Student Accessibility Services: Advocating for Those in Need

Student Accessibility Services: Advocating for Those in Need

The mission of Student Accessibility Services (SAS) is to create an accessible, inclusive, sustainable learning environment, where disability is recognized as an aspect of diversity that is vital to the campus community and to society. 

JoBeth Erling, Wellness & Disabilities Coordinator, leads WNMU’s accessibility services, connecting students with learning physical disabilities to academic resources. Erling focuses on advocating for students with any possible disability they can encounter in their college career. Mustang Staff asked Erling to share about her philosophy and the resources from which students can benefit. 

Q: How can students benefit from your services?

A: There are multiple ways for students to benefit from the services. Coming from a holistic view you can academically receive accommodations you can also receive accommodations within housing. Testing in the department is a great accommodation that students can receive.

Students can receive aid with alternate an alternate text/material such as PDF or Word files sound recordings, DAISY files, large print, braille, and learning ally. 

Service Animals or Assistance Animals are offered for students to have in their dormitories.  

Who can benefit from your services?

A: There are qualifications for services. Certain documentation that I would have to receive in order to receive services. Also, we can do a provisional semester where there is no diagnosis needed, pending a diagnosis, so that you are planning on getting an assessment. You would have to receive a diagnosis before the next semester if you want to have service or else, we would not be able to serve you.

Disabilities that are supported by Accessibility Services are:

  • Learning Disabilities
  • Attention Deficit Disorders
  • Psychological Disabilities
  • Medical and Physical Disabilities
  • Other Disabling Conditions
  • Temporary Medical Conditions

What is your favorite part about working in this area?

A:  Watching students meet their goal. Every student here at Western has the same goal which is to receive an education. To watch students who may not have the ability to have that opportunity to go into higher education, we give them that ability to achieve their dreams. We offer those services to level the field so that I can watch them graduate. 

Erling shared additional resources for students that can be found online. They include: 

National Association of the Deaf http://www.nad.org/
Post-secondary Education Programs Network http://www.pepnet.org/
DeafWeb Washington http://www.deafweb.org/
Deaf Websites Directory http://www.deafwebsites.com/
Hearing Loss Association of America http://shhh.org/
National Federation of the Blind http://www.nfb.org/
American Foundation for the Blind http://www.afb.org/default.aspx
National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped http://www.loc.gov/nls/
American Council of the Blind http://www.acb.org/
Lighthouse International http://www.lighthouse.org/
Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder http://www.chadd.org/
Attention Deficit Disorder Association http://www.add.org/
The International Dyslexia Association http://www.interdys.org/
Learning Disabilities Association of America http://www.ldanatl.org/
National Center for Learning Disabilities http://www.ncld.org/
LD Resources http://www.ldresources.com/
Brain Injury Association of America http://www.biausa.org/

For more information on Accessibility Services, visit their website or contact JoBeth Erling at 575.538.6014 or erlingj@wnmu.edu.