The Other Side of Disabilities

The Office for Students with Disabilities Newsletter
Division of Student Affairs

Vol VIII, Issue 4, September-October 2007, Editor: James Walborn



In order to cut costs, Palm Beach County Commissioners will discontinue the Division of Senior Services paratransit program as of October 1st.  The elderly who have a disability or low income can re-register for the door-to-door service under the other county transit programs, but the rest must either use the fixed route service or make alternative arrangements.  Other transit changes include an increase in all fixed route and paratransit fares, and elimination of all paratransit service to anyone who lives west of Route 441 living further than 3/4 of a mile from a fixed bus route.  For more information call (561) 841-4200 or go to County Commissioners have also discontinued the Medicaid non-emergency service, which provided Medicaid recipients rides to medical facilities.  MD Transportation will provide this service from now on, which can be contacted at (866) 207-7214.


Jamie Aranda is the new OSD Sign Language Interpreter.  “I took my first sign language class in high school.  I wanted to be a Marine Biologist and thought that it would be cool to know sign language in order to communicate under water.  Then I fell in love with the culture, the language, and the people,” she explains.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sign Language Interpreting from USF, and had been interpreting at an elementary school prior to accepting the position at the OSD. 
“This is more challenging work on a daily basis,” she acknowledges as a reason for coming to FAU.  “I’m very excited to be here and look forward to working with the students.”  As for her future, “I plan to get my Master’s Degree in Linguistics.”
Likes: Jamie really likes photography and creating scrapbooks for her pictures.  She enjoys spending her free time with her family and friends.
Any dislikes: “No, not really.  I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky person.”
Anything unusual in the refrigerator?  “The many jars of pickles - I really love pickles.  My grandmother and everybody always want to know if there is some special reason that I eat so many pickles, but I assure them that I just like them.  All kinds of pickles, with the exception of bread & butter pickles.”


Accommodations are support services which are determined based on an analysis of the current impact of the student’s disability on academic 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. 
Students might apply for services from the OSD at any point during the academic year.  They may be required to provide additional or updated documentation prior to being approved for accommodations, so this process may not specifically coordinate with the beginning of a semester.
The student will present the professor a “Letter of Notification” each semester 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 questions should not hesitate to contact the OSD on their campus.


The OSD would like to congratulate all of the students who graduated this past August and wish them all of the luck in their future.  We thought that you might find the stories of two of these recent graduates interesting.


Roland Mendonca earned his BA in Psychology from FAU this past August and hopes to earn his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling.  A native of Guyana, Roland was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy (MD) shortly after arriving in the U.S. in 2001.  Muscular dystrophy is the name for a group of inherited degenerative disorders in which strength and muscle bulk gradually decline. Nine types of muscular dystrophies are generally recognized.  “Being a full-time student and working part-time requires a lot of effort on one’s part,” Roland states, explaining that simple mundane tasks such as taking notes or completing the necessary research takes on monumental proportions.  “My faith in God is what keeps me going.”
Likes: He enjoys tutoring students with disabilities at Broward Community College and loves writing poetry, but, “working with young people in a church setting is where my heart is,” he asserts.  “Counseling young people is where I find my greatest satisfaction of fulfillment, helping them realize that they can achieve anything once they put their minds to it.” 
Dislikes: “I’ve realized over the years that some individuals have a tendency to prejudge someone in a wheelchair, assuming that they are not competent to do certain things.  For instance, someone who wants to know something regarding the wheelchair user tend to asks someone nearby instead of addressing the person in the wheelchair directly.  One of my desires is to let people know that, just because someone might be sitting in a wheelchair, does not mean that their mental capacity has been impaired to any degree.”  It is his desire to educate people as to what MD is all about.
Anything unusual in the refrigerator: “There’s no meat.  I’m a vegetarian,” he acknowledges.


This recent graduate who earned a BA in Marketing, does not wish it known that he has Learning Disabilities (LD).  Despite his LD his academic record is almost perfect (well over 3.9) while attending FAU classes on three campuses: Boca, Jupiter, and TCC.  Easily distracted, he utilizes assistive technology to help him maintain concentration.  He reads the textbook while listening to it on CD, which establishes an audible pace for him to follow along visually.  To complete written projects he uses DragonDictate, a voice recognition system in which the computer takes down his free flow of speech, allowing him to go back later and edit.  As a multi-talented Jazz musician, he plays in several bands including his own.  A highlight was when he went abroad to Japan and sat in with some of the best Jazz musicians in the world.  “I was barely able to keep up with them,” he freely admits.

Editor’s Note: All individuals have the right of confidentiality when it comes to disclosing information about a disability.  If, as a faculty or staff member, a student reveals information to you about his/her disability, that information should not be shared with anyone else without the student’s permission.  Thank you for cooperating in this manner.


Students have formed a club to encourage disability awareness.  The mission of the OSD Club is to transform the public perception of people with disabilities, to show that all students have an impact on campus and community issues, and to promote equality for all individuals.  This young club is actively seeking all members of the student body interested in disability-related issues.  Meetings are held the first and third Thursdays of the month, from 3:00 to 4:30 PM on the Boca Campus.  For more information, please contact club Co-advisor Jill Brondolo at, phone (561) 297-3880.


This issue of the newsletter is dedicated to Shari Borden, who passed away during the summer.  Although Shari was a C1-C2 level quadriplegic, dependent on a ventilator, she had volunteered to hold the OSD Club position of Historian.  This unique individual was looking forward to creating a club scrapbook of events. She will be missed by everyone who knew her. 


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