KOKOMO, Ind. – Don Price feared the thought of attending college. He was overwhelmed with wondering if he would be able to go to class, complete the courses, and accessing the things he needs.
To his surprise, he's been provided with everything necessary to being a successful student.
"Taking a math class and reading the textbooks proved to be struggles in the beginning," said Price, a sophomore who has physical disabilities. "Disability services at IU Kokomo have been so helpful in making sure I overcome barriers and continue to be successful."
Price shared his story to a crowded room during Disability Awareness Day on Wednesday, March 20. The campus' diversity office and disability services partnered with Bona Vista and the Howard County Veterans Service Office for this event.
There aren't many opportunities to have open forums discussing disabilities and hearing stories about them. It's beneficial for everyone to gain new insights and see things in a different light.
"It's important to bring awareness like this to a college campus," said Tashona Jones, diversity coordinator. "Students, faculty, and staff can truly benefit from learning how to be more sensitive and have a good understanding of the challenges others face."
Troy Bowers, community education coordinator of Bona Vista, has worked with disability awareness for years. He defines a disability as some part of your body that doesn't work the way it is designed to work, making you learn and practice different ways of doing things.
"People with disabilities can do everything and anything they want to," Bowers said. "They just have to have the self-motivation and the drive to find a new way."
Bowers illustrated this concept by juggling. He stated that everyone could juggle; it's those who have the drive and motivation to learn how to juggle who become successful at it.
Bowers presented general tips to being sensitive to people with disabilities. Tips include using person first language, speak of the person first, then the disability, be considerate, do not patronize, don't assume the person is sick, relax, and be yourself. Treat people with disabilities the same as you would treat anyone else.
If you have any questions about disability services, or are looking for additional information, contact Tracy Springer, manager of career and disability services, at (765) 455-9301 or firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, you can stop in their office Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., located in the Kelley Student Center, room 200.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.