Ball State has approximately 780 students with disabilities this school year ranging from non- arrant to physical disabilities. Stephanie Amador // DN
Disability Services continues to accommodate, adapt to students needs
College is stressful for everyone. But, when it comes to accommodations for class, Disability Services makes sure the stress does not become overwhelming for students with disabilities.
Disability Services strives to create an environment that fosters access and opportunity for students with disabilities, according to bsu.edu. Following an empowerment model, students with disabilities will have maximum opportunity to fulfill their potential.
Larry Markle, the director of Disability Services, said over 90 percent of students with disabilities at Ball State have non-apparent disabilities, such as learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and psychological conditions. The accommodations for each student are on a case-by-case basis tailored to what each individual needs.
“Students with disabilities face the same challenges and issues that all students do," Markle said. "Sometimes there are specific issues that they face that other students don’t."
The majority of accommodations provided by Disability Services pertains to academia. The Adaptive Technology Lab in Robert Bell provides special technology to students in need. Students can also request to have more time to take tests, have a notetaker accompany them to class or to have their books and documents translated into a text-to-speech format or braille for blind students.
Logan Anderson, a freshman psychology major, is blind and uses Disability Services to help her in class and said the office was what drew her to attend Ball State.
"[Disability Services] is awesome. It's honestly a big part of why I came here," Anderson said. "I wanted to make sure that if I'm going to be spending four years, spending money for an education, I'm going to get an equal education. And I was very impressed by Disability Services on paper here, and then meeting them, I'm even more impressed."
For her, Disability Services allows her to transition to independence in college.
"I like to be able to do things for myself. In high school and before, I didn't really have a lot of that, just because of the area I lived in and things like that. There wasn't really much that I could do," Anderson said. "But now I'm here and just being able to walk around campus by myself, it's just awesome to be able to be like, 'I want to go to this place and I'm going to do it.' That's really cool."
That independence is a goal Markle has for all his students.
Disability Services has partnered with the Career Center to ensure students with disabilities are able to be employed after graduation. Difficulties finding jobs are some of the biggest problems facing graduates with disabilities, Markle said.
Alex Gilland, a senior telecommunications major, is blind and takes advantage of the opportunities provided by Disability Services. A few years ago, Gilland had an internship through Emmis Communications and worked under sports radio personalities Dan Dakich and John Michael Vincent.
"If it weren't for Disability Services, I'm not sure if I would have had an internship by this point," Gilland said. "I would love to do any job with sports ... It would be great to be working at a pro franchise, or a college selling and promoting their products. Or better yet for me, I would love to be either sideline reporting or broadcasting sports."
Ball State has been identified as one of 75 colleges that go above and beyond the mandates of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to bsu.edu.
Students like Anderson who receive services are pleased and feel the university excels in providing opportunities to students with disabilities.
"Any difficulty I've ever come to them with, they've been able to point me in the right direction of who I should talk to," Anderson said. "I don't think I've ever come to them with something they didn't know how to handle."