Being physically or mentally disabled could be an awkward situation, especiallywhen surrounded by people who don’t fully understand the situation.Because of this difficulty, several campus and state organizations offerservices to assist disabled students.
The Equal Opportunity Program is one of many campus outlets that provideservices for the physically and learning disabled.
“These programs provide equal access to all the FAMU community,” Adams said.Additionally, Adams said landscaping, such as the hills on campus, could causesome challenges for the physically disabled.
To remedy this, Adams said graduated ramps, or zigzag pattern of sidewalks,assist disabled people with navigating hills by breaking up the hill’s incline.The EOP is also responsible for the campus’s compliance with the American withDisability Act of 1990. FAMU had its last ADA survey in 1993 and there wereconcerns about the doors and bathrooms around campus.
“The bathroom doors were not wide enough for wheelchair access. Doorknobs werealso addressed,” Adams said.
The EOP also installed learning equipment for blind and visually impairedstudents. Coleman Library has a special computer that prints pages in Brailleand includes software that reads to the user. The computer is located in thelibrary’s micro text area.
Students who might struggle with learning disabilities could also go to theLearning Development and Evaluation Center for assistance.
The LDEC is a support center for students with Dyslexia, Dyscalculia andAttention Deficit Disorder. The LDEC provides tutoring and advisement tostudents before they register for classes. Staff members provide professors withletters of accommodations, which request course-related, proctored tests forstudents in the center. The Office of Special Programs advocates special accommodations within classes,and around campus, for students with physical disabilities. Seneca Lindsey, the office’s senior secretary, said student services arespecialized according to “what the student’s needs are.” The OSP primarily works with students that are deaf, partially deaf or visuallyimpaired. The office also assists students by providing letters ofaccommodations. Lindsey said she also refers students to Adams for vantransportation.
“We are here to make them feel comfortable while they are on campus,” Lindseysaid. She added that while the OSP’s services are limited to on-campus facilities,the office also works with state agencies that provide off-campus assistance,such as the Division of Blind Services and Vocational Rehabilitation.David Thead, administrator for Vocational Rehabilitation, said the program worksonly with people that have physical and mental disabilities.
“You must qualify for the program. It is not an entitlement,” Thead said.
The state-federal program provides participants with a specialized plan foremployment, which helps individuals understand strengths and limitations indetermining the best career. Job training and additional support with books,equipment and surgery expenses are also included in the program.Thead said that people with disabilities usually incur extra expenses withday-to-day living and Vocational Rehabilitation sometimes provides financialassistance.
“We look at what resources they already have and look at financial sources,”Thead said. “Beyond that, we would look at their needs and support them.”