Otterbein Disability Services, located on the second floor of the Courtright Memorial Library, offers many different types of services, accommodations, and equipment to ensure that all students can succeed.
Kera McClain Manley, Assistant Director of Disability Services and the Academic Support Center, said that accommodations are case by case and depend on students' needs.
"Accommodations we offer overall can be testing accommodations, they can be accessible course materials, they can be note-taking assistants, helping faculty determine if modifications to their policies are possible," McClain Manley said. "It's not a guarantee that students get something like that, but we explore that if it's appropriate given the student's situation."
When it comes to physical disabilities that prohibit mobility, hearing, or sight, Disability Services also has equipment for students to use and ways for students to still attend class.
McClain Manley said, "for a student who is blind, we have done testing accommodations, they could use assistive technology. We have students who use a Braille note, screen readers, JAWS [Job Access With Speech, a screen reader software], then they have a test assistant who helps navigate things, or could read instead of the screen reader if necessary."
She continued, "we meet with students, so a lot of students are interested in that, we'll do check-ins, we do academic coaching with students in general, we'll talk about how they're keeping up with their studies, time management, advocating with faculty. Those are probably the biggest accommodations that students take advantage of."
The capacity to help students with mobility issues may be limited, but Disability Services still helps students as much as they can.
"We try to work with the Registrar if we have a student who does have a mobility impairment, and we'll connect with the Registrar's Office and try to get their courses on a first floor in a building," McClain Manley said. "Even though there are elevators, we know that there is potential for those to go out, so we try to avoid having those situations arise for those students in particular who wouldn't be able to navigate that without the elevator."
Even students who have injuries such as a broken leg, arm, or concussion can come to Disability Services for accommodations.
"Students often don't realize that medical diagnoses like a surgery could also be something you register for," McClain Manley said. "That recovery, we can work with students and communicate with faculty about the potential of flexibility and accommodations during that time period."
"Things like cancer, diabetes, medical issues like that, students don't always process that as being a disability potential, and those can be diagnoses that students can register with us for. We have a lot of students who register with mental health diagnoses, and then we also still have a lot of students who register for ADHD, learning disabilities, dyslexia," She added.
McClain Manley also offered advice to students who are wary or nervous about coming to Disability Services. "It's definitely something students have to make the choice for themselves, but Otterbein is a very supportive community, and faculty and students tend to really embrace difference here, and support students seeking support services."
"I think that we are in a really good environment for taking that step and our office keeps everything confidential, so it is up to the student to decide when and how they want to use their accommodations. We will always recommend just if nothing else, getting registered with us to learn what is available to you, and then deciding if you want to use those accommodations each semester," she said.
There were just over 350 students registered with the office in the fall of 2022, with ADHD, learning disabilities, and mental health diagnoses being the most common registered with the office.