More Than Just Hills Challenge Disabled Students
Published: Monday, April 30, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
“Nobody wants to be ‘that kid’ who needs special handling and a special arrangement,” Durrett said.
Clifton said that adjusting during her freshman year was especially challenging.
“I can’t read the signs above the [dining halls’] counters, so sometimes I felt like a burden asking people what was up there,” Clifton said. “I couldn’t figure it out on my own the first couple of days, and it was easier to just get what I could see. It’s become more of a habit to just order what I know.”
Sometimes, she uses a small monocular to read menus and see across rooms. The monocular can be adjusted and focused according to the distance of the object Clifton is trying to see.
“It’s hard to do that when, for instance, Eagle’s Nest is completely full and you’re standing in line trying to read something, and people are like, ‘Why aren’t you moving?’” Clifton said.
Asking the staff for help in identifying dinner options has not always been easy either. “If someone asks you shouldn’t just defer and say, ‘It’s up there,’ because not everyone can do that.”
Clifton maintains that any student, regardless of his or her abilities, can still get involved at BC, however.
“There are probably a lot of things you can’t do given your circumstances, but if you really want something you can do it,” she said. Clifton, who said that she had always been very involved in high school, is currently the co-director for special events for Nights on the Heights.
“I can’t get in a car and drive it down the street, but that doesn’t mean I can’t go on a road trip with my friends or hang out on the weekends,” she said. “That has no effect—that just means don’t let Lily drive!”
Durrett is hopeful that BC will become even more accessible to students with disabilities in the future.
“I think that we’re at a place now where the University realizes that this is the wave of the future, just like technology,” she said. “As the awareness rises, we’ll do a better and better job. I think it’ll be less of a question of ‘What should we do?’ than ‘Ok, so how do we do this?’ That shift we are clearly making.”
Andrew Millette, Assoc. News Editor, contributed to this report.