education and training to the campus community to increase awareness and best practices for working with students with disabilities.

What does ‘disability’ mean?
The Americans With Disabilities Act defines a person with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. The name change is targeted to broaden the scope of services and support provided by the office. The number of registered students during the 2020-21 academic year was 433. It is hoped that the name change will increase awareness of services and support and encourage students to connect with office staff, particularly when they do not see themselves as having a “disability” in experiencing the following:

  • Mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression and PTSD.
  • Chronic health conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, diabetes and HIV.
  • Temporary disabilities/health conditions, such as a broken arm/leg or concussion.

What does ‘access’ mean?
Access is essential in both physical and electronic environments. It levels the playing field by allowing students to learn and be evaluated fairly, and promotes a learning environment where students with disabilities can achieve their full potential.

What are the benefits for the relocation of the office?
The relocation offers students a cutting-edge facility within a hub of student-centered services.

  • Student lounge: Student-centered space that allows registered students as well as student leaders – Allies Lead to Access (ALA) – to find a welcoming environment to study, collaborate and focus. The space is also equipped with supplies and equipment that promote a comfortable atmosphere for students who may experience sensory challenges.
  • Student testing center/assistive technology lab: Additional private testing rooms to provide a reduced-distraction testing environment and availability of workstations that include a variety of assistive technology.
  • Staff office space to ensure confidentiality during meetings.

– Photos by Larry D. Kauffman, digital publishing specialist/photographer

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