My daughter, Kendra Muller, and I had a very difficult time working with the BYU Accessibility Center. We were surprised in the lack of willingness to work with us to give accommodations for her. We went to several other state universities and were given much more personal attention and willingness to work with us on different needs for her accessibility. This was ironic considering the fact that BYU’s mission centers around Christlike love and service. When we arrived to visit BYU and its Accessibility Center, we were told that we could not receive any information until Kendra started school, while every other university was happy to sit down with us and discuss Kendra’s well-being. Providing cordial and welcoming treatment would really go a long way.
One of the strained situations included the insensitivity of the students who staffed the office for the Accessibility Center. Also, we struggled in getting her books to be processed to be eBooks for her accessibility. We could have had more help from the Accessibility Center. Thirdly, figuring out her ceiling track system that allows her to get in and out of bed independently was an almost impossible task. After a heated debate with the Accessibility Center and the BYU On-Campus Housing Office, we were eventually able to get approved, but only by coming up with our own solution: a freestanding frame. This required us to pay an extra $2,500 on top of the $8,000 already spent on the device.
Kendra also had to pay $775 more for than other students simply because she needed her more space for to accommodate the turning radius of her wheelchair. There is not room in Heritage Halls accessible rooms for a manual wheelchair to be turned easily with two beds/desks in the room. Because of this, she had to have a room usually occupied by two. Also, the accessible room’s bathroom has a roll in shower that is actually very difficult use in a wheelchair. The showers should have a rubber bumper to prevent water from going out of the shower instead of a large tile line that is difficult to get over.
Another difficulty was the fact that Kendra was forced to move to another building after her freshman year. It was very difficult to have to move all her equipment to another building. Accessibility office should check with a student with high accessibility needs, before assigning a them new room. Moving a hospital bed, ceiling track system, and all her equipment should not be done unless the student requests. This caused extra stress on our daughter. These are just a few of the difficulties on campus that we have experienced. We hope that BYU will make experience easier for future students who find themselves with similar needs.