The Other Side of Disabilities

The Office for Students with Disabilities Newsletter
Division of Student Affairs

Volume VI, Issue 5 November 2005 Editor: James Walborn



The Student Government on the Boca Campus sponsored “Disability Awareness Day” on October 20th. The philosophy of the day was “Attitudes are the Real Disability.” The OSD personnel handed out many informative brochures on different types of disabilities and signed up students interested in volunteering for the office. This successful event included two different obstacle courses designed by Student Activities in which students were either blindfolded or placed in wheelchairs and attempted to complete the courses. The participants agreed that these were very difficult ways to maneuver around the campus.


Boca Testing Facilitator Carrie Carter-Erwin, who has been with the OSD for four years, wants to assure professors that the OSD is not providing any special advantage to a student with a disability, but just trying to level the playing field for that student. “I’m here to do a service for the student and I think that testing accommodations are a very important service,” states Carrie.

Once a student with a disability has been approved for testing accommodations by an OSD counselor, it is up to the professor to determine if he/she will provide the testing accommodations or whether he/she authorizes the OSD to administer the exam accommodations. If the OSD is to administer the exam then the student is required to complete sections A and B of the OSD “Testing Accommodations Form” at least one week prior to the test date. A copy of this form is then given to the professor to verify the information and complete sections C and D.

Section C informs the OSD staff what items are authorized for use with the exam (calculator, scrap paper, open book, etc.). Included in Section C is the professor’s contact information, as well as the length of time the class is allowed for taking the exam. The professor should check off and sign the appropriate statement if the student has permission to take the exam at a time other than the rest of the class.

Section D indicates how the completed exam is to be returned. The professor may pick up the exam, or the OSD personnel can deliver it to the departmental office within 24 hours. On the Boca Campus the professor either drops off the exam or emails it to Please do not use inter-office mail as the test may not arrive in a timely manner.

The Boca OSD testing rooms are monitored by cameras and students are not allowed to leave the office once the exam has begun (bathrooms are on premises). Cheating is not tolerated.

Carrie may need to provide the exam in an alternative format, such as large print or disc, and so requests that professors provide her with the exam at least one day in advance. She welcomes any professor to come tour the OSD testing facilities.


On August 30, 2005, the OSD and SGA sponsored a “Welcome Back” for students with disabilities, volunteers, and those who might consider volunteering in the future. Keychains, bags of goodies, t-shirts, and 25 pizzas and sodas were provided to over 150 students and visitors to the OSD. This successful event encouraged many new volunteers to sign up as notetakers.


Sergio Catano, a Marketing/Management major on the Davie Campus, was elected “Homecoming King” this past October. Sergio is very active with Student Government, he’s Vice President for the Delta Epsilon Chi, and achieved second place in Finance Marketing in 2004 Epsilon Chi despite the fact that he has a Learning Disability due to a traumatic brain injury. Sergio acknowledges, “After being elected “Homecoming King” I feel like I belong to the school now, that this is my home place.”

Likes: “I like to read books, watch tv, and ride my mountain bike a lot,” Sergio states.
Any dislikes? “No, 99% of people are good to me and I really like helping people.”

Any advice for professors? “At first some professors may believe that I do not belong at the table, but just give me a chance in class,” Sergio explains.
Anything unusual in your refrigerator? Sergio laughs, “I drink a lot of orange juice. In my house you may find 10 gallons of OJ.”


Recently eleven OSD personnel participated in the FAU Ropes Course, which consists of four hours of activities designed to promote the development of group problem solving skills and encourage group cohesion. In one activity participants were blindfolded and directed by a few co-workers on the removal and disarmament of a “bomb.” This required precise coordinated movements by the entire “blind” group [Editor’s note: I believe that we “blew ourselves up” at least once]. In the final activity participants were encouraged to climb the rock wall. OSD Learning Specialist, Jill Brondolo, who is visually impaired, was the one employee to climb all the way to the top of the wall.


Wade Berstler (see article in the May, 2005 OSD newsletter) earned an opportunity to participate in The Millionaire tv show. He won $8,000. Congratulations Wade


My name is Carol Iaciofano. I am a student here at the University and I am just writing to share an issue with you. I was recently in the bathroom in the University Center and I had to use the handicap stall, not because I want to but because I have to. It can accommodate both myself and wheelchair. I need to use the railings as well to hold on to.
The other day when I went in to use the bathroom there was a lady who was applying her make up who was walking back and forth in the stall to the sink and stepping away to get the best view in the mirror. I said that someone in a wheelchair had to use the bathroom and she ignored me like no one had said anything. I had to run to a bathroom in another building. This is not an easy task. As a courtesy I am requesting that anyone who reads this article who doesn't need to use the handicap stall, which is larger in size to accommodate a wheelchair, please don't tie it up. When I go to the bathroom, I need to usually go at that split second. Thank you for your consideration! It’s just courteous not to use that stall because the next person who walks or wheels in the bathroom might need it as a necessity.


You may see Joshua Flapan, an FAU senior, completing an Accessibility checklist in your area in the near future. Joshua will be measuring the weight required to push doors, the width of hallways, and taking other accessibility-related measurements around the Boca campus in order to ensure that the FAU facilities are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors. “The most important part of my job is to document that people can have access to the University,” Joshua states.

This job is a new experience for Joshua, who has AD/HD. “I’m being taught business protocol, how to interact with faculty and students professionally, and learning how to use my tools to measure doorways, hallways, offices, water fountains, and accessible bathrooms,” Joshua explains. “If you see me working around the Boca Raton campus then I would appreciate your patience for letting me complete my accessibility assessment.”

If you see someone struggling with a door on the FAU Campus it may require too much weight to open. Interior doors should require only up to five pounds of pressure and exterior doors should require only up to eight pounds of pressure to push open. Not only can you help out by assisting the individual, but you can also help by contacting Physical Plant and reporting the problem to them as they can adjust the door closures to the proper closing weight. Doors that cannot be adjusted then must be able to be opened electronically. You can contact the Physical Plant on the Boca Campus by calling (561) 297-2240.

Other items Joshua will be noting include external access to buildings, an uninhibited path of travel which is at least 36" wide, and the height of door handles, accessible water fountains, and bathroom fixtures and their clearance.

To learn more about the ADA go to the web site at Click the link near the bottom of the page on Checklist for Readily Achievable Barrier Removal for more specific information about this interesting subject.


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