Stevenson promotes disabilities awareness

Disability services offer a number of accommodations for students with certain disadvantages (Photo by Stevepb)

October is Disability Awareness Month, and to celebrate, the Office of Disability Services has a new online platform that will expedite the process of granting accommodations to students with disabilities.

Disability services offer a number of accommodations for students with certain disadvantages, including a newly adopted platform called Accessible Information Management (AIM). AIM will provide an easy-to-navigate interface for the Office of Disability Services to coordinate accommodations. (Screenshot from AIM website)

Accessible Information Management (AIM) is an online platform newly adopted by Stevenson University that allows students and staff to coordinate accommodations and access information from the Office of Disability Services.

“AIM manages student accommodations and information, streamlines services and increases efficiency,” said Mary “Kim” Forthuber, disability services specialist. She hopes the program will soon allow the Office of Disability Services to be paperless.

According to Dr. Christine Moran, assistant vice president of student success, AIM allows students to upload all documentation and information online. This gets rid of the tedious process of sharing paper forms among students, doctors, and the Office of Disability Services. The service also allows memos to be sent electronically to professors so faculty and staff are aware of students’ needs the moment they step into the classroom. Students can work with the Office of Disability Services from the comfort of the residence hall or living room to receive help and accommodations for the classroom and exams.

To get started, students should contact the Office of Disability Services. They will receive an online link to the student application on the AIM platform. After requesting their desired accommodations, students will meet with a member of the Office of Disability Services to discuss their approvals. Faculty will be sent notifications through AIM, which replaces the process of students needing to carry paperwork with them to all classes to show to their professors.

This service will assist students in all accommodations and needs they may have. However, the Office of Disability Services still wants the Stevenson community to remember that those who struggle with disabilities are no different than anyone else.

Brad Snyder, a U.S. Navy veteran and Paralympian swimmer, was the keynote speaker at the 2016 spring commencement. With complete vision loss, Snyder continues to encourage those with disabilities to find their own way to overcome obstacles. (Photo from SU Flickr)

“We are all looking for the same goal, as in graduating with a degree and with the intangibles that can lead us to a prosperous career,” said Dylan Harris, a graduate assistant in the Office of Disability Services. “You know they are no different than any other student.”

Apart from receiving accommodations, Harris recommends that students with disabilities remain open and communicate with others about anything that causes them to struggle.

“The best tools a student has are their peers and their faculty members,” said Harris. “You never want to burn any bridges, and you always want to have somebody on your side.”

Some of the most brilliant and creative people, including Stephen Hawking, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Stevie Wonder, and Helen Keller, grew up with disabilities, and yet they achieved far more than the average person ever thought possible. The Office of Disability Services hopes that the new AIM service can give students with disabilities any assistance they may need to achieve their dreams.

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