The Other Side of Disabilities

The Office for Students with Disabilities Newsletter
Division of Student Affairs

Volume III, Issue 7 December 2002 Editor: James Walborn



On January 16, the OSD will host 2 seminars on low vision. The morning seminar will take place at 10 AM on the Jupiter campus in the auditorium. The afternoon seminar will take place at

2:30 PM on the Boca campus in the Live Oak Pavilion. All interested students, faculty, staff, and the public are urged to attend.

The main presenter is a legally blind certified low vision therapist. He will be talking extensively about macular degeneration, a condition in which the light-sensing cells of the central region of the retina malfunction and eventually die causing gradual decline and loss of central vision.

The Jordy magnification system will also be discussed at the seminars. This camera and lens system enables people with low vision to see objects at a distance or up close. Dr. Richard “Scott” Hearing, OD. is organizing the seminars. He has previously worked with the Rotary Club in order to provide FAU visually impaired students with the Jordy magnification system free of charge.


In March 2003, the Alabama state quarter will be released depicting Helen Keller reading a braille book, and her name will appear in braille. Born in 1880, she was an Alabama native who overcame blindness and deafness to become a writer and educator. Her life and struggles are portrayed in the play and movie “The Miracle Worker.”

The quarter, which will include the slogan "Spirit of Courage," is intended to draw attention to education. This will be the first circulated U. S. Coin to contain braille.


Ryan Gebauer is a FAU Political Science student who would like to go into corporate law, and become a local politician. He is currently on a city improvement committee in Coral Springs, whose current focus is to increase voter turnout. He also does public speaking, describing life after becoming paralyzed from a swimming accident.

 “We all grew up around the water. We would go to the ocean to wave run, knee boarding, skiing, and boating--anything with excessive speed,” Ryan confides. “We use to jump from rope swings into the lake near my house, and none of us ever got hurt–until my accident.”

 “I climbed up a 36 foot tree and jumped into the lake. The impact of me hitting the water shattered my spinal chord. My condition right now is similar to Christopher Reeves, but I’m not on a ventilator,” Ryan notes.

 “A couple of weeks ago I was asked to test out a drug that has already been approved for pregnant women with high cholesterol, but it’s never been tried on people with high paralysis. The higher the injury is on the spine the less mobility there is in the limbs. We’re not exercising so we have low heart rate and high cholesterol.”

Hobbies? “I like racing. Not that I’d race in a wheelchair,” Ryan laughs. “If I had a fast enough wheelchair and there were others interested, well, sure, I’d race. I also like car shows and football games. I’m not an insider. I’m only inside when I have to do school work. I do like to browse the internet, which I’m able to do with the voice recognition system in my computer.”

Dislikes? “Many people assume too much. If they would ask they would find out a lot more. If I go out to the mall there are those who are impressed and there are those who are scared, as if I’m going to touch them and make them disabled,” Ryan laments. “Those that ask are often surprised what they learn.”

Anything unusual in the refrigerator? “I’d like to find a winning lottery ticket in there,” Ryan concludes.


Ryan would like to start a power wheelchair soccer team. “I really was never committed to being on a sports team; soccer never really interested me. But, I was given the opportunity to go to Miami for a demonstration and I was horrified when they put this foot guard on my chair as I knew that I could not maneuver quickly,” Ryan confesses.

“But, right when I started pushing around the beachball size soccer ball, I thought that this was cool. I became real competitive about it, accidently hitting people because I couldn’t stop from sliding on the floor. It was fun,” Ryan states.

“It really gave me a workout, both mentally and physically. I would love to get a team started, but the big problem for players is transportation,” Ryan notes. For those with power wheelchairs who might be interested in forming a team please contact Ryan at (954) 755-9029.


A student might receive OSD services on a temporary basis if the student experiences a temporary medical condition, such as a broken arm or pregnancy. While a student with a broken arm may require the use of a notetaker, a pregnant student may require a large desk or chair as a temporary adjustment.

Temporary adjustments are provided only as long as the condition affects the student academically. Please refer any student who may need academic adjustments due to a temporary condition to the OSD for consultation.


There are “accessible parking” spaces throughout FAU which are for mobility or health impaired individuals possessing an official state handicap hang tag. A 30 day temporary FAU accessible parking tag can be obtained from Traffic and Parking, Boca campus, (561) 297-2771, for students with a temporary condition such as a broken leg, for on-campus use only. On the Davie campus please contact BCC Campus Security, (954) 201-6626. The student is expected to obtain an official state handicap hang tag if the condition exceeds 30 days.


Some professors may be surprised to discover an oversized desk and/or chair in the classroom. The OSD personnel place these items in a classroom because it had been determined that a student with a disability who is attending a class in that room requires this accommodation. While the student may not be in this particular class, he or she may be in the next or previous class. Please do not remove the desk or chair from the room, and please do not store equipment or other items on them. Thank you for understanding.


We want to thank everyone who participated in Disabilities Awareness Day, on Oct 30th. A good time and good information was shared by all.


We want to encourage comments and contributions from our readers. Please address any comments to Feel free to share this newsletter with friends and colleagues. Current and past issues are available at

This newsletter is available in alternate format upon request from the Office for Students with Disabilities. Boca: SU 133; phone 561.297.3880, TTY 561.297.0358. Davie: MD I, Room 104; phone 954.236.1222, TTY 954.236.1146. Jupiter: SR 117; phone 561.799.8585, TTY 561.799.8565. Treasure Coast: JU 312; phone 772.873.3441.

FAU Campuses: Boca Raton/Davie/Dania Beach/Fort Lauderdale/Jupiter/Treasure Coast Boca Raton Campus Danie Beach Campus Davie Campus Fort Lauderdale Campus Harbor Branch Campus Jupiter Campus Treasure Campus
 Last Modified 8/27/15