by Hassan Travis-Frank
Niagara County Community College, a college in Niagara Falls located in Sanborn. It is a college where students are willing to learn, study, and to graduate to meet their achievements. However, there are most students with disabilities who struggles to meet their achievements. This includes having trouble studying, following instructions that are difficult to them, not getting enough time on their exams, and even failing their courses. Disability is a physical mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, and or activities. According to The New School website, “a person with a disability is anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as walking, seeing, learning, hearing, speaking, or breathing.”
Notwithstanding, students with disabilities can still succeed in NCCC. Students with disabilities will require assistance from the Accessibility Services, which is located at the A-Building. The Accessibility Service assist all qualified students with disabilities to meet their educational objectives, according to the NCCC website. Accessibility Service Program Coordinator Caitlin Weatherwax explains, “So the purpose of the Accessibility Service at NCCC is to make sure that all of our students with qualify as having a disability are given equal axis to an education at NCCC, and that’s done under the ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act, and section 504 of the American Rehabilitation. And so, it is all done with our goal of making sure that any student regardless of disability has equal axis to their educational environment.” According to the Enrollment of College Students with Disabilities data, there are about 365 students with disabilities from September 2021 to June 2022.
Many students will use the Accessibility Services to extend their time for their upcoming exams. They can have extended amounts of time to complete their exams that are timed. Students with disabilities can sign up online to extend their time while taking their exams. Then the Accessibility Service employees will have a sign-up sheet ready for the student and the instructor. If students with disabilities feels that they are being discriminated against, they can use a first and internal process that they can use to file a complaint. “So, if a student feels that they are being discriminated against, we have a first and internal process that they can file a complaint through which can be even if a student doesn’t agree with an accommodation, they could file a complaint and have, you know, seek to have that process that they were evaluated looked at,” said Caitlin.
There are sometimes misunderstandings from instructors while they work with their students with disabilities. We know that everybody has a different experience working with different groups of people, and it is important to help them in need, especially people with disabilities. “So, there’s sometimes misunderstandings and an instructor doesn’t know that they are not providing an accommodation correctly or they might be violating the student’s rights and that’s where I sit down with the instructor, you know, and go through with that student’s rights are and we provide accommodations of certain way and we’ve been always able to come to a mutual understanding to provide that student with, you know, the accommodations that they should be legally granted.” This includes how some instructors might not have the full knowledge of students with disabilities or they might not have worked with a student with disabilities. It is important to understand what the accommodations are, so there will be a mutual understanding.
Despite students having disabilities, they can still graduate and succeed. Remember, they are human beings too and they have feelings, goals, and dreams, and have unique personalities and attitudes. They are willing to do everything can to learn and achieve their potential. Caitlin explains, “I’ve seen students with disabilities earn degrees in all of our programs, you know, they’re accommodations and their disability does not necessarily mean where they are going to be successful or unsuccessful it really takes any college student; college is hard. So, it takes dedication and time and effort, accommodations are meant to have an even playing field, a level playing field, so hopefully if we set accommodations right and if a student is in the program that they sometimes have an infinity for so if for instance they might be someone who really likes nursing or really likes medical and biology related stuff, then there are more and likely going to do well in the nursing program.” In conclusion, it is best that we treat students with disabilities as equal, so we can treat them with respect and understand that they are human beings just like us.