The Other Side of Disabilities

The Office for Students with Disabilities Newsletter
Division of Student Affairs

Volume VI, Issue 3 Summer 2005 Editor: James Walborn



OSD Director Nicole Rokos and Assistant Director Lynn Gil recently presented the Johnson Scholarship Foundation with a appreciation poster consisting of photographs of current and former FAU students who have received the Johnson Scholarship. The collage, spelling out “FAU” in photos, will hang in their reception area in West Palm Beach. The Johnson Scholarship Foundation, the largest donor of scholarship monies for FAU students with disabilities, gave 27 FAU disabled students $72,475 during the 2004-05 academic year.

Prior to his death in 1992, Theodore R. Johnson, a former UPS executive, established a charitable trust fund to provide scholarships to students with disabilities who are attending any one of Florida’s 11 public universities. He had a hearing impairment and understood the difficulties a person with a disability has to overcome. Mr. Johnson wanted to use his money to make sure students with disabilities have the chance to be the best they can be. To date, 144 FAU students have benefited from the foresight and philanthropy of Theodore R. Johnson and the Johnson Scholarship Foundation.


We would like to take this opportunity to thank three other organizations whose annual contributions help enhance the lives of FAU students with disabilities: the City of Boca Raton, the Golden Key International Honour Society, and the FAU SGA.


Recently Boca Raton Mayor, Steven Abrams, graciously presented the OSD with a check for a scholarship on behalf of the Boca Raton Advisory Board for the Physically and Mentally Challenged. The board members personally contribute to provide this annual scholarship which is awarded to a local FAU student who has a disability. Last year’s recipient, Daniel Suarez, expresses his appreciation to the Advisory Board for their faith in his abilities. He graduated this past spring and is seeking a teaching position at a local school.


We would like to thank the Golden Key International Honour Society members, and officers Tysheika Shaw, Melissa Ingui, Latoya Cherry, Carmen Alvarado, Karen Berger, and Jaclyn Tufford, along with co-advisors Mikki Minney and Mireille Milfort, for presenting the OSD with a generous donation of $100. The Society raises money through various fund raising activities. This is the fifth year the society has graciously bestowed this distinction on the OSD. Thank you for your continued support.


We thank the SGA for purchasing “My Reader,” a portable magnifying CCTV which can be carried to class by a visually impaired student.


All FAU faculty are strongly encouraged to include a statement regarding students with disabilities on their syllabi. For example: "In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) students who require special accommodations due to a disability to properly execute coursework must register with the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) located in Boca, SU 133, (561) 297-3880, in Davie, MD I (954) 236-1222, or in Jupiter, Office of Diversity Services, SR 117, (561) 799-8585, and follow all OSD procedures." We appreciate your co-operation in this matter.


Lynn Gil is the new OSD Assistant Director. She received her Master’s Degree from Simmons College in Boston, MA and has previously been employed as a special education teacher at the elementary and secondary school levels. “I am very excited about this job. I always wanted to work at the college level to help my students achieve their post-secondary educational and career goals.”

Likes: “The most important thing for me is my family. Also, I enjoy reading, mostly touching, moving stories. I’m not a fan of mysteries. I like going to the beach and also lounging by the pool. Of course I like to shop and I enjoy traveling.” Lynn was able to spend some time in Europe while in college.
Dislikes: “I dislike violent or scary movies. I enjoy movies that make me laugh or have drama. Also, I’m a picky eater - I don’t eat red meat. ”
Anything unusual in the fridge? “Soy yogurt. It’s basically empty except for a lot of frozen dinners in the freezer.”


Dorian Kallen, 19, is an FAU freshman who has muscular dystrophy (MD). He utilizes a wheelchair and has use of his left hand, only. His service dog, Sullivan, a Golden Retriever, assists him by picking things up and turning on lights.

Eventually Dorian hopes to earn his Ph.D. in Psychology in order to help others. “I hope to motivate other people, not just those in my condition. Many people don’t see life in a positive light. If they see that I can do it then they can see how they themselves can do it.”

Dorian has notetakers and a raised table in his classrooms (to accommodate his wheelchair) and he receives testing accommodations. He feels that the atmosphere at FAU is great. “I like getting an opportunity to learn all these new things, it makes my mind think differently. It’s much better than high school.”
Likes: He enjoys reading and using the computer, and has a passion for writing. “I’m pretty much happy all of the time and am always in a good mood.”
Dislikes: He’s disappointed about not living on campus as he is unable to afford the 24-hour attendant care he requires. The funding for this high expense is not currently available. “I don’t feel part of the school life. Where I’m at now is not ideal for someone my age,” he admits. He’s currently staying at a nursing home run by his grandparents, in Hollywood. He spends a lot of time traveling to attend campus, so he misses out on most student social, cultural, and sporting activities.

Anything unusual in the fridge? “My fridge is rather broken now. But, a couple of months ago I put some food in there and forgot all about it, and it really stunk up the place after awhile.”


Traveling in a wheelchair is rarely smooth going. Sidewalks and roadways are sloped for drainage, also curbs, sidewalk cracks, pavers, tree roots, grassy areas, and gravel are now problems to avoid. The user has to always be aware of the center of gravity, which shifts depending upon whether going up or down hill, or if carrying a backpack. Rainy weather will affect the handling of a chair and deep puddles are to be avoided.

Since opening doors has also been problematic, each building at FAU has at least one entry door that has been fitted with an automatic opener. There are also many accessible bathrooms and computer labs around campus. Several FAU agencies collaborated to ensure that mobility impaired students have access to the new Labyrinth garden within the College of Nursing.

Students who have temporary physical impairments can borrow SGA-sponsored wheelchairs from the OSD by providing documentation of the impairment and completing an “Equipment Request and Agreement Form.”


We thank all of you who have taken time to complete our newsletter survey. We are pleased to note that 75% find the content of the newsletter informative or very informative, and almost two-thirds of those responding shared their comments and suggestions with us. Many are interested in the accommodation process and how they can help students with disabilities, which we will continue to share with you.


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