Columns / Discourse / February 26, 2020

Health and wellness for your awareness: Disability Service Myths

 

 

 

Disability Service is another crucial liaison of the Senate Health and Wellness Committee.

Disability Services is commonly known for providing academic or residential accommodation requests for those who are qualified. But that is not the one and only thing that they do!

The main goal of Disability Services is to promote accessibility for students with disabilities in all areas of campus life wherever possible. The office recognizes disability as a valued aspect of diversity. For that reason, the office promotes use of innovative resources and programs and provides leadership to advance inclusive and sustainable learning and living environments across campus. Today, based on an interview with director Stephanie Grimes, I am going to introduce available resources from Disability Services.

There are four main areas that Disability Services focuses on: academic, residential, employment accommodation and academic workshops. In 2011, when Grimes first started her position as a Learning Specialist, Disability Services were under the Center for Teaching and Learning. At that time, around 50 students accessed academic accommodations each term. In February 2016, Grimes was promoted to the Director of Disability Services and the office moved to SMC in August 2016.

Now Disability Services handles more various academic and residential accommodations, such as air conditioners, single rooms, emotional support animals and off-board and off-campus requests. Currently, an average of 110 students get academic accommodations per term.

I want to point out employment accommodation and workshops, which a lot of people might not have heard about. Disability Services can provide career planning and counseling since they can help students with disabilities to know what kind of impact and characteristics of the career that students are looking for has. Academic workshops are open to all the Knox students throughout the Fall Term, with topics such as study skills, educational study apps and technologies, time management and stress management. Especially during the first year at Knox, lots of people struggle with a new environment including new classes, peer groups and living conditions.

If anybody wants to know more about useful tools for studying and test-taking, time management and balancing responsibilities, it is the right time to knock on the Disability Services door and find appropriate resources. If you reach out to Disability Services, staff and peer educators are able to meet one on one with students about the workshop topic areas as needed.

Grimes understands that students might feel reluctant to request the accommodation, since they may not have the required documented disability information. Grimes indicated that the Illinois Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS), located on 477 East Main Street, is a helpful state resource in getting that information. The DRS can help students obtain educational and psychological testing to establish the need for accommodations. They can also help qualified students with job assistance after graduation. You can get more information about their services from Disability Services.

Alongside current services, Disability Services is planning to update and increase their website presence. They are hoping to be able to launch advisory and advocacy groups as well. Also, Disability Services has been meeting with the Campus Accessibility Task Force committee to discuss what can be done in order to improve the physical accessibility of the Knox campus. So if you would like to learn more about available accommodations and how to request them, or know what helpful resources may be available to you, talk to Disability Services staff. You can contact Disability Services at disabilityservices@knox.edu.

Tina Jeon

Tags:  disability services Health and Wellness Health and Wellness Chair resources stephanie grimes

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