By Shalisa Gentle
In her second semester at Humboldt, Liesa Cookman was injured during a rowing team exercise. “During a practice I had missed the seat and sat right on to the center bar in the boat,” Cookman said. “I bruised my tailbone and that night my back seized up. It hurt so badly. One of my teachers told me to get a hold of the SDRC so I didn’t have to climb up to BSS every day. It was really a life saver.”
Cookman, now an HSU alumni, said the Student Disability Resource Center had much impact on her while she was away from family and in a time of need. She also said that although it was a temporary situation in her case, the SDRC was a great resource to have available to students. If it wasn’t for rides to class she would have been late every class meeting for those five weeks and that would have negatively affected her grades.
There were 8,790 students enrolled at Humboldt State University for the 2015/2016 academic year which is a number that has been steadily growing since 2010. Our campus is still one of the smallest in the CSU system and, because of that, we have built a sense of community here in the redwoods. Of those almost 9,000 students, however, almost 10 percent of which are considered disabled. You may have noticed the Students Disabilities Resource Center on campus (underneath the library) or even the van that drives our physically disabled classmates to their buildings so they aren’t late for class. But what else does the SDRC offer to the over 800 disabled students on our campus?
Jessica Hinman, an HSU student who works at the SDRC, spoke about the accommodations made accessible to the SDRC students.
“It first depends on the disability the student is dealing with,” Hinman said. “We see everything from a broken ankle to moderate learning disabilities and they try to make accommodations for everyone.”
Hinman continued to say that for most students with physical impairments the van is a great resource. Can you imagine trying to get up to Founder’s Hall on crutches?
The other type of accommodations the SDRC offers to students is learning accommodations. Heather Burger, a current HSU undergrad, spoke about the accommodations she relieves that help her with her acquired brain injury.
“School has actually been one of the best resources for me in my recovery,” Burger said. “I have been able to train my brain how to learn again and the SDRC has been amazing at helping me navigate that.”
Burger said that the SDRC has space set up for her to have testing accommodations, whether she needs extended time or just a quite distraction free space. They also have a software program that helps translate her course material from text to actual spoken words which she says has been the biggest help for her.
“One of my favorite things is the pen!” Burger said, referring to her Smart-pen, a device loaned to her for the semester. “Not only does it record the lecture, but it turns your written notes into an uploadable document and the notes you take coincide with what was being recorded at that moment.”
Each semester eligible students need to meet with advisers in the Students Disability Resource Center to figure out what accommodations they would like to have, and all equipment is on loan for one semester at a time. As far as finals and midterm testing goes you can schedule those testing times as soon as you know the final exam schedule.
“I wouldn’t be able to ‘do’ school if it wasn’t for great programs like this, it sort of just levels the playing field for me!”