“Success in life should not be restrained by individual limitations.”
A quote taken directly from the Cabrini College Disability Resource Center’s webpage encompasses exactly what was touched upon in Tuesday’s student led panel.
On March 25, six students who are registered with the Disability Resource Center described their experiences of dealing with the college lifestyle while also dealing with a disability. The students speaking on the panel deal with a variety of different disabilities including vision impairments, cerebral palsy, attention deficit disorder and other types of learning disabilities.
Among those students was sophomore communication major, Marina Haley. Haley deals with a learning disability which hinders her ability to do math, and described her experiences with not only the Disability Resource Center but the Math Resource Center as well. In the panel she stated “what’s been helpful to me is the math resource center. They’ve been a really big tool for me to help me overcome my math disability.”
The DRC acts as a place for those with disabilities to be provided extra help and a sense of comfort when dealing with all that college brings forth.
As is expected when making the transition from high school to college, meeting new people always creates a certain level of anxiety within a student. Unfortunately for these students, there is added tension when facing this task. This tension is caused by a lack of understanding between these students and other members of the campus community.
Sophomore social work major, Emily Mancuso, stated that you need to be an advocate for yourself. If a student is in need of additional resources, they should know that there are people here to help.
One of the struggles that come with being registered with the DRC is that some teachers do not know how to accommodate such a situation.
Often times, it is difficult for those who do not live with a disability to understand what it is like to live in that way. One example provided by Frank Cornely proved that many students may really not see what difficulties come with living a disability.
As this past winter brought multiple significant snow storms, Cornely, who lives with cerebral palsy and relies on a motorized chair to make his way around campus, struggled travelling through the snow. What made matters worse was that passersby did not understand that he needed assistance and merely walked by.
It is not only the students who seem to be understanding. According to a senior who spoke on the panel, faculty as well as classroom coaches do not realize the best ways to assist these students with what they need.
Kathleen Johnson, the director of the DRC, spoke about how they plan on alleviating these issues. Johnson said that the DRC is “working on educating them and providing assistance. We are trying to help the peer tutors as well as faculty to perhaps understand the reason why the difficulties are happening.”
Those in the Cabrini community as well as worldwide need to begin understanding that those living with a disability are not different they merely process information differently.