Students with disabilities get tools to succeed in college

Story by Allie Perkins

People with disabilities can have trouble living their lives on a day-to-day basis. This can be especially true when they’re a college student.

Luckily, Clackamas Community College can help people who have disabilities. CCC’s Disability Resource Center offers a variety of support for those who have disabilities, both visible and invisible alike.

Christina Bruck, a coordinator at the Disability Resource Center, explained the hardships of students who have a disorder. “Even a learning disability significantly impacts a student. I heard a beautiful example in the autism presentation the other day, that you ask somebody with a processing disorder a question and they go to the file cabinet to try and pull out those details. They are sitting at this wall of file cabinets and are trying to pull out details to put together. If you don’t patiently wait to ask that question again, and you ask it, they will close those file cabinets and will have to start all over,” Bruck said.

Students’ disorders can notably impact their schooling in multiple ways, especially if a teacher is unaware of a student’s disability.

“It’s a process to pull off different pieces to be able to put it all together,” Bruck explained. Students with disabilities can be affected significantly in their school because with each obstacle in their path, they have to learn in their own way to overcome it.

Midterms and finals are hard on any college student, but sometimes people with disabilities have it worse. “Having classes, depending on how many credits they’re taking, that means that they have multiple things that they have to process, especially if it comes to midterms and finals,” Bruck said. “Some students may try to study and cram and you know how hard it is to take all those different finals when you have three to five classes that you’re studying for. Somebody who might have a processing disorder then is categorizing and are trying to keep all that information in place with all these tests that are happening, and they are already struggling with getting that information and retaining it.”

Bruck went on to explain that students with processing disorders need extra time to organize their thoughts so they can prepare themselves for the educational hardships that school may bring.

The Associated Student Government and Multicultural Center are planning on broadening their resources for students with disabilities as well as creating a welcoming environment for the whole community.

The ASG and Multicultural Center plan on participating in events for people with disabilities in the future.

Felicia Arce, assistive technology specialist at the Disability Resource Center, explained how hard it is for students who have disabilities in school.

“Say that someone doesn’t show up to a meeting,” Arce said. “Maybe advisers are like, ‘Oh they just forgot.’ They didn’t value it. Where on the student’s side, they’re like, ‘No.’ They had a lot of anxiety or something came up, or you know, maybe they didn’t get transportation there. There’s a lot more. They are not trying to be rude, it was just something that was out of their control happened. I think that’s that mindset that we often forget.”