Braille map of campus outside of Student Disability Resource Center Photo by Isabella Morman I The All State.
Accessibility benefits all members of society not just people with disabilities.
The motto of the Student Disability Resource Center is “Moving Toward Independence,” which holds self-advocacy at its core.
No one better understands that motto than the director of the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC), Jamie McCray.
Part of McCray’s job is to provide the right accommodations for students depending on their disability.
“We take a look at documentation. Whatever their documentation says for their position and it doesn’t matter what the disability is, if it is a disability, a mental health disability, or learning disability, we all take that into consideration. So, we look at what that documentation says along with that conversation as how does that disability impact their learning,” said McCray.
Documentation is provided by a healthcare provider for its appropriateness and completion under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and as amended in 2008 (ADAAA), and the Office of Student Disability Resource Center documentation policy. Students must also fill out the accommodation application on the Student Disability Resource Center’s website.
Some accommodations include audio and print materials, additional time on a test, and even note taking. All accommodations take into account the student’s style of learning: visual, auditory, reading/writing preference, and kinesthetic.
This year, around 50 students are provided with a note taking accommodation weather that be an actual person or something else.
“If we can’t get a note taker for our students we purchase an app for them called Glean. So, it’s really intuitive for students to use and a lot of our students really prefer that rather than having a note taker.”, said McCray.
For future plans, accessibility and new innovations are looking bright as collaborations with the Foy Center and SDRC hope to incorporate a new sport known as goalball.
“Basically, it’s blind man soccer, so it is a ball with a beeper in it,” said McCray.
In addition to sports, a golf cart was also purchased to help students move around campus easier.
“We just recently bought this semester a $26,000 accessible golf cart to help students get across campus,” said McCray.
This golf cart aims to run around campus, picking up students that need it through a simple call.
Overall, McCray aims to move the campus forward, thinking of new and inclusive ways to incorporate universal design the best way he can.
The biggest hope McCray hopes for Austin Peay is to have accessibility everywhere and that every building, every new building, has an accessible route built into it.