Here to help
Imagine this: You are 19 and you have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Finding your meds, your socks, let alone your notebooks, your textbooks, your cell phone, and your wallet is a struggle of epic proportions each and every morning.
Getting to your classes on time with the readings completed and the right notebook is a crapshoot. You’ve been tutored, mentored, and coached incessantly since grade school on how to focus; how to organize your life.
Some strategies work, but the energy and the concentration required to get your act together and keep it together sucks the ever living life right out of you.
You feel jittery, agitated, frustrated, and distracted 99.9 per cent of the time. Your disjointed, random thoughts race faster than the Indy 500. You try to focus. “Focus, Focus,” you tell yourself a million times a day.
But then you hear the crunch of tires on pavement outside the window of your class, or you tune into the whispered conversations of the totally organized, got-it-all together girls to your left, or a pencil drops and the words of the professor start to drone, the PowerPoint slides become blurry and the point of the whole lecture goes out the window. You sit there wondering, “Why am I here?”
Your friends don’t get it; don’t understand why your life is such a mess. The slow-release meds help, but they deaden your senses.
You feel as flat as a cold pancake on Sunday morning. You are plagued by constant self-doubt and think, “Maybe I’m not smart enough to do a degree. Maybe I should just quit.”
The 2006 Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS) by Statistics Canada reported that 17.2 per cent of the New Brunswick population has a disability.
The actual number of students with disabilities on the UNB Fredericton campus is unknown. A reasonable guestimate would be that 10 per cent of the student population has disabilities – approximately 800 UNB students facing disability-related challenges and obstacles.
Without support and accommodations, these students are definitely at risk of dropping out. So, how do UNB’s persons with disabilities get the help and support they need?
The answer is the Student Accessibility Centre (SAC). It’s one of the services under the UNB Student Affairs and Services umbrella.
Students registered at SAC present with a wide range of visible, invisible, and mild to complex disability types.
The most common disabilities are attention and learning disorders, physical disabilities, sensory impairments, neurological disorders, mental health conditions, and chronic health disabilities. The centre also serves students who have temporary disabilities.
SAC is a lifeline for students with disabilities, providing them with a range of services to help them be successful throughout their university careers.
Services include: advising; arrangements for instructional, classroom, and examination accommodations; note-taking support; help with applications for special funding for students with permanent disabilities; mentoring; transition services; referrals to on-campus or community-based resources such as counselling, assistive technology or health services.
SAC also acts a resource on disability matters and consults and collaborates with instructors and staff to ensure that New Brunswick’s Duty to Accommodate human rights policy and UNB’s Reasonable Accommodation regulation are upheld.
The UNB Student Accessibility Centre, located in Room 212 of Marshall d’Avray Hall, is open to all students who have a documented disability. Students facing disability-related challenges are encouraged to register with the centre and can do so at any time. The SAC office is open year round and during regular business hours.
One of the students registered with the centre, sums up the value of SAC best, “I wouldn’t still be in university without the help and assistance. ”
For more information, visit our website.
Jody Gorham, Director
UNB Student Accessibility Centre