“I need help.”
These three words can often be very difficult to say as they can imply weakness, or a lack of ability or knowledge. For many people, myself included, our pride may prevent us from seeking help, or may create feelings of shame or embarrassment when we do seek help.
I have a physical disability, and these three words are still difficult for me to say. While I am able to do many tasks by myself, attending post-secondary education posed many obstacles that I had up until that point never encountered. I wondered how I would be able to keep up with taking notes in classes and how I would handle navigating the crowds of students (I had gone to small schools before this, and I thought Redeemer was large).
Thankfully, I was able to meet with Redeemer’s Learning Services Director, Nancy Hartholt, and discussed with her my concerns. She was very welcoming and acknowledged my limitations and set up a plan to help me succeed. After submitting the documentation which proved I had a disability, she was able to grant me access to note takers and offered me the choice to take my tests on the computer and type my answers rather than write everything down. She asked how I felt about navigating campus and offered to help with any other mobility concerns I had. I left that meeting feeling relieved. I was still nervous about what university would be like, but I knew that, academically, I would be able to get off to a strong start.
If I could offer any advice to incoming students, I would start by saying that you should not let the fact that you have a disability prevent you from going to university. If you feel called to further your education, become aware of the assistance available to you.
At Redeemer, do not hesitate to set up a meeting with Nancy to discuss any disability related concerns you may have. She works incredibly hard to ensure that students who have a disability are not at a disadvantage in the classroom (as much as it is possible). For more information on what help Redeemer can offer students with a disability, feel free to ask your Admissions Counselor, or visit Redeemer’s Disability Services webpage.
Although it was initially intimidating to ask for help, I am very glad that I did so as it has allowed me to perform to the best of my ability in academics. Being involved with Disability Services removed my worries about how my disability would impact me while at Redeemer and enabled me to enjoy my time here.