Students with disabilities are satisfied with accommodations

Jordon Griffin

Students at every college face obstacles along the path to a degree, but students with disabilities have to overcome a different set of challenges to reach their goal of graduating. 

Sacramento State offers accommodations to those with disabilities to help make the journey more comfortable. 

Co-director for the Service to Students with Disabilities, Judith Dean said there are approximately 780 students who use these accommodations.

Economics major Jessica Yu has retinitis pigmentosa, which has made her legally blind. It is a degenerative eye condition, which will gradually worsen until she is completely blind. 

Despite her limitations, Yu made the Dean’s Honor List and credits Sac State’s Services to Students with Disabilities for her achievement.

“Services to Students With Disabilities has been a great help with my success,” Yu said. “They are a great resource to have. The accommodations I get really help me during class and with my other needs.”

Service to Students with Disabilities can offer students computer access in the High Tech Center, which is located the Academic Information Resource Center. 

The High Tech Center offers assistance for a wide array of special needs students, who have low vision, hearing, mobility impairment and learning disabilities.

Dean said the process to qualify for Services to Students with Disabilities is fast once the proper forms are signed with proof of the disability.

The campus is equipped as being wheelchair accessible and has Braille markings at very door sign. There is also training by an instructor during orientation on how to move around the campus and use the technology offered in the High Tech Center.

Dean said the alternate media production, a computer program that translates text into sound and vice versa, has tripled over the years.

Services to Students with Disabilities has produced more than 1,050 alternate media productions during the 2012-2013 school year.

 The High Tech Center gives an audio format to textbooks, assignments, tests and can convert text to Braille. 

Dean said each year with the help of a Associated Students, Inc. grant, Services to Students with Disabilities hires more than 50 tutors, note takers, readers, proctors and cart drivers. 

“Services to Students with Disabilities works collaboratively with faculty and the campus community to ensure that appropriate accommodations are provided,” Dean said. “Faculty and staff have been very supportive in facilitating accommodations.”

 Judi Byrnes, a 61-year old gerontology major, had surgery more than ten years ago, when the upper part of her spine was severely injured. The surgery caused a pinched nerve, which makes her writing arm go numb at times.

“It would be impossible to pass a class without the help.”  Byrnes said.

Last semester during a sociology final, her arm went numb. With the help of her professor and the Services to Students with Disabilities testing center, she was allowed an extra hour to complete the exam.

“My arm did not regain feeling during the scheduled hour to complete the exam,” Byrnes said. “Without that extra time, I wouldn’t have been able to pass the class.”

 As a transfer student, originally transferring from American River College, she has experienced another college’s disability services and she said it was a night and day comparison between the two because the college had very limited assistance tools. It took her six years to finish a two-year program.

 “My other school was very basic and provided no training.” Byrnes said. “Sac State has much more to offer.”

 Byrnes’ favorite accommodation provided by Services to Students with Disabilities, is the software called Dragon Naturally Speaking. It allows her to speak into a device, which converts all of her words into text. She said this service is particularly useful whenever her arm unexpectedly goes numb.

 Now, she is maintaining good grades thanks to the services offered at Sac State and would recommend Sac State, the university and its accommodations, to anyone with special needs.

“If any disabled students want to go to Sac State and stay focused there is no excuse not to go to school here and be successful,”Byrnes said.