Currently serving 182 students, the Learning Support Services for Students with Disabilities is a service provided by Pacific that coordinates educational accommodations for students with disabilities. The service is available to both undergraduate and graduate students at Pacific University who have a documented disability, the services provide help with academics, housing or food.

Those who are diagnosed with a learning disability in a certain subject, such as math and english, or have disorders such as Attention Deficit Disorder and Asperger Syndrome, are given a broad range of options for assistance. The most common disability assisted by these support services is ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.

“For academic accommodations, we give extended time on testing,” said Assistant Director of Learning Support Services Kim Garrett. “Also, they can have help identifying a note taker in class.”

Garrett went on to state other accommodations, such as audio books and providing text documents in an e-reader format that can read to them through speech software.

Although accommodations for individuals with mental disabilities are common, assistance is also available to those with physical disabilities, such as Crohn’s disease and handicaps such as those who are in wheelchairs. They may be provided housing accommodations if necessary.

According to Garrett, students that have transferred to Pacific University from other campuses recognize that the services provided by this program are more “hands-on” and “friendly.” Those who work to provide these services tend to take the time to identify a student’s problem and even coordinate with other on-campus services, such as the Tutoring and Learning Services. There are even benefits to the small size of the campus to accommodate those needs.

“If you are in a place where you have smaller class sizes, you are going to get the attention that you need and you’re going to probably be better able to get the accommodations that you need,” said Garrett.

To qualify for these programs, a student must have a disability recognized by ADA, or the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Documentation must be provided by an evaluator who has an advanced degree related to the student’s condition, such as Ph.D and M.D. Forms to sign up for support services can be found on the Pacific University website or in Scott Hall, room 204. Those who are considering signing up for services, or want more information, are encouraged to speak with Garrett or Director of Learning Support Services Edna Gehring.

“I think that individuals who have ADA-recognized disabilities should come and take advantage of the accommodations that [we] have,” said Garrett. “That way, the professors actually identify what their knowledge is, rather than all of the anxiety and the learning disabilities they may have. It helps them to portray their intellect much better.”

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