All Students Are Created Equal


Mary Asbury

The Office of Students with Disabilities bring holiday cheer all year round with all that they do.

Denise Diaz, Reporter

There is no ideal or cut-out way of learning that is suitable for every individual because it is impossible to have something general when the world is filled with differences. All students are created equal, and those differences that make them exactly who they are. April is World Autism Month and Valencia College proudly acknowledges every student’s capability of success. According to the Office of Student Disabilities, 1,400 students are registered and receiving help from their services. These services include but are not limited to classroom interpreters for the hearing impaired, extended testing times, and an all-around support group to help students feel empowered in their studies.

Everyone needs a little help on their journey to graduation. The Office of Student Disabilities strives to supply all the necessary resources for the students registered to their office. Mary Asbury, Coordinator for the Office of Student Disabilities (OSD) says, “We empower students to learn how to advocate for themselves, how to ask for what they need to do well in college.” Asbury started with OSD in July 2009 as an academic advisor and was later promoted to coordinator. She says, “The most common accommodation is extended time on exams, especially for students who may take longer to process information. We connect students to resources on campus or online that will promote their success. We also provide academic advising from the point on admission to graduation to transfer to the university.” These are a few ways OSD helps students with autism and other disabilities.

When discussing autism, Asbury references what autism experts say, “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” In other words, “Each person’s strengths and barriers are unique,” Asbury explains. For instructors who receive letters of accommodations for students, she encourages them to speak with the students and learn about their way of learning and what their barriers are. Then, it’s up to fellow students and staff to help these students to identify their strengths in learning. She encourages others to lead with compassion and “learn from the student what they need to be successful or help them discover their strengths.” It’s a community effort for every student to obtain success.

Adapting to the “new normal” during this pandemic has been taxing for everyone. The Office of Student Disabilities feel students are coping relatively well. A small number of students have been patiently waiting for remote classes to begin, while others are still trying and may be having a hard time. Either way, the determination for success is a strength they possess. There is much excitement for everyone to return to campus and OSD are excited too. When campuses reopen, Asbury and the office “are looking forward to serving our students face to face, or mask to mask.” Every student deserves equal opportunity.