The Other Side of Disabilities

The Office for Students with Disabilities Newsletter
Division of Student Affairs

Volume VII, Issue 5 December 2006 Editor:  James Walborn



Our office became aware of an older FAU student registered with the OSD who is a single parent raising a developmentally delayed child, who has little money for food during the upcoming holidays.  Office personnel called several organizations in the area regarding her situation, sometimes with frustrating results.  An inquiry to the FAU-L subscribers list brought many fine suggestions: Some specific collection drives collect food for organizations while others will provide holiday dinners at a fixed location during specific hours.  This is a terrific option for those who can get to the fixed location but this person really wanted to cook at home with her daughter. 
FAU Social Work Professor, Dr. Campoverde, was surprised to learn that there are FAU students who are so poor as to go hungry during the holidays.  She collected $300 in donations and presented the grateful student with this generous gift.  “We are on a very limited income,” the student reports.  “I wasn’t expecting anything more than food to put on the table.  I almost started crying like a baby.  It was so beautiful.”  She was able to buy her daughter some well-needed supplies and Christmas gifts. 
Besides teaching, Dr. Campoverde is the Director of the Guatemalan Project, a locally based non-profit charity which collects and distributes clothing, goods, and funds for educating and training of the people of eastern Guatemala to promote employment, skills training, education, and health services.  For more information about the Guatemalan Project go to GRADS
The OSD would like to congratulate everyone who graduated this December.  Here are two OSD students with interesting stories that we would like to share with you


Louis Ferreira graduated with a BA in Political Science and a minor in Business Management.   He found it difficult to focus on his textbooks due to his learning disability.  “From a young age it became apparent that my ability to learn was different from those around me.  It was very frustrating,” Louis acknowledges.  Then everyone found out about his uncanny knack with computers.  He helped set up his school’s computer system and taught the librarians how to use it while he was still in elementary school.  He has been assisting the OSD at FAU for many years while a student, becoming the office Network Administrator in 2002 and Assistive Technology Coordinator in 2005.  “My goal is making technology a bigger part of people’s lives.” 


Aaron Sanchez has graduated with a BA in Criminal Justice.  He doesn’t let his learning disability get him down.  “Never fall short of what you want to achieve.  Go for your goals no matter what obstacle you’re facing,” Aaron states, emphatically.  While his disability involves reading and written comprehension, this has not deterred him as a FAU Owl and contributing many touchdowns as a fullback.  “Reading and studying for classes takes a lot of extra time for me,” he explains.  He hopes to pursue a professional football career in the future. 


One FAU doctoral student graduating this December wished to show her gratitude to FAU so she has made a very generous donation to the OSD of $9,000.  Thank you so very much for your philanthropic gift.

The OSD wants to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday!


Craig Spencer, who graduated FAU Cum Laude in August, 2000 with his degree in Communications, received his law degree from FSU.  Although blind, he has just been hired by a law office in Daytona Beach.


OSD Director, Nicole Rokos, was one of three honorary coaches at the Shula Bowl, the final Owls football game of the season.  She had a blast and felt that the distinction was quite an honor.


FAU Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD), in collaboration with the OSD, is forming a social group for young adults with Asperger's Syndrome.  This will be for individuals ranging in age from 18 - 26 that are looking to gather once a month to meet new people, establish relationships, and explore opportunities in the community for social experiences.  The first meeting of the group will be Tuesday, January 23 at 2:00 PM in ED 411, Boca Raton Campus.  For Information and to register please call Evelyn Falconer at (772) 873-3367 or email
Individuals with Asperger's Syndrome may be affected in their ability to understand and respond to the thoughts and feelings of others.  They may also be prone to react strongly to loud noises, blinking lights, or large crowds, as assaults on their senses.  Although it is not known what causes this syndrome, current research links it to biological or neurological differences in the brain.  There appears to be a genetic basis for this disorder, and it is more prevalent in males.


Suellen Martin had a stroke in 1999 which affected the right side of her body.  “At first I couldn’t walk, couldn’t speak, couldn’t write.”  It affected her short term and long term memory.
 “It was challenging for me to study for a test; I had to read the chapter 3 or 4 times more than the average student in order to remember the information.”  While she had work experience prior to her stroke, she was unsure of her future options.  In 2004 she decided to seek out possible internship opportunities and so she was interviewed by the Workforce Recruitment Program recruiter visiting FAU.
The Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities is a very special  employment project co-sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of Labor and the U.S. Dept. of Defense.  The program provides a referral system for the 1500 college students with disabilities who are interviewed across the country each spring for both private companies and government agencies for summer internships. 
Suellen had been placed in a summer internship for the last three years at the Navair Training System Division in Orlando, FL.  While interning there this past summer Suellen applied for the permanent position of Office Automation Clerk which had become available.  She graduated FAU in August, 2006 with a Bachelors degree in Human Resources Management.  She was hired for the position and started her full-time job there in October.
However, this past October was a roller coaster month for Suellen as not only did she have to relocate and start a new job, her mother died as well.  “Both good news and bad news,” she laments.  “You only have one mother.  But, I’ve got a job!”  “The Workforce Recruitment Program helped me a lot as far as encouragement and improving my interviewing skills.  Because they were behind me I got the job.  It allowed me to become more proficient on the computer, gaining experience, and building up my confidence, acquiring the skills necessary to do the job,” Suellen  reflects. 


A Federal Judge has ruled that the U.S. Treasury Department has discriminated against the blind by keeping all U.S. currency the same size and texture.  He has ordered the government to come up with ways for the blind to tell bills apart.  The U.S. is the only major country in the world that has not varied the size or texture of its bills in order to make currency accessible to the blind.  The American Council for the Blind has waged a long 4-year legal battle in court on this issue and believes that millions of blind people will benefit from the court ruling. 


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This newsletter is available in alternate format upon request from the Office for Students with Disabilities. Boca: SU 133; phone (561) 297-3880, TTY (561) 297-0358.  Davie:  MD I, Room 104; phone (954) 236-1222, TTY (954) 236-1146. Jupiter: SR 117; (561) 799-8585, TTY (561) 799-8565.  

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