The Office of Disability Services has implemented new changes to their services this year to accommodate more students with disabilities, especially when it comes to notetaking procedures.
The Office of Disability Services, better known as ODS, has some new renovations to their program according to the Director of Disability Services, Natalie Burick.
“I spent the entire summer revamping our website with new things including a faculty tab and notetaking process,” Burick said.
She said that when a student takes notes, they no longer have to walk to the ODS office at the University Union to scan the notes. Students can still take notes that way, but can also now upload typed notes online and submit them as a drop-off link instead, she mentioned.
“I started in March of 2018 and since then, we have come full circle with our notetaking feature and are going paperless,” Burick said.
Burick said that all processes and procedures such as the testing form can now be found online, using a website called Accommodate. She also said that the ODS plans to bring online testing by Fall of 2019.
The ODS now has about 500 students registered and actively using their services. Burick said that each day they get new cases and plan to have close to 550 students overall registered for the services this semester.
ATLAS, which is a program designed to help students with autism transition to college, is also a new initiative that currently has six participants, Burick said.
“Being that this is one of our newer initiatives, hopefully we can get some momentum and get that one going,” Burick said.
Burick said that students can get involved with ODS, even if they do not need the services. Students can become peer mentors for the ATLAS program, which would require two volunteer hours per week of mentoring. Another opportunity to earn volunteer hours would be to become a volunteer notetaker, she said. Burick explained that if someone in a class requests notetaking services, everyone in that class is emailed and can fill out a form to become a notetaker.
“It is a great way to get volunteer hours, because if you have 25 hours by the end of the semester, you will receive a $25 gift card to the SGA Bookstore,” Burick said.
The ODS is always looking for interns that want to work one on one with students with disabilities, Burick said. They currently have a new assistant director, three new graduate assistants and multiple student workers.
According to Burick, the ODS does not need much funding because they are academic based, but they do receive support from the university in everything that they do. She also said that they receive endless support from the student success division of SRU and Dr. David Wilmes, as the associate provost.
The ODS will be having an open house on Sept. 18 from 12:30-4 p.m. where students can stop by to check out some of the services they provide on campus. Burick said that anyone who is interested can stop by the office in room 105 of the University Union.
“It is nice to see that we have so many students finding out about our services and students wanting to help out,” Burick said.