Justin “Link” Eddy, a Nore Dame de Namur Junior majoring in Graphic Design, was born with Spina Bifida, a severe disability that “restricts [him] from walking” like everybody else. As such, his mobility relies heavily on his “legs” and can prevent him from experiencing regular daily activities such as driving, cooking and cleaning that many people take for granted.
However, this restriction on his lifestyle does not prevent Justin from working hard, having fun with friends, and playing video games such as Super Smash Bros., a popular Nintendo fighting game.
Fortunately, the Academic Success Center, a program designed to help students with documented disabilities succeed at an equal or higher level than average students, has assisted Justin immensely in his academic studies, providing accommodations such as extended time on tests and even moving an entire class location from a higher floor to a lower floor for one of his classes.
Dr. Peggy Koshland-Crane, Director of the Academic Success Center, whose duties consist of “[operating] the Tutorial Center, running the first generation program, the early warning system, and working with all students with documented disabilities,” started at NDNU in 2003 with plenty of experience at “many of the school districts in the Bay Area,” with educational levels ranging from “preschool all the way up to adults,” along with “a tremendous amount of consulting work…” for these institutions. At NDNU, Dr. Peggy stated that she loves “working with the students, faculty and staff” and seeing their interactions.
To assist students with documented disabilities with their academic endeavors, Dr. Peggy provides general accommodations for her students, such as “extended time for test taking, note-takers, and recording of [lectures].” The DRC even created a unique accommodation specifically for a blind student “…whom [the DRC] provided a reader for…” and later for students with “low-vision.”
To improve accommodations and resources for the growing number of students with documented disabilities, Dr. Peggy stated, “At some point in time when we are able, I would like to…[create] a larger space for the whole Tutorial Center.” By doing so, she hopes this will allow the Tutorial Center “to offer more support in classes and more tutors for different courses.”
She also aims for any student with a documented disability to “know and understand what their disability is,…how it impacts their daily living whether in or out of a classroom,…and what they need to do to be responsible for their learning.”
Dr. Peggy had these final words for the Argonaut’s readers: “I…want all students to get to know each other,…to understand that a lot of people have a ‘hidden’ disability, one that you cannot see,…not to judge each other, and not be afraid to reach out to the Disability Resource Center…,” which is located in the Academic Success Center across from St. Mary’s Hall.