The Other Side of Disabilities

The Office for Students with Disabilities Newsletter
Division of Student Affairs

Volume IV, Issue 5 September 2003 Editor: James Walborn



The OSD is proud to welcome John Clarke to the staff.  John is compiling all 10 of the OSD data bases into one, which will ensure accuracy of information and make it easier to save and retrieve data.  John, now semi-retired, has been programming computers for 35 years for companies such as RCA and Traveler’s Insurance Company.  A heart attack forced John to slow down and reduce the stress from his life.

Married for almost 25 years,  John has 3 children and 2 grandchildren.  His wife, Laura, is a long-time FAU employee who works in the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs.

Likes: "I enjoy traveling, but it consumes a lot of money to do so," he reflects.  Since his heart attack John has learned not to let things bother him:  "I can worry about the things that I can change, and don’t worry about anything else.  It doesn’t pay to get stressed out."

Anything unusual in the refrigerator? "Sauerkraut."


Former OSD Assistant Director Sue Mills has left FAU in order to take a similar position with Nova Southeastern University. The OSD personnel wishes her the best of luck in her future, and we want to thank her for her two years of dedicated work for our office.


Current and past issues of the OSD newsletter are now available on line at the OSD web site at


We want to thank everyone who participated in our recent newsletter survey. We are pleased to note that 87% find the content of the newsletter informative or very informative, and almost half of those responding shared their comments and suggestions with us. We hope to address all of the many issues which you brought to our attention in upcoming issues. Many of you have expressed interest in the accommodation process and how you can help students with disabilities. We hope that the following information assists you. Thanks for your help.


Accommodations are support services which are determined based on an analysis of the current impact of the student’s disability on academic or work performance. They are authorized by the OSD only after a thorough examination of the student’s documentation, for the purpose of allowing students with disabilities the same access to education as their non-disabled peers. Accommodations are only granted to students on an "as needed" basis.

The student will present the professor a "Letter of Notification" each term from the OSD attesting to a student’s specific accommodations. No professor is required to accommodate a student due to a disability without a "Letter of Notification" from the OSD. Please refer any student asking for such an accommodation to our office.

Accommodations for a student with a disability must not compromise course content or the requirements for satisfactory course completion. The faculty need not fundamentally alter the nature of their classroom materials. Faculty members with any questions regarding students’ accommodations should contact the OSD.


James "Jay" Knupp, 59, of Ft. Lauderdale, graduated FAU this past August with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. His 10 year quest for his degree was complicated by his congenital heart problem, diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, and a math learning disability. "You just have to be tenacious; you have to grind it out," he explains. Thirty years ago his girl friend took him to San Francisco State, "and I knew then that I wanted to go to college, but the time wasn’t right," he states. "The seeds were planted, though."

Jay credits OSD Associate Director, Amy Schwartz Parker with helping him through the administrative maze and counseling him on how to prepare for tests. "The OSD was really indispensable; I couldn’t have gotten through without the help," he states. "Also, I really appreciate the smaller size of the Davie campus." He plans to return to FAU to earn a degree in Political Science, and eventually would like to work in the field of disability law.

Likes: "I swim a lot, and I like to walk, and I’m really suppose to do a lot of working out because of my diabetes and extra weight," Jay notes.

Dislikes: "I dislike people who are ‘down’ on the disabled."

Any advice: "Every time that you fall you just got to get right back up, putting one foot in front of the other," he philosophizes.

Anything unusual in the fridge? Jay looks, then laughs, "Yes, I’ve got a potato that’s growing."


Naeem Seliya is a PhD candidate in Computer Engineering at FAU and works as a Graduate Assistant for his department. He is a Dr. Daniel B. and Aural B. Newell Doctoral Fellowship Recipient for 2003-2004 and last fall he was awarded the FAU Graduate Award for Academic Excellence. He has a speech impairment; he stutters.

Naeem has been in the U. S. For the last 8 years, while his family remains in India. Upon graduation he would like to obtain a position in academia here in the U. S., teaching and doing research.

What do you like to do in your spare time? "I don’t have spare time," he laughs.

Any dislikes? "I wish that I did not have this speech disability, it would have made life much easier." He’s concerned about speaking on the phone or ordering a meal in a restaurant as there is a lot of anxiety involved. "While growing up there was a lot of name calling, teasing, and discrimination. Sometimes the grownups were as cruel as the kids." But, now, he asserts that most people are supportive.

In many cases there is a genetic component for stuttering. Brain scans of stutterers show excessive amounts of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the left caudate nucleus, the area or the brain that translates speech into muscle movements. This area is not consciously controlled so therapies based on "trying harder" are temporary at best.

He is searching for funding toward the purchase of "SpeechEasy," a hearing aide-sized therapeutic device designed to reduce stuttering by employing altered auditory feedback in the form of auditory delays and frequency shifts of the user’s voice. Naeem notes, "It has a success rate of about 80% but it is very expensive."

What advice do you have for others? "just be patient and try not to complete the stutterer’s sentences," he states. "As of now there is no cure for stuttering."

Anything unusual in the fridge? "The only thing that I have in there now is diet drinks," Naeem acknowledges.

For more information about speech disorders contact the FAU Communications Disorders Clinic at (561) 297-2258. To join the support group contact Dr. Dale Williams at (561) 297-3238.


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.

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