Shepherd University has expanded its disability support services with three new staff members to meet the growing population of students with disabilities on campus.
Dr. Dorothy Hively, director of disability support services and associate professor of special education at Shepherd, said the program supports students in terms of their learning, social and medical needs to facilitate success.
Shepherd also provides residential and dining accommodations for students with disabilities through Student Affairs.
"Our office serves to provide academic accommodations to even out the playing field for students so they can achieve their academic potential here at Shepherd," she said.
Students can take advantage of a variety of accommodations depending on their needs and must submit a request form as well as supporting documentation for review to do so. The most frequently requested accommodations are extended-time testing and isolation during testing, followed by recording of lectures and note taking. Hively said testing takes place every day in every building on campus.
Helping Hively and the students are Frank Turk, sign language interpreter and transition specialist and Kathleen Kuss, assistant to the director of disability support services and graduate assistant. Together, they serve more than 300 students with disabilities at Shepherd from every major. Those seeking accommodations might have had an illness or accident that affects their learning, be a veteran with a service-related disability, or have been diagnosed with Asperger's or autism, all of which make learning different for them. Though students may have received specialized services in high school, they must self-identify now that they are in college.
"I see an appreciation for this support on behalf of both the students and theteachers, and they both welcome it and see the value of it," Turk said. "It's needed."
The staff encourages anyone with questions to stop in the office and they will gladly help people through the process, Hively said.
"We want to make it more commonplace so students and faculty feel more comfortable to use our services," she said. "We're here to serve."
For more information, contact disability support services at 304-876-5689 or in the Student Center, room 124.