I've noticed that many (many) elevator and access buttons are behind trash cans. Find me the logic in that. This is in Heritage especially, a technically accessible building complex.
Sometimes access buttons are broken for long periods of time. (for instance, I haven’t been able to get in the front of the Tanner on my own for a couple of weeks).
I was grateful for portal. But I don’t know a good way to communicate that to someone like a VP of an University. With it getting more and more difficult for me to do things like open doors on my own, I’m always looking for shortcuts and ways to make things easier for me that I used to do for myself more easily.
The office of Accessibility is pretty inaccessible. I can’t email to set up an appointment (You have to call during certain hours) and the appointment has to be in person. Also, there is not answering machine.
When I became disabled, I felt I became worthless to both BYU and church. I have contributed so much to both. Feeling forgotten and cast aside has been the foundation of my faith crisis.
I was refused accommodations when I became wheelchair bound. Which, I know is absolutely illegal, but it’s hard to know which fights to choose.
There is virtually no training for faculty members about accommodations and accessibility. Many of my good experiences with professors involved me doing that training myself and them being willing to learn from what I was saying. Many of my worst experiences with professors involved me being accused of asking for special treatment and denied accommodations. At the time I didn’t know enough about my rights to identify this for the discrimination that it was, and even if I had the power dynamic in confronting a faculty member for that is impossible to grapple with.
I only had one professor that pushed back when I asked for help. But I wish that all of my professors would have recognized that my truancy and incomplete assignments were a red flag and reached out to me. But the University Accessibility Center did their job. I do wish they had followed up with me.
I asked them, “What can I do from here?” They said, there wasn’t anything I could do. As getting copies and doctors notes are a long process, I asked them if I could get them and bring them back later in the semester. They replied that it would probably be too late by then. They only let me to talk with a secretary while all this was happening, I never got referred to anyone else. As a freshman, I didn’t know what to do or how to advocate for myself, and so I just took their authority to be correct.
I wheeled back to Helaman Halls, building 9, and the elevator was out of order, I couldn’t call the elevator car to the 1st floor. This has happened two times just this semester, the second one being at the Brimhall, where the elevator was out for a day. Nine out of ten times, the elevators will work, but that one out of ten time is always a killer for me and the professors.
To be honest, I didn’t think I fit under the requirements to receive any accommodations. So i didn’t ask for any specific resources… I honestly thought the UAC was more for those who had a learning disability or just needed extra help from a peer because they can’t take notes or something. I really don’t know. But for some reason I didn’t feel like my case fit the criteria because I was still able to get all my work in on time on my own.
Accessibility allows us to be more inclusive because it helps people who have a disability feel like they can participate like everyone without being singled out.
The most difficult part about this journey is feeling accepted by others. I once heard a professor in my major say, "I don't even get why students need these accommodations. Back in my day we just sucked it up." That really made me feel small and I just kinda brushed it off. I have also had professors look at me like I'm lying or making up my sickness - whether that be emotional or physical.
I did notice that my map of the campus became very different and I became accustomed to remembering where the elevators were instead of stairs. Whenever an elevator would be broken I would have to go out of my way to find another one that would get me to my destination
I believe I was very lucky that I was extra motivated at the start of the semester so I got ahead of all my classes so when I needed to take 2+ weeks off to recover from surgery instead of having to withdraw from classes
Most people don’t know I have this hidden disability, and though I make it work, plenty of things slip through the cracks and can be really hard to recover from… I feel like I am unable to take care of my mental health needs without seriously harming my academic record, and as a student fully supporting myself financially, scholarships are pretty important. I wish there were better ways to communicate such things with teachers, that don’t take months to years of medical documentation and jumping through hoops.