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The Communicator NEWS & POLITICS

University to Celebrate Disability Awareness Month

Designed by:Hunter Abney

Photo credit: Hunter Abney

Designed by:Hunter Abney
Written by: Mikaela ConleyFebruary 21, 2018

Services for Students with Disabilities will be hosting several disability awareness events over the rest of the semester.

“We have a lot of fun activities for people and a lot of things we are planning as we try to work on more outreach,” said John Sheehan, accommodations specialist.

The department now offers an autism support group, which, while created as a safe space for students with autism to socialize, is open to all students, parents, faculty, staff and community members. The group, which typically has about 12 attendees, is in the process of becoming an officially recognized student organization. The group meets weekly, alternating Wednesdays and Thursdays, at 5:30 p.m. in Walb Student Union. The meetings include both educational aspects and fun, such as games.

“We are rapidly growing and making connections in the autism community,” Sheehan said.

Sheehan and disability services also began Lunch with SSD to raise awareness of disability-related issues off and on campus.

Lunch with SSD will include a student panel discussion on accessibility and accommodations March 14. A moderator will lead the panel of approximately six current students and one former student about the biggest accessibility issues facing students and how IPFW can improve. The panel will discuss their experiences on campus, point out important resources, and give advice for freshmen.

Lunch with SSD will discuss mental health March 29, and “Behavior: Why We Do What We Do and How to Do Something Different” April 4. All sessions are held from noon to 1 p.m. in Walb 222 and include free lunch.

Sheehan said there will also be a demonstration by the Paralympics goalball team in the next couple of months.

“We are trying to grow the department and help as many students as we can,” Sheehan said.

SSD offers a wide range of accommodations for students diagnosed with a variety of disabilities.

From cognitive, sight, hearing, mobility disabilities, and more, the office can offer interpreters, audio books, braille services, desk modifications, a quiet testing environment, and extended test taking time, among other accommodations depending on the individual.