Student Disability Services gives UTSA students tools to succeed

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Ernest Landy ’12, who graduated from UTSA with a B.B.A. in human resource management, with his friend, Sammy

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By Ryan Schoensee
Special Projects Writer, Office of University Communications

(Nov. 21, 2012) -- UTSA Student Disability Services (SDS) provides assistance to nearly 800 students who have disabilities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

In addition to supporting students with disabilities who navigate UTSA's campuses, SDS provides its registered students with a variety of accommodations depending on the needs of the student. These services include, but are not limited to, disability counseling, assistive technology, alternative media, reasonable accommodations and the sharing of disability related information.

Marti Hathorn is a former UTSA student with a visual disability who earned an information systems degree from UTSA. While a student, Hathorn requested a notetaker from Student Disability Services for one of her programming courses. Later in the course, she acquired a computer and began taking her own notes. Before long, she had students in the class approaching her for help with their notes. The alumna now is employed as an assistive technology supervisor at the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind, where she helps students learn about technology to enhance their learning and overcome barriers in their environment.

SDS partners with several organizations across campus to assist UTSA students with registered disabilities. These beneficial partnerships range from the University Career Center, which helps locate internships for students with disabilities, to Counseling Services, which helps all UTSA students including students with disabilities who need to communicate and advocate their disability needs within their classrooms and workplaces. SDS also partners with the Tomás Rivera Center for Student Success to provide students with disabilities with the academic support and tutoring they need to be successful.

"Playing a role in helping students with disabilities is exciting because I get to see students succeed and accomplish goals," said Bridget Dupree, SDS disability specialist. "Once we had an information table set up and a student with a visual impairment stopped by our table and was able to distinguish and recognize one of the employees at Student Disability Services just by the sound of her voice, and it made me aware of many ways students with disabilities are able to draw upon their strengths."

"A huge focus for us is campus awareness and being accessible to our students," said Dianne Hengst, SDS director. "We want to create a comfortable environment, and we aim to be a strong resource for UTSA students on both campuses."

SDS is on the Main Campus in Multidisciplinary Studies Building Room 3.01.16 and on the Downtown Campus in Buena Vista Street Building Room 1.302.

To learn more about SDS services or to register a disability, visit the UTSA Student Disability Services website.