The Other Side of Disabilities

The Office for Students with Disabilities Newsletter
Division of Student Affairs

Volume X, Issue 3 Summer 2009 Editor: James Walborn


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As we enter our tenth year of publishing this newsletter, it occurred to us that many faculty and staff members might benefit from knowing the basic philosophy of the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD). The mission of the OSD at FAU is to support students with disabilities in their pursuit of equity and excellence in education. The OSD works with FAU faculty and staff to ensure that reasonable accommodations are provided to allow this population of students an equal opportunity to learn in the classroom and have access to all areas of FAU campuses. The OSD fosters student self-advocacy and the development of compensatory skills that support independent learning.

The OSD strives to be recognized as a premier college disability services provider, offering a multitude of services over and above the provision of academic accommodations. We are committed to providing inclusive and comprehensive individualized services and state of the art assistive technology, while adapting to the dynamic needs of the diverse student population of FAU.


Rochelle Popp, Assistant Director of Student Affairs for the Treasure Coast Campus, wears many hats, including assisting students with disabilities. She received her undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from FAU in 2005, and earned her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from UCF in 2008. She has been an adjunct instructor in the Business Department of IRSC since 2007. Her many hats include Wellness programs, Multicultural Affairs, Center for Civic Engagement and Services, and the OSD.

“I’ve always had disability training and learning involved in my life,” she acknowledges. Her brother has a learning disability and she used to help him study and complete his assignments. Her mother is a nurse whose career is working with patients with psychological disabilities. Rochelle’s aspirations include working her way up to the position of Senior Vice President of Student Affairs. She hopes to be starting the Ph.D. program at FAU this fall. Her favorite quote, “Knowledge is power and education is paramount.”

Rochelle enjoys spending time with her family and friends. “I love anything outdoors, and I really like exercising.” She also enjoys reading, shopping, and the beach. “It bothers me when people don’t respect diversity. I feel that it is important that we respect everyone’s differences whether it’s someone with a physical or learning disability, or in terms of sexual orientation. It just irritates me that people can be that ignorant to ignore diversity.”

Anything unusual in the refrigerator? “Not in the fridge, but in my cabinet I have two big jugs of protein powder. I have a protein shake every morning for breakfast with oatmeal.”


We would like to thank everyone who has completed the OSD Newsletter survey. Your comments will be helpful to us when creating future newsletters. One interesting suggestion wondered if faculty could be featured. We are delighted to offer the opportunity for any faculty or staff member to submit an article or be interviewed regarding her/his disability-related experiences. If interested in contributing please email

Over 85% of survey respondents found the Newsletter informative or very informative, with 63% offering suggestions. The staff to faculty ratio of responses continues to be 2:1. It may be worth noting that these survey results have shown consistency throughout this decade.


We would like to encourage all FAU faculty 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 on the Boca Campus, SU 133, 561.297.3880; on the Davie Campus, LA 240, 954.236.1222; on the Jupiter Campus, Diversity Student Services, SR 117, 561.799.8585; or on the Treasure Coast Campus, Assistant Director of Student Affairs, JU 312, 772.873.3441, and follow all OSD procedures." We appreciate your cooperation in this matter.


The OSD would like to congratulate all the students who will be graduating during the August Commencement exercises. Here is the interesting story of one student who is graduating.


Lee Ann A has earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Health Administration. She has Autoimmune diseases involving severe to life threatening allergies. Originally Lee Ann had visions of becoming a physician, but latex and rubber even in minute particles sends her into anaphylactic shock and closes off her throat, so her participation in the labs was not going to be possible. She chose Health Administration as her major, and hopes to pursue her Master’s Degree.

She is also allergic to fish, bananas, cleaning agents and perfumes (to name a few), which places her in the unenviable category of having one of the worst cases of allergies in the country. During a severe reaction she utilizes an epinephrine auto injector, which she has improved upon, and now FAU has the patent. “I saw that I could create a better, safer product. It is more portable and better for allergy users.

Allergies aren’t her only medical issue. Lee Ann is taking weekly chemotherapy treatments and, in the future, she will need to have a bone marrow transplant. Her cheerful advice to others is that people should take life one day at a time. Her motto is, “No matter what happens, it could always be worse.”

Anything unusual in the refrigerator: “If you open my freezer, next to the ice cream are my magazines. My mom and dad pull out all of the perfume inserts, and freezing stop the smells.


Some students who are registered with the OSD are approved for notetaking assistance. The professor may be presented a notetaker announcement to read aloud which requests a volunteer notetaker for a student with a disability. The OSD requests the professor read the announcement verbatim and without mentioning the student’s name. The student(s) volunteering should be sent to the OSD on the campus where the class is held in order to get more information. The volunteer should not be introduced to the student. More useful information can be found on the OSD website at and click on the Faculty Guide link.


On June 29, 2009 Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) re-introduced the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, comprehensive legislation designed to expand access for people who are blind or have other disabilities to telecommunications equipment and video programming. This would restore the requirements for production of video description to prime time television and extend them to digital TV and the internet, require non visual access to onscreen emergency warnings, and require visual menus to be accessible. A similar law passed in 2001 was later derailed by the collaboration of TV and movie media, which claimed that this created a financial hardship.


On April 11, 2009 a disabled parking sign was raised at the North Pole. David Shannon became the first quadriplegic to cross the polar icecap. He and his expedition co-leader, Chris Watkins, developed “Team Independence 09” to promote breaking barriers to accessibility and greater community inclusion. Chris, who has severe arthritis, and David, in his wheelchair, crossed the polar ice to the geographic north pole and mounted the symbolic parking sign.


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