The Other Side of Disabilities

The Office for Students with Disabilities Newsletter
Division of Student Affairs

Volume X1, Issue 3 September-October 2010
Editor: David Leibowitz




This newsletter will look a bit different from its predecessors for a tragic reason- OSD newsletter creator and editor James Walborn is not around to write it. James passed away unexpectedly early this summer. He was an integral part of the Office for Students with Disabilities and his positive influence is sorely missed.
James actually pitched the OSD newsletter, “The Other Side of Disabilities” back in 2000 and has been writing and editing it ever since. This edition marks the first one since its inception that he did not personally write. Being legally blind, Jim saw the newsletter as being a resource to the campus community for delivering information and perspectives on living with disabilities. He also believed that it would be informative for the readership to spotlight various students who are utilizing accommodations to allow them access to all facets of the college experience.
James is survived by his wife Donna, other members of his extended family, and a vast community of friends and colleagues whose lives he touched. It has been five months since his passing and a day does not go by that some small event occurs that keeps him in our thoughts and hearts. This month’s newsletter is dedicated to Jim for his contributions to not only the Office for Students with Disabilities, but to the entire community living with disabilities.



Jim was a truly inspirational and fun-loving spirit in the office. Coordinator Michelle Shaw was one of Jim’s closest friends in the office. She remembers Jim as a jokester who never took life too seriously.........unless, of course, it pertained to the FAU football team, the Owls. “Jim never missed a game on the radio,” she recalls. “After FAU won the New Orleans bowl, Jim actually had the honor of introducing Coach Schnellenberger at a post-game celebration. Jim joked that he was ‘beamin’ from here to eternity.” That day, to Jim, was one of the many highlights during his time at FAU.
OSD Director Nicole Rokos will especially miss Jim as she was his counselor when he pursued his degree at FAU. She also made the decision to later hire Jim on staff. Nicole remembers when Jim first began attending FAU and did not use assistive technologies. “He would use the typewriter without any auditory feedback and I would have to constantly remind him to hit the carriage return,” she recalls. This story is especially comical as most of us who did not know Jim quite that far back only know him as the expert on the office’s assistivetechnologies.
Assistant Director Lynn Gil remembers Jim as being extremely independent. He actually had the FAU campus and his route to work mapped out in his head. “Jim would catch two buses and then walk every day; he liked his independence,” she remembers.
Jim was also extremely helpful in researching grants and was always keeping up to date on publications and manuals pertaining to technologies for students with disabilities.



Steven Joyner also passed away this past summer as a result of complications stemming from treatment of childhood cancer.  Steven was  a Graphics Design major and had a specific interest in computer-generated graphics.
Steven’s counselor, Barbara Bazinsky, was working on awarding Steven a posthumous AA, but, unfortunately, he was one credit short.
The staff of the OSD sends our deepest sympathy to the friends and family of Steven Joyner. He will be sorely missed by his OSD family.



The Americans with Disabilities Act turned 20 on July 26th. The bill was initially signed into law by George H.W. Bush back in 1990 with changes and amendments added later by his son, George W., in 2009. The civil rights law was intended as a means of ending discrimination, under any circumstances, against those living with disabilities. Many of these protections are similar to those afforded under the groundbreaking Civil Rights Act of 1964. Since its passage into law, the Americans with Disabilities Act has opened up opportunities to millions of Americans living with disabilities.



To commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Christopher and Dana Reeve foundation published its list of the Top 20 Most Livable Cities for Wheelchair Users. Topping the list were Seattle, Albuquerque, and Reno in that order. Both Orlando and Miami made the list at numbers 9 and 11, respectively. The list highlights communities that provide the best combination of health and livability-related factors, which might enable a disabled person to live a fuller, longer life. The health factors included clean air, Medicaid eligibility and spending, and access to physicians and rehabilitation centers. Livability factors include access to fitness facilities and recreation, access to para-transit and the percentage of people living with disabilities who are employed. The city’s age and climate were also taken into account.



FAU’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) will be holding a 5K Pumpkin Run on Saturday, October 16th at the Track and Field Complex. The 3.1 mile route will take runners in antd around the Boca campus ending right back where it started at the FAU track. The fee to enter for FAU students is $10. The top three males and females from various age groups will receive awards for the fastest times. Food for the event will be catered by Whole Foods and water will be provided by Crystal Springs. The 5K events are always lots of fun.
Register online at For race information, call 561-361-1950 or email Participants can also register in person October 8-15 at The Runner’s Edge at 3195 North Federal Highway in Boca Raton. Allpre-registered participants will receive a Pumpkin Run t-shirt. For more information about the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, please visit



Saturday Night Live’s consistent mocking of legally blind New York Governor David Paterson came to a head recently as the show used an appearance by the politician to make amends. For years, the late-night sketch comedy show had been portraying the governor as aloof and incapable. Paterson had responded by blasting the show for what he felt was a belittlement of people living with disabilities. However, SNL apologized directly to Paterson in their most recent episode. The governor appeared in the show’s “Weekend Update” segment and show host Amy Poehler and “Weekend Update” anchor Seth Myers both issued direct apologies on behalf of the show. Myers concluded the segment by saying “I think I speak for everyone here that we’ll be more respectful of the blind.”



Jim’s sudden and unfortunate passing has left the newsletter without its editor and creator. As such, I have been given the duty of trying to fill Jim’s rather large shoes. My name is David Leibowitz and I have worked in the OSD for about 8 months now. I am going to do my best to continue on Jim’s legacy and keep this newsletter informative and helpful to the best of my abilities.
One of Jim’s signature phrases when he would say goodbye was “Bye-dee Bye.” As such, I will be signing off every newsletter with that little reference. I hope you will bear with me as we transition into this new era for “The Other Side of Disabilities.”

Bye-dee Bye.


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: LA 240; phone 954.236.1222. 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