How do College Resource Centers Assist Students with Disabilities

College Resource centers can often assist students with disabilities. At my University (UMass Boston), for example, we have the Lillian Semper Ross Center for Disability Services (RCDS). Whenever a disabled student has troubles with things like writing in a classroom or viewing their screens for online classes, the office assists them and gets them on track so they can have as successful a semester as possible. The office informed me about LiveScribe pens since I told them I had trouble writing. The LiveScribe pen has been a true life saver for me. It records the audio of my professor while a camera in the pen records what I am writing while I listen to him/her.

In addition to helping me with my classes with the LiveScribe pen, RCDS also serves as a backup in the event that a faculty member tells me he/she does not wish to be recorded. If I tell them I’m disabled and they still question my use of the LiveScribe pen, the Student Disability Center will advocate for me at my request.

Another student has a serious eye problem and she was getting very frustrated with trouble signing into her online classes. We have a technical support group for our distance learning courses but they were very unhelpful to her. I recommended she contact RCDS and she did. With their help she was able to get online as well as get software to make the online pages easier for her to read/see.

The RCDS office helps people with any number of disabilities whether they are visible or not.  From the RCDS Web page: “environment for accessible education at the University of Massachusetts Boston. The staff coordinates services and accommodations for students with a variety of documented disabilities… You will learn about services and adaptive equipment that are available at UMass Boston. You will also learn about the services the RCDS offers, and the policies and procedures necessary to receive these services, as well as your rights and responsibilities under the law.” *

In addition to being very helpful to students with disabilities, the RCDS office also ensures that the University remains in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973). As someone who has been discriminated against by a former employer because of my disabilities (Multiple Sclerosis and Fibromyalgia) I really appreciate this office.

* Source: “Students – University of Massachusetts Boston.” University of Massachusetts Boston – a Student-centered Urban Public Research University – University of Massachusetts Boston. Web. 08 Jan. 2012. <http://www.umb.edu/academics/vpass/disability/students/>.