Looking at someone’s face, you may never be able to tell if he or she has a disability. Disabilities are not just physical. From dyslexia to legal blindness, the Center for Disability Access and Resources (CeDAR) serves them all.
CeDAR provides support, accommodations and empowerment to disabled Florida A&M students. According to Danette Saylor, CeDAR’s director, the center serves 600 students through “four programmatic functions” – a disability resource center, admissions conduit, learning assessment center and disability education.
Saylor said CeDAR is important because of its functions: admissions, recruitment, retention, counseling and academic advisement.
“In this one little area, we’re touching a lot of things that support a student’s success here on campus,” said Saylor.
For students, CeDAR’s importance is in its accommodations such as assistive technology, an alternative testing location and note takers.
“I need just the accommodations, the assistance to comprehend things and get used to things in the classroom,” said a CeDAR participant who is a business student at FAMU.
Consideration and openness are two things that improve disabled students’ experiences.
“I don’t think people realize how hard it is to adjust in the classroom,” said the participant. “Not only that, but get the help that you need and be with the college thing, too. Because you have a lot on your shoulder, you have a lot you have to deal with. So I think that’s one of the issues that people could consider and be more open to.”
CeDAR seeks the understanding of faculty and students to help with its mission, but many Rattlers harbor misconceptions. Experience with CeDAR helps students gain knowledge.
“Honestly, I really had no knowledge, prior to working here, about disabilities,” said Maurice Wamukowa, a CeDAR tutor and senior accounting major form Nairobi, Kenya. “I just thought a disability was something physical, but then I came to understand stuff like ADD (attention deficit disorder) and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) are also disabilities.”
CeDAR allows students without disabilities to gain awareness through involvement. CeDAR’s service organization, Delta Sigma Omicron, promotes “social and recreational welfare of all persons with disabilities.” Volunteer opportunities are also available with three-day training with the next in the spring semester.
Awareness proves that a disabled student is like anyone else.
“There is no face to a disability,” said Krista Price, coordinator of clinical service. “Individuals with disabilities can be viewed as individuals with varying abilities. All of us have strengths and areas that we can improve upon, and we [CeDAR] provide support services that ensure students’ academic success.”
For more information on CeDAR and its services, visit www.famu.edu/cedar