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Campus Accessiblity: A PSU Problem? #5 October 10, 2014 Black Cyan Magenta Yellow 

By E.C. Boissoneneau; For the Clock
On November 24, 2017

Campus Accessiblity: A PSU Problem?

E.C. Boissonneau

For the Clock

ecboissonneau@plymouth.edu 

PSU has seen an increase in the number of individuals seeking help from Campus Accessibility Services.

In the past year, Plymouth State University has seen a significant increase in the number of individuals seeking help and accommodation from Campus Accessibility Services, previously Disability Services. According to Accessibility Services coordinator, Lindsay Page, as of September 29th, 134 first year students are receiving accommodation from the department, compared to just 99 first year students last year for the entirety of the 2016-17 academic year. As of October 20th, that number has risen to 148.

Overall, Campus Accessibility Services has 434 students on file. According to Page, “more than half of that 434 number are ‘active’ students meaning they are consistently using services with us (getting letters of accommodation, taking exams with us, and meeting with us, etc.).” The amount of people will most likely grow as the year progresses – though likely not as dramatically as in the past two months.

Page noted that she receives new documentation on a weekly basis, having new students registering their conditions with her throughout the year. She states that “these are students that either haven’t previously identified for various reasons, have a new diagnosis, or have suffered an injury. We have a lot of students coming to us with concussions.” Page also noted an increased amount of people seeking assistance for mental health conditions with anxiety, depression, and PTSD being the most prevalent.

When asked why she believes that more students are reaching out, Page said it is “because Hannah [Davidson] and I have worked to lessen the stigma of receiving support services. We have changed our name from Disability Services to Campus Accessibility Services in order to more accurately promote the services we provide and make an effort to destigmatize the opinions people have about receiving services from our office. Additionally, when students realize that confidentiality is of the utmost importance to us they feel comfortable coming to our office. Lastly more students are using services because they are being identified and diagnosed at an early age. Therefore, they have been receiving services in high school and know that having those supports in place will only benefit them.”

Page is confident in the department’s ability to provide services to the students of PSU, stating that “The increase in students using services from our office is fantastic. Both Hannah Davidson and I feel confident that we are able to handle the increased numbers and are thrilled that more students are seeking the assistance and support they need in order to be successful here at PSU. Certainly, if our numbers keep increasing we will need to look for more support to accommodate that change, but I am confident that with the leadership team involved our needs and concerns will be heard.”

If you, or someone you know would like to use Accessibility Services, there are several things that must be done in order to qualify. First, there must be proof in the form of documentation. Some examples of this include high school testing - EPI and/or 504, documentation from your healthcare providers, documentation from your counselor or therapist, or a referral from the Counseling Center. After documentation is provided, the next step is an intake meeting where the student and a Campus Accessibility employee will discuss what accommodations the student is seeking and what they will be offered. Some accommodations that the university provides are extended time on exams, testing space in a distraction reduced environment, and alternative exam formats. Once this is completed, students will be given a Letter of Accommodation. Professors cannot refuse you accommodation if the Letter is presented to them, though it is not required for students to do so if they do not want to.

Outside of the Campus Accessibility Services, there are many other tools on campus designed to help students succeed, including the Writing Center in Lamson Library, the Plymouth Academic Support Services in the basement of Mary Lyon Hall, and the Math Activities Center in Hyde Hall. 

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