Equal opportunities

Located in the back of student parking services is an ordinary looking portable with a sign that has LDEC in bold letters. The portable may seem ordinary but there are some extraordinary things going on inside.

LDEC, which is an acronym for Learning Development Evaluation Center, is a learning center instituted to help accommodate students with disabilities.

Orenn Fells, the coordinator for disability accommodations and resources at the center, said that the center is: “Basically leveling the playing field for students with disabilities.”

Fells handles a variety of tasks from processing new student forms to making sure that the center has the equipment it needs to accommodate students.

The center offers temporary and permanent assistance to students with disabilities. The length of assistance a student may need is determined by a doctor’s note.

LDEC is equipped with a full-sized classroom that offers students tutorials and help with assignments.

The center has a technology center, an adaptive lab that has tables built for wheelchair access and equipment for students who have visual impairments.

Students also have access to a variety of materials inside the lab to help them with their schoolwork. Some materials include reading pins, which runs over words on paper, and reads the words to the user. The pins also spells words letter by letter, breaks words down into syllables and gives the definition of the word it scans.

Another instrument the center uses is the Brainchild Learning Tool, which is a small device that students use to help build and develop academic skills.

Fells is not the only person assisting students with disabilities. He also has help from students like Jeremy Mounticure, a senior business administration student. The Birmingham native said he believes that working at the center “offers a sense of pride” for him as a student.

Mounticure said he usually goes around campus operating the centers mobility van, which transports students with disabilities around the campus. The mobility van is state of the art with wheelchair access and seats 10 to 11 people. While out on his runs, Mounticure said he encourages students, who are not signed up for LDEC, to come and take advantage of the free services they offer.

“Jeremy has been instrumental in spreading the word about the center and its services,” Fells said.

Henry L. Kirby, associate vice president and dean of student affairs, said that the LDEC addresses the needs of students quickly.

“FAMU is very committed to ensuring the ADA Act is enforced on this campus,” Kirby said.

Students who sign up at the center usually only have to wait two days before they start receiving accommodations. Fells said the center wants students to sign up.

“[LDEC is] always looking for volunteers, paid tutors, and note-takers,” Fells said.