The Other Side of Disabilities

The Office for Students with Disabilities Newsletter
Division of Student Affairs

Volume IV, Issue 2 Mach 2003 Editor: James Walborn



FAU Social Work student Stephen Zhunio-Hoffman, 25, of Port St. Lucie, gains the opportunity to “see” the world. Steven was born with Retinitis pigmentosa (RP), the name given to a group of inherited eye diseases that affect the retina. RP causes the degeneration of photoreceptor cells in the retina. Photoreceptor cells capture and process light helping us to see. As these cells degenerate and die, patients experience progressive vision loss through the narrowing of the vision field.

Steven learned of a new technological advance called the Jordy 2.0 Digital Imaging system from the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) personnel. He was referred to Dr. Scott Hearing, low vision specialist at the Stuart Eye Institute. Through the Jupiter-Tequesta Sunrise Rotary Club Vision Endowment, he has received the $4,000 Jordy glasses that will allow him to effortlessly read and use his computer. In the classroom he now will be able to zoom in and read what is written on the blackboards and overheads, and be able to complete the in-class assignments without assistance.

“I was just so amazed by the device; it is really unbelievable,” notes Steven. The Jordy 2.0 Digital Imaging System works by using two CCD digital cameras that are controlled by a miniature computer that changes contrast magnification and brightness and replays the image on two postage size digital television sets, all built in a goggle-type device that weighs less than 6 oz.

Steven received this technology at the Stuart Eye Institute on March 19, 2003. A demonstration of how this technology works was also provided. For further information about the Jordy, contact the Low Vision Hotline at (888) 482-9943 or Dr. Hearing’s web site at


On Wednesday, April 9th the OSD on the Boca campus will honor their many student volunteers with a luncheon in the Live Oak Pavilion, from noon to 2:00 PM. The event will have a Fourth of July barbecue picnic theme with grilled chicken, hamburgers and veggiburgers, corn-on-the-cob, salads, and pie. The event is organized by a committee of students with disabilities and OSD staff members. Everyone who has volunteered for the OSD, or who might be interested in volunteering in the future, is invited to attend the festivities, which are funded by Student Government.


The OSD utilizes the efforts of hundreds of student volunteers each year to help provide services for students with disabilities. The vast majority of these student volunteers are notetakers, who take neat detailed notes and then copy them for classmates who cannot take their own notes due to their disability. Students can then have their volunteer hours permanently reflected on their college transcripts by registering their hours with the Campus Volunteer Center (CVC). For more information please phone the CVC at (561) 297-3607.

During the 2002-2003 academic year 291 students volunteered to assist students with disabilities.


On Tuesday, April 8th the OSD on the Davie campus invites everyone to celebrate Disability Awareness Day, from 4:00 pm. to 7:00 pm. Festivities will include free food, a rock climbing wall, and inspirational speaker Mark Wellman. A former member of the United States Disabled Ski Team, competing in two Paralympics, Mark is an avid mountain climber. Besides motivating others to climb the rock face, Mark will speak and provide a slide show in the auditorium. Despite being paralyzed from the waist down, Mark has climbed over 50 mountain peaks. He has authored his own autobiography, Climbing Back, and has also produced several films featuring physically disabled individuals enjoying outdoor sports using their individual means of adaptation. All students, faculty, staff, and the public are invited to attend these interesting festivities free of charge.


On March 12 In the FAU auditorium, composer and music theorist Allen Gimbel, host of WXEL’s “Music Now,” presented a lecture “(Art) Music in the Public Realm,” exploring the history of music from its original spiritual intentions to its present form.

Gimbel earned his bachelor's degree from Eastman School of Music, then earned his master’s and doctoral degrees at the Juilliard School, in composition. He won the Young Teacher of the Year Award in 1990. This was the same year that multiple sclerosis (MS), diagnosed two years earlier, had the first effects on his mobility. MS has gradually disabled Gimbel over 14 years, confining him to a wheelchair, which he moves through a device he manipulates with his chin.

“He was a very interesting lecturer,” notes OSD student Justin Blitzer, who attended the event. “One feature was a demonstration of John Cage’s 1952 piece, “4:33," which is actually just silence. The audience listened to the environment surrounding them for 4:33 minutes, then shared what they heard. Quite an unusual experience.”

Gimbel currently writes about contemporary music for American Record Guide, and hosts the show "Music Now" on WXEL-FM, a national public radio affiliate for southern Florida. He has published articles and reviews in “19th Century Music and Notes,” and lectures at universities. He will be teaching on the Jupiter campus in the fall.


No, not a new FAU athletic team, but the Ice Owls are a hockey team from Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, whose team members are all visually impaired. The team has been playing hockey for charity events for the last 30 years, amazing both their opponents and the audience, alike. While there are some rule changes in order to make the game fairer, the Ice Owls are often the major violators of the "minimal contact" rule. The 45 year old goalie is blind, and the puck he awaits is specially designed to rattle. It's a fast, noisy game as the players shout position changes and puck locations to their fellow team mates. These enthusiasts grew up loving hockey, but since they were not allowed to play on regular teams, they formed their own and compete for charity against other community teams.


The Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D) studio on the FAU campus will soon move to newly renovated facilities. The building, which used to house the former Police Department, will now contain RFB&D’s first fully digital recording studio in the country. The 4,980 square foot building includes a multi-purpose classroom, as well as a fully equipped digital recording studio, where volunteers will record textbooks on CDs for persons with visual, learning, and/or physical disabilities.

Named the Gladys L. Davis Pavilion, the facility was made possible by a $750,000 gift made to FAU by the Gladys L. Davis Trust. The gift was eligible for state matching funds. The new building is expected to be ready for occupancy by this summer.


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