The Other Side of Disabilities

The Office for Students with Disabilities Newsletter
Division of Student Affairs

Volume VII, Issue III June-July 2006 Editor: James Walborn



Shawn Friedkin suffered a spinal chord injury from a car accident in the 1990's. When he tried to discover what community services were available, he found that there were no organized resources readily accessible for people who have neurological impairments. He founded "Stand Among Friends" in order to support research, education, and advocacy for individuals with neurological disorders. "Stand Among Friends" has partnered with the FAU Center for the Study of Neurological Disabilities, which is located in Suite 120, Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing building.
The Center is currently in the preliminary stages of writing a grant for the funding for a Career Development and Resource position to coordinate employment opportunities for people with disabilities through Able Trust. Since FAU students will benefit from this community effort, both the OSD and CDC will be asked for input, as the Center does not plan to replicate services already provided within the community. Currently, the national average reflects that 75% of people with disabilities are unemployed so this position would be invaluable to assist FAU students with disabilities. For more information about this Center visit the web site at or call (561) 297-4403.


Since FAU is a large institution which is constantly hiring new staff and faculty members we thought that we should explain to those who are new what we are all about. The mission of the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) at FAU is to support students with disabilities in their pursuit of equity and excellence in education. The OSD works with the faculty and staff at FAU to ensure that reasonable accommodations are made to allow this population of students an equal opportunity to learn in the classroom and to have access to all areas around the FAU campuses.


Six OSD staff members just returned from attending the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) Conference July 18th - 22nd in San Diego. AHEAD is the premiere professional association committed to full participation of persons with disabilities in postsecondary education. Staff members attended a variety of presentations which expanded their knowledge of disability-related issues, including current compliance legislation, in order to better assist students with disabilities.


All FAU faculty are strongly encouraged to include a statement regarding students with disabilities on their syllabi. For example: "In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) students who require special accommodations due to a disability to properly execute coursework must register with the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) located in Boca, SU 133, (561) 297-3880, in Davie, MD I (954) 236-1222, or in Jupiter, Office of Diversity Services, SR 117, (561) 799-8585, and follow all OSD procedures." We appreciate your co-operation in this matter.


We would like to thank everyone who took the time to complete and mail out the Survey from the previous OSD Newsletter. We use your suggestions to help generate articles in the future. There were twice as many staff members as faculty members returning the survey. About half of the respondents have read all or most of the issues and 80% found the content informative or highly informative. We are pleased to note that 45% of respondents shared their ideas with us, with most of you wondering how you can better assist students with disabilities. Thanks.


The OSD would like to congratulate all the FAU students graduating this August and wish them all the luck in their future. Here is one student’s story:


Avril, of Boca Raton, is graduating with her BS Degree in Social Work. She has Learning Disabilities in both reading and math. Her Learning Disabilities made completing her classwork a struggle throughout her schooling. To graduate Avril had to take most of her math courses three times and Statistics twice. She is the first in her family to not only have graduated high school, but now college as well.
A Learning Disability is a disorder affecting the manner in which an individual with average or above average intelligence takes in, retains, and/or expresses information. College students with Learning Disabilities are intelligent, talented and capable, often developing strategies for compensating for their disability. These students may require extended time on exams, use of an audio recorder in class, and the assistance of a volunteer notetaker.
For a career Avril wants to work for the State Child and Family Services, where she has already had an internship. She plans to do Child Protective Investigations. "I want to be able to go into the homes, investigating abuse and neglect charges," Avril explains. Good luck to you in this very important endeavor.


We would like to introduce to you Adriana, our new Testing Facilitator, and TJ, our new Sign Language Interpreter. Welcome Adriana and TJ.


Adriana Ellison is the new OSD Testing Facilitator. She is currently a senior in Business Management at FAU, graduating in December, 2006. "I enjoy the environment at the OSD. I’m happy to be a part of anything positive that will help students to achieve their goals." Previously, she was a substitute teacher for the Palm Beach County School System.
Adriana describes herself as relaxed and easy-going. "I always try to have a good day and think positive," she explains.
Likes: When not at FAU she enjoys watching movies, shopping, and spending time with her family. "I like to go to the beach just to relax and get away from what ever stressors are occurring," she states.
Dislikes: It bothers Adriana when people neglect to be polite. "I like it when people remember to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ That seems to be something a lot of people forget."
Anything unusual in the fridge? "Unusual to me is what my husband keeps in there a lot - protein shakes. He’s currently ‘into the gym’ so every time I open the refrigerator there’s chocolate and vanilla protein shakes."


‘TJ,’ Thomas Jaramillo, is the new OSD Sign Language Interpreter. He has previously worked at the California School for the Deaf and as a stock broker. Besides a degree in Deaf Culture, he has earned his Bachelor’s Degree in English from FAU and hopes to get a Master’s Degree in education. "The deaf culture is a very different culture than the American culture with its own nuances and ways of behaving."
"Working at a university level I find that the classes are interesting and the students are much more mature. They are much more likely to take their classes responsibly and to pay attention and interact in class, compared to high school where they are required to attend," he acknowledges.
Likes: "The first thing I have to do when I get home is play with my two dogs for a half an hour. I enjoy spending time with my in-laws, I enjoy reading and writing, and my only bad vice is playing computer games," TJ states.
Dislikes: "A lot of the drivers in Florida scare me; they are abysmal to each other. They are mean, cut each other off, and use expletives. A lack of courtesy is a big thing with me, " he emphasizes.
Anything unusual in the fridge? "It is filled with healthy stuff and a lot of home-baked foods as I do a lot of cooking. There might be anything from Thai Soup to homemade apple pie to Mexican food - just about anything."


We want to encourage comments and contributions from our readers. Please address any comments to Feel free to share this newsletter with friends and colleagues. Current and past issues are available on the web at
This newsletter is available in alternate format upon request from the Office for Students with Disabilities. Boca Campus: SU 133; phone (561) 297-3880, TTY (561) 297-0358. Davie Campus: MD I, Room 104; phone (954) 236-1222, TTY (954) 236-1146.

FAU Campuses: Boca Raton/Davie/Dania Beach/Fort Lauderdale/Jupiter/Treasure Coast Boca Raton Campus Danie Beach Campus Davie Campus Fort Lauderdale Campus Harbor Branch Campus Jupiter Campus Treasure Campus
 Last Modified 8/27/15