Accommodations Mean Equality

Computer stations in McDaniel's SASS office (Image via McDaniel IT)

Everyone learns differently. Some are visual learners while others are auditory learners. Some students pick things up quickly while others need time to take in information or practice. Those with disabilities like Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Phonemic Dyslexia have it even harder.

As a student with both of these learning disabilities, it is difficult for me to focus and complete work on time, which often affects my academic achievement. Having Phonemic Dyslexia makes sounding out words, pronouncing them, and spelling them a struggle. Because of this, my ability to read and write is slowed down and I’m unable to meet many deadlines.

When searching for a college, I had to find one that not only suited my eye but also my learning style. I wanted to go to a college with the same kind of accommodations as my high school, and McDaniel College seemed to have a great program for kids with disabilities. McDaniel’s Academic Support and Disability Service is one of the reasons the college has been recognized in the popular guidebook “Colleges That Change Lives.”

Student Academic Support Services (SASS) provide these services at McDaniel. According to the SASS website, their goal is to “assist in creating an accessible college community where students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the educational environment.”

Through SASS, I have been given such accommodations as extra time on exams and a note-taker to help me succeed despite my disadvantage. McDaniel’s SASS office also provides tape recording, reader services, interpreters for hearing impaired persons, special housing, tutors, advisors and braille services. McDaniel understands the importance of a student’s success and the need to follow the laws put in place to prevent discrimination.

Unfortunately, not everyone has access to these accommodations. Even though there is legislation in place to help students by requiring schools to accommodate their needs, such as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American’s with Disabilities Amendment Act of 2008, they aren’t always followed.

Many people either don’t realize that this is a problem or they don’t care that it is. Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) understands the importance of fighting for rights and equality. DRA understands that these laws were made to help make the playing field even for everyone whether it’s in school, in the work force, or just in the community.

DRA was founded in 1993 by visionary attorneys and disability advocates Larry Paradis and Sid Wolinsky. DRA is one of the leading nonprofit disability rights legal centers in America. Its goal is to promote and advance equal rights and opportunity for those with all types of disabilities.

DRA provides free legal representation to people with disabilities whose civil rights have been violated. Their website states that they have taken on about 400 cases and have won almost all of them. These cases include issues related to health care, employment, transportation, education, voting and housing.

That is why DRA is such a great source to help get justice for those who aren’t given their rights. Being a non-profit charitable organization, they encourage people to make donations to help continue to improve the lives of people with all types of disabilities. The more awareness that is brought to this issue, the more it will slowly begin to diminish and equality will be achieved.

Everyone should be set up for success, not just those without disabilities.