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Fall 2000 UCLA
UCLA Office for Students with Disabilities
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Welcome to the 2000-2001 academic year!
It seems incredible that summer has come and gone and that Fall Quarter is about to begin. I hope you had a great time this summer and that you got to do some fun and interesting things. If you would like to share them with us by writing an article for the OSD newsletter, please contact Doug Gerow. This summer was a busy one. I’d like to take a moment to bring you up to date.
Facelift for OSD
While the faces remain the same, the office space has taken on a whole new look. Over the summer, we were painted, re-carpeted, installed new office modules and got new furniture.
OSD Resource Room
The Resource Room also has a new look. When you visit the OSD Resource Room in 181 Powell Library, you will notice new carpet and new furniture in many of the rooms. We are happy that we were able to spruce up this office as well. We hope that the improvements in both Murphy and Powell make things more functional and pleasant for everyone. Come by soon to see us and our new look!
Goodbye and Good Luck to Ariel Smith
Many of you knew Ariel if you frequented the OSD Resource Room. We will miss Ariel as she goes on to further her education on a full-time basis. Linda and Tony will have a new assistant soon.
Reminder: Please Make an Appointment
We encourage you to make an appointment with an OSD staff member to handle your OSD business, rather than trying to handle things on a drop-in basis. We find that everyone benefits from an appointment scheduled in advance so that everyone has time to prepare. Another main ingredient for a successful quarter is to communicate your service delivery needs to us as early as possible. You know what they say about the "early bird."
I hope you enjoy reading this issue of New Horizons. Let us know how things are going. If there is something you need, just ask and we’ll do our best to assist you. Have a great quarter!
Jo Anne Simon, a leading disability rights attorney, states that the testing agencies and licensing boards (e.g., MCAT, LSAT, GRE, etc.) or professional licensing exams (e.g. bar exam, medical licensing exam, etc) are now more restrictive in their interpretation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and thus it is getting tougher for students to be granted accommodations, even though accommodations were received at institutions like UCLA.
The ADA does not define the terms "physical or mental impairment," "substantially limits," and "major life activities" so that it has been a source of interpretive disagreement in the courts.
This recent trend in conservatively interpreting the law is exemplified in the case of Gonzalez v. National Board of Medical Examiners (MBME) which was ruled on this past August. Mike Gonzalez, a medical student at the University of Michigan, took the Board to court for refusing to grant him extra time on the USMLE Step 1 exam. Mike was receiving the accommodation of extra time on exams at the U.M. Medical School as he had received for exams taken during his last two undergraduate years at UCD.
The court ruled in favor of the NBME which argued that Mike is not disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The MBNE had convinced the court that Gonzalez: 1) did not have a disability because his assessment for a learning disability indicated that his reading ability fell within the average to superior range when compared to "most people" and 2) that he did not have disability that affected the major life activity of working.
Since the Gonzalez case was decided, a major case concerning academic accommodations was ruled on by an appellate court in New York. In this case Jo Anne Simon and her client, Marilyn Bartlett, contested a ruling by a district court in favor of the New York State Board of Law Examiners’ denial of accommodations to Dr. Bartlett. In contrast to the court hearing of the Gonzalez case, this court compared Dr. Bartlett to her peers who had "comparable training, skills and abilities and also deemed the bar examination as having implications for a major life activity. The ruling on the Bartlett Case is seen as setting an encouraging precedent for individuals with learning disabilities.
Given the mixed conclusion of the courts and the uncertainty of how other and future courts will rule on what determines a disability and what defines a major life activity, the request for accommodations should be viewed with caution. Barbara Guyer, Ed.D., Director of Marshall University’s H.E.L.P. Program and a program for premedical students who have learning disabilities, advises her students to prepare for their postgraduate entrance exams as if they were not going to receive testing accommodations.
The professional staff who review applications for special accommodations on the MCAT and LSAT strongly recommend that one should submit applications for tests and special accommodations as early as possible. This is especially important because significant numbers of students provide inadequate or unacceptable documentation of their disability. The requirements for documentation can vary from school to school or testing organization to testing organization. One needs to be sure of exactly the type of testing that is required to show a disability as well as what professional with what type of licensing is allowed to make a specific diagnosis. It would not be too early to begin investigating what and when one needs to submit one’s application and documentation for testing accommodations. Some testing organizations may require that you send in your application earlier than the general application closing date. If one’s request for accommodations is denied an early submission of an application may provide one with enough time to appeal the decision and obtain the necessary additional testing that may be required. In some instances one may need to obtain grade school report cards and progress reports to support a diagnosis. Many postgraduate school exams are given in the Fall of the student’s senior year so Spring quarter should be the latest time when one should begin to look into what is needed to apply for an exam and accommodations. If one has applied for the test once before, one should be sure to take care in finding out if the requirements for accommodations are the same as when one last applied. Testing agencies may make modifications in the process or requirements for accommodations.
Besides preparing for the application for postgraduate entrance and licensing exams, one should prepare for a major test in other ways. Dr. Guyer suggests that students regulate their life styles with the incorporation of exercise, adequate amounts of sleep, and a balanced diet into their daily routine. She feels that this is especially important for students with learning disabilities and AD/HD. She also recommends experimenting with the use of earplugs when studying and taking tests for college courses to test them out or acclimate to them before the major exam. Finally, Dr. Guyer recommends that if one needs to take medication, begin treatment as early as possible before the testing date. Often medication dosages may need to be adjusted or even trials of different medications may be required.
In summary if you are applying to take an examination for entrance into graduate school or for licensing, remember the following points:
Most people have had experience with a family member who is hard of hearing. Often, merely repeating what you have said will be sufficient to allow the person to understand. But, one-to-one interaction is easier to control than large group or classroom situations. In the classroom, distance makes it more difficult to speech-read; bad acoustics exacerbate problems in understanding; when the teacher faces the chalkboard all understanding can be lost.
For a student who is hard of hearing, it is often difficult to hear faint or distant speech, discern subtle conversational cues, follow fast-paced verbal exchanges and hear the fine word-sound distinctions that denote plurality, tense, possessives, and other important parts of the language. Even students with slight hearing losses can have problems in these areas. A student with such a hearing loss may miss critical sounds and lose general understanding.
Academic potential may be easily compromised. For speech to be intelligible, a person must be able to discriminate the word-sound distinctions of individual phonemes. Otherwise, speech may be considered merely audible, meaning that the person is simply able to detect its presence. Hearing loss distorts or eliminates incoming sounds, especially sounds from a distance--even a short distance. Hearing loss itself is invisible, easily ignored, and its impact often underestimated.
Hearing in the Classroom
There are significant factors that affect hearing in the classroom. As the teacher moves back and forth, the distance from the teacher varies, as does the intensity of the sound. While it might seem that just talking louder should solve all listening problems, it may not. When someone speaks loudly, vowel energy is increased, but consonant energy is not increased to the same degree. Speaking louder generally increases audibility, but it may decrease intelligibility! This is why an Assistive Listening Device may be critical for a student who is hard of hearing.
What is an Assistive Listening Device?
An Assistive Listening Device is a miniaturized wireless microphone system . The small microphone is connected to a pager-sized sending unit and the microphone is clipped to the teacher’s lapel. The student can sit anywhere in the class and hear the lecture clearly. The teacher’s voice comes through at comfortable, conversational levels, without distracting noises. The student may adjust the volume on their receiving unit for the best possible comprehension level.
If you would like further information about Assistive Listening Devices, please contact Dan Levitt at (310) 825-1501.
The fences are in place and the temporary access road for construction for the Physics/ Astronomy Building, located just west of Knudsen Hall where the Plasma Physics Building once stood. This new building should be ready for occupancy in about two years. The sidewalks on Portola Plaza immediately adjacent to the construction site are closed. The temporary access road, which extends from the Westholme entrance near the Inverted Fountain, Franz, Knudsen and IPAM to the construction site, is for the large and heavy trucks associated with construction and not for pedestrian or regular vehicular use. Crossing guards will be placed at intersections along the temporary road. There is ample room on the side of the temporary road for pedestrian and wheelchair access.
The sidewalk and hardscape project at Bunche/Public Policy will be completed around Halloween. In addition to a new sidewalk, this project involves a new irrigation system, improved accessibility, lighting and planting around the south entrances to Bunche and Public Policy and the east entrance to Bunche and the west entrance to Public Policy. The Public Policy building is accessible from the south by a temporary, plywood sidewalk from the Lu Valle patio. If possible, though, use the east entrances off of Young Drive during construction. Bunche is accessible from the north as always and from the south at the very west end. A temporary sidewalk has been installed directly behind Perloff Hall along Portola Plaza to replace the closed north sidewalk.
The complete remodel and seismic upgrade of Haines Hall continues. The west sidewalk of Portola Plaza from the Flagpole to just south of Campbell is closed and there is no vehicle parking along the construction site. The Westwood Replacement Hospital project continues too. The west sidewalk along Westwood Blvd. from Young Drive to the 300 Medical Plaza Building remains closed.
At least two of the Suite Buildings in De Neve Plaza will be opening in the next few weeks. They will be ready for occupancy soon. Construction will continue on the Commons Building and a few suite buildings.
The Hall of Fame at the Morgan Center is closed for remodeling. This will pose no impact to pedestrian or vehicular traffic. The addition to the nearby Wooden Center continues as well. There is a fenced construction access road from North Young Drive just east of Westwood to the north end of the Wooden Center. There is also a fence from the South side of the Wooden Center, just beyond the entrance, to the north side of the Morgan Center. This area is inaccessible.
The Storage Facility at the west end of Lot 8 is proceeding. Due to this construction, Young Drive West is one way (northbound) from the exit of Lot 8 to Strathmore.
Just this summer a new project – the Thermal Energy Storage System -- started between the East end of Lot 9 and the Southwest corner of the Court of Sciences. A very large hole will be dug for a huge storage tank. Eventually, lecture halls and classrooms will be built on top of the storage tank. Most of the southwest corner of the Court of Sciences is behind a construction fence. The Life Sciences Building and the Bombshelter are accessible. A new, temporary wheelchair ramp has been installed at the southeast side of the Bombshelter that leads to the entrance area to Boyer Hall. The lower level, exterior sidewalk of lot 9 is closed during the construction.
Lot 32 has been reconfigured for a new building at the southeast corner of the area. In addition to a loss of parking spaces for the construction site, the remaining spaces have been reconfigured.
For additional information regarding campus construction’s impact on accessibility, please contact Ed at the OSD or call the OSD Information/Construction Hotline at 206-0147.
The Disabilities and Computing Program is proud to announce the opening this fall of its new Adaptive Technology Lab that provides specialized high tech computer hardware and software to help students, faculty and staff with disabilities. DCP staff will offer training and technical support for the hardware and software applications available in the lab, and printing and other computer services will also be available.
The new lab, located at Math Science 4919, is made up of seven powerful, state-of-the-art computer workstations including six IBM compatible PCs and one Macintosh G4. One of the PCs will be a dedicated scanning workstation linked to a high-speed Fujitsu scanner. The scanner will include a document feeder and can scan both sides of a document.
The computer lab will include both standard and adaptive software to meet the needs of users with disabilities. The workstations will include software widely used on campus such as Microsoft Office and the applications comprising the Bruin Online software package. New applications will be added as the need arises.
Adaptive software applications will include programs to assist individuals with mobility impairments, visual impairments, learning disabilities, hearing impairments and traumatic brain injuries.
For those with physical impairments, voice recognition programs such as Dragon Naturally Speaking will be available along with other software that makes it easier to input information into the computer. We'll also have an array of input devices. For individuals with visual impairments the lab will offer the ZoomText screen magnification program and the JAWS for Windows screen reader program.
People with learning disabilities will have access to WYNN (What You Need Now) and Kurzweil 3000. These programs provide scanning along with speech output and other tools that allow users to create, edit, and listen to documents.
The DCP staff continually researches and purchases new software to help people with disabilities, and these new technologies will be added to the workstations as they become available.
The workstations are being designed with an eye toward ergonomics. All tables will be height-adjustable, and we'll have a variety of ergonomic chairs in the lab so lab-users can pick the chair most suited to them. Other devices such as wrist rests, trackballs, specialized copy holders, monitor risers and keyboard trays will be available to demonstrate the state of the art in ergonomic computing.
The DCP, in partnership with UCLA's ergonomics program, will host ergonomics seminars once a month.
DCP Open House
To introduce you to the new DCP lab and the technology available there, we will host a Technology Open House on October 11 from 8:00-5:00. DCP staff will demonstrate the adaptive technologies available in the lab and visitors will have the chance to get hands-on experience on the software and hardware. Just drop by the Lab at 4919 Math Sciences.
If you would like further information about the DCP Lab and or any DCP services or resources, please call the Disabilities and Computing Program at 310-206-7133. We also invite you to see our web page at:
We hope you stop by during our Technology Workshop, whether you're dropping by for some advice, to try out the technology, or just to get to know where we are and who we are. We look forward to meeting you.
Many of you have seen Sign Language interpreters in your classes. This is one way that Deaf students are able to attend class and get information from the lecture and classroom discussion.
Interpreters use American Sign Language (ASL) to translate everything that is spoken by the professor or other students. Interpreters not only translate English to ASL, but also from ASL to English when the Deaf student wants to participate in the classroom discussion.
An interesting note about ASL is that it is actually its own language, and is not simply a conversion of English to signs. ASL has a unique sentence structure different from English.
Captioning is another method for a Deaf student to understand a lecture. The student watches a laptop computer and a captionist "types" every word that is spoken. The text is immediately relayed to the computer screen for the student to read. Captionists use the same skills and equipment as courtoom stenographers do. With a specialized keyboard, a captionist can "type" 200 words per minute, faster than most people speak.
Though ASL classes are not offered at UCLA, they are offered free of charge at the North Hollywood Polytechnic Community Adult School. Beginning through advanced levels are offered on Tuesday evenings from 6:00-9:00. The classes run from September 5 through January 30, but enrollment is open and students my join at any time. For more information please call (818) 252-1095.
Internships (work-based) learning experiences are any work experiences, paid or unpaid, that provide students opportunities to practice skills learned at the university, clarify academic and career interests, determine which worksite accommodations work best, and develop contacts for future employment.
These internship experiences can give students with disabilities opportunities to practice disclosing their disabilities and requesting accommodations from potential employers while determining which accommodations work best for them. It is essential to your future success that you are able to clearly articulate your accommodation needs as you apply for jobs after graduation. The time to practice is now.
In addition, internships can help students with disabilities:
UCLA’s Career Center offers you the opportunity to gain work experience and network with potential employers. For more information, log on to our web site at:
Be sure to visit your Career Center and EXPO Internship and Study Abroad Services at their new location, Westwood & Strathmore.
Counseling and Support Services
College can be an extremely stressful time. Each year thousands of UCLA students make use of Student Psychological Services (SPS), which offers a broad range of general services for students as well as specialized counseling, groups, and programs for students with disabilities.
SPS has a large, diverse staff of psychologists, social workers, and psychiatrists. Their services include: short-term individual counseling, ongoing support groups, medication, workshops on special topics, mentoring and peer programs, and outreach and educational programs. SPS also has an on-call counselor available for students who may be in an emergency situation every day that the university is open.
A number of specialized services are available for students with disabilities. The Health Psychology and Disabilities Program is intended to benefit students with a broad range of physical conditions (such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, MS, accident injuries, movement, hearing, and visual disabilities).
Through the program, students are linked with other students with similar disabilities for the purpose of information exchange and mutual support. Because many students are especially concerned about what they will encounter after they leave UCLA, they may also be connected with "mentors" in the community who have been through similar physical experiences.
There also is an ongoing support group for students with psychological disabilities, which is jointly sponsored by OSD and SPS, as well as a treatment group for students with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Starting this October there will be an SPS counselor available at the OSD Office in A-255 Murphy from 4-5 on the first Thursday of each month to meet with you and to address any questions that you might have about SPS services.
In addition, groups are offered for students dealing with a variety of life problems, such as the grief of losing someone close to them, relationship breakups, eating disorders, weight management, sexual orientation issues, and chemical dependency.
There are also general psychotherapy groups for both undergraduate and graduate students. In addition, the Gay, Lesbian, Bi & Transgender Mentoring Program provides trained mentors to help students who are dealing with issues connected with the "coming out" process.
One of the most popular programs at SPS is the Stress Clinic, which offers short-term workshops (usually 3 or 4 sessions long) focusing on different coping skills and strategies for reducing stress and increasing performance effectiveness. Workshops that are offered include Building Social Confidence, Cognitive Approaches to Stress Management, Reducing Public Speaking Anxiety, Relaxation Training and Biofeedback and Introduction to Stress Management.
For information about the Health Psychology and Disabilities Program or the OCD support group, contact Chris Miller at SPS. For information about the Psychological Disabilities Support Group, contact Arline Halper at OSD or Chris Miller at SPS. For information about the Gay, Lesbian, Bi & Transgender Mentoring Program, contact Pat Alford-Keating at SPS. All other inquiries can be made to SPS (825-0768).
The mission of the Union of Students with Disabilities (USD) is to ensure full accessibility of educational opportunity for students with disabilities at UCLA. The USD also offers disabled peer support and plans programs and events aimed at raising the campus consciousness about disability-related issues. If interested in becoming involved, please contact the USD at (310) 206-0926.
Increased attention is being focused on finding ways to identify motorists who fraudulently obtain disabled parking placards, a problem parking enforcement officials believe is on the rise. A number of actions are underway to improve compliance with the University’s disabled parking rules. These actions include:
Put Your Name On The List!
Do you stay awake nights wondering how to keep up with the latest news in adaptive technology? Maybe not, but the Disabilities and Computing Program has the solution to help you stay up to date painlessly.
The DCP has launched the Disabilities and Computing News listserv to bring you an announcement-only list, with guaranteed weekly updates and occasional bulletins of breaking news. We will highlight DCP live presentations, the progress of our adaptive tech lab, and special projects. But beyond this, we will keep you informed of all the latest adaptive product releases and upgrades, as well as developments on the hot topics of accessible Web design, electronic books, the Section 508 Federal accessibility standards, distance education, and much more!
To subscribe to the list, send an E-mail to: email@example.com
SUBSCRIBE DCP-L firstname lastname (Replace "firstname lastname" with your name.)
You will receive a confirmation message to which you should simply respond with the message text "ok", without the quotes.
Don't miss out! subscribe TODAY!
The search for scholarships can be complicated and confusing, but the Scholarship Resource Center (SRC) is here to help guide you through the maze. The SRC maintains a scholarship database and library, and provides workshops and counseling. The SRC is located at 233 Covel Commons (206-2875).
The SRC is an extremely valuable resource to assist you in searching for scholarships including those based on a disability or any number of other criteria. You don’t have to have a 4.0 GPA to qualify for many scholarships. Now is the time to start looking for funding for next year.
The SRC also offers the U.S. National and British Merit Scholarships, workshops to provide UCLA students information about national scholarships such as the Rhodes, Churchill, and Truman Scholarship programs.
A great way to become familiar with the process is to sign up for one of the Free Scholarship Search Workshops. Check the SRC website for times and locations.
The CACD was established in 1982 as an advisory group by the Chancellor to create and maintain a more accessible campus environment. The CACD is comprised of student, faculty, staff, alumni, community, and ex-officio members. The Committee’s charge is to analyze and identify problems, propose solutions, and make recommendations on matters of particular concern to persons with disabilities.