North Texas Daily

Free course trains appropriate interactions towards people with disabilities

Free course trains appropriate interactions towards people with disabilities

Free course trains appropriate interactions towards people with disabilities
February 27
03:23 2014

Steven James // Staff Writer

The Career Center is teaming up with the Office of Disability Accommodations to host “Diversity & Awareness: Assisting Individuals with Disabilities,” a course that will teach UNT students how to behave appropriately when dealing with people with disabilities.

Both the Career Center and the ODA believe that student employees need to be trained in how to act around individuals with disabilities to treat them properly – both in the workplace and the real world.

The course will last from 2 to 4 p.m. this Friday in Chestnut Hall 120B and is free. Pre-registration is required. Students who wish to attend can pre-register here.

ODA graduate assistant Devin Axtman said the course will start with students taking a pretest about individuals with disabilities that will include questions about statistics and facts about certain disabilities.

The first half of the course will focus on general disability awareness and the second half of the course will focus on disability accommodations in the workplace.

Some of the disability accommodations available on campus include adjustable desks, audible books that read to the students, testing accommodations and guide dogs.

Axtman said there are about 828 UNT students with disabilities.

“Most disabilities on campus are invisible, like mental illness,” he said. “There are some people who look at someone and wonder, ‘Oh, why does that person need accommodations?’ Never assume whether a person has a disability or not.”

Axtman said he hopes that students will learn as many things about individuals with disabilities as he did when he came to UNT as an undergraduate student.

“People with disabilities are 30 to 40 percent less likely to be employed,” Axtman said. “People won’t give them opportunities due to inconveniences.”

Student employment coordinator Beverly Wilks said the point of the course is to teach equity and awareness.

“We are doing this from a customer service standpoint,” she said. “We are hoping to teach students, especially student employees, more direct and more friendly ways to deal with students who have disabilities.”

Wilks also said that UNT is known for having some of the best disability awareness programs in the country.

“I took this course when it was taught to staff members,” she said. “This course teaches awareness, and that is something that everybody needs to be knowledgeable about.”

Kathryn Rogers, UNT Career Center graduate assistant and co-host of the course, is hard of hearing, but she said she is already situated with her disability.

“Some of the accommodations deal with the degree of the disability and how much effort you put into it,” Rogers said.

Rogers said there are about 4,000 student employees on campus.

“This is so they can handle situations better,” she said.

Axtman encourages students with disabilities not be hesitant to get help from the resources on campus.

“If you’d like to get help, feel free to access the ODA,” Axtman said. “We never share personal information. Everything is confidential.”

Feature photo: The Health and Wellness Center is located on Chestnut Street on UNT campus. Ntdaily file photo

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