Ball State excels in offering services to students with disabilities

Topics: Administrative, College of Applied Sciences and Technology

January 22, 2010

Ball State was named one of 75 colleges that go above and beyond the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act by disabilityfriendlycolleges.com.

The Web site recognized Ball State for its accessible shuttle service, adaptive physical education program, disability friendly residence halls and housing, academic mentorship and wheelchair repair service.

"We don't do our work for recognition, but it is nice to be recognized for our efforts," said Larry Markle, director of disabled student development.

The distinction is well deserved after a series of firsts over the years for the Office of Disabled Student Development. Ball State was the first university to host a power soccer team, a soccer team for people in power wheelchairs, which competes nationally.

Ball State was also the first university to start a faculty mentorship program. The program pairs students with disabilities with faculty members in their majors or areas of interest and is designed to help them transition easily to college. To fund and expand this program, the Office of Disabled Student Development received a grant from the U. S. Department of Education.

"We have a strong reputation nationally for being a friendly campus for students with disabilities, and that's reflected best by the number of students with disabilities here," he said.

More than 600 students use the services offered by the Office of Disabled Student Development, and more than 40 are wheelchair users. Other Indiana universities, such as Purdue University and Indiana University, have less than 10 wheelchair users. No school individually in the Mid-American Conference — to which Ball State belongs — has half the number of wheelchair users.

"We are not afraid of having students with disabilities at Ball State," Markle said. "We see them as an important aspect of diversity on campus. It's a campuswide approach, everyone plays a part."

Ball State's Office of Disabled Student Development also works with the School of Physical Education, Sport, and Exercise Science offer a recreation night. Students, with and without disabilities, can play wheelchair basketball and other sports.

For more information, contact the Office of Disabled Student Development at 765-285-5293 or dsd@bsu.edu.

By Chanel Richards

University Marketing and Communications
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Ball State University
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