Disability Resource Center at ASU helps everyone to excel

Students are offered all kinds of accommodations though the DRC.

At Arizona State University there is a special place that is determined to help students succeed; all they have to do is ask.

The Disability Resource Center is that place. They are accesible to those only by request, and they will do whatever it takes to help.

I sat down with Lance Harrop, Director of the Downtown Disability Resource Center, and he told me all about what they do, why they do it and how it all comes together.

He told me that the center is all about meeting each individual student and finding what will work for them, “…working with faculty and staff to provide information, advise and guidance so that ASU will be accessible for everyone.”

The center is funded by ASU, so it is free for use to every and any student at ASU, and Harrop said that each student is met with “….on a case by case, class by class basis.”

No matter what disability the student has, from autism to having trouble paying attention in class, the center will find what works for that particular student and ensure that they receive that help.

“We’ll look at the impact of the disability…and then we will provide support services accordingly,” said Harrop.

The staff also consists of  ASU students who work as scribes, notetakers, in-class aides and more.

“I really love it there, everyone that comes in is so nice,” said Alyssa Holland, a receptionist and healthy lifestyles coaching major at ASU.

Many people may think that education ends after high school, but the Disability Resource Center proves differently by aiding those at ASU who need some extra help.


Having a Sibling with a Disability

So I’ve talked about my brother Evan a lot on my blog and how much he has affected my life, but I wanted to take this opportunity to talk to some other people about their experiences with their siblings.

Gilbert Uriarte is a 19-year-old Linguistics student at Arizona State University, and his 29-year-old brother Johnny is clinically diagnosed as being MOMR (moderately mentally retarded), as well as being hearing and visually impaired.

Gilbert (left) and his older brother Johnny (right).

Gilbert explained that Johnny will sometimes break out in a tantrum if his routine is broken, and that, “If anything I feel like he’s the younger sibling and I look out for him.”

Looking out for Johnny is all Gilbert has ever known, but he said that, “it was harder for other people to understand that he was handicapped,” and that the stares and dirty looks are what really bothers him.

Johnny was born with his disability, so Gilbert has never known any different, but 19-year-old Gilberto Valdes’ experience with his brother has been much different.

Jorge Valdes, Gilberto’s older brother, is a 25-year-old who holds two bachelor’s degrees from New York University. When he returned from New York to his home in Texas, his family noticed that he was acting very different.

After some convincing from the family, Jorge visited the family doctor and then was referred to a psychiatrist who diagnosed him with schizophrenia and Aspergers.

“The brother that I grew up with and that I knew is not there anymore,” said Gilberto.

Gilberto said that talking to Jorge is like talking to and adjusting to a new person entirely, because “…his old personality is gone,” but he added that Jorge is still very intelligent.

According to Gilberto, doctors are still uncertain what really caused the change or what will happen with Jorge’s future.

Both Jorge and Johnny have had different pasts and will have different futures, but they both are fortunate enough to have brothers who love and care for them.

Ann Coulter Recklessly Uses “r-word” in Reference to Obama

Have you ever heard of Ann Coulter? Well, I hadn’t until today, and now I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you. She has written eight New York Times best selling novels, she is a legal correspondent for Human Events and among other things she writes a column for Universal Press Syndicate.

But amidst all of these things Ann Coulter also happens to be quite ignorant, at least in my opinion.

She is an avid Romney supporter and uses her twitter account to support him while she trash talks Obama.

In this tweet Coulter has decided to refer to Obama as “the retard.”

Then yet again she decides to use the word in reference to an entire room of people.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse…

John Franklin Stephens, a 30-year old Special Olympics athlete with Down Syndrome, wrote a letter to Coulter explaining why she shouldn’t be using the word “retard” in reference to anyone.

Coulter then said in an article in the Huffington Post that she was not referring to someone with an “actual mental handicap” and also “screw them” to critics of her tweet.

She even tweeted the story about how she did this:

This is a prime example of how this word gets misused, and the most disheartening part of the story is that as of November 5, 2012, Coulter has 286,263 followers on her Twitter account. All of these people are reading her tweets and then reading how she has no remorse for the people she is potentially hurting.

Although this is a sad story, let’s look at the bright side and at how John Franklin Stephens is an amazing and brave man who is not afraid to stand up for those who Coulter may have affected with her careless words.

Celebrities Taking a Stand for their Special Kids

When you’re a celebrity your kids can be named after fruits, you can hang them off of balconies, and you can buy them one outfit that cost enough money to pay for a year of my tuition.

But sometimes when you’re a celebrity you can use your status to take a stand for your child and for others.

After Actress Holly Robinson Peete and her husband Rodney Peete, a former NFL player found out that their son was diagnosed with autism they formed a foundation called HollyRod, in which they provide support to kids and their families.

Comedy actress Sally Phillips spoke about her son, Ollie, in an interview with the Daily Mail. Ollie was diagnosed with Down Syndrome and Phillips calls him “a blessing” and explains that she loves her son no differently.

Model and actress Brooklyn Decker told the New York Daily News that she and tennis-star husband Andy Roddick want to adopt a child with an intellectual disability. The article explains that the actresses’ aunt was a Special Olympics athlete and is her inspiration.

These people that I mentioned are just some of those with a celebrity status that have used it to support people with special needs.

But being a celebrity isn’t a requirement to show support or to speak out or even to adopt a special needs child. You just have to have a big heart and a little patience would never hurt.

So before we start judging those ridiculous celebs let’s tip our hats to these ones and let them be our inspirations.

Lost boy saved by four puppies


Kyle Camp, a 10-year-old boy with Down Syndrome, left his home in Hackleburg Alabama and walked into the woods. Kyle got lost and spent the night in the woods. When volunteers found him the next day he was huddled with four puppies who were keeping him warm.

This story combined a little boy with Down Syndrome and puppies- two things that tug on my heartstrings more than anything. You may cry, but this amazing story is worth it.

Living Life to the Max

Max Hughes is a 12-year-old boy who has been diagnosed as mildly mentally “restricted,” (it is actually retarded, but remember that’s not a word anymore!) autistic, he has cerebral palsy, seizures, and he has ADHD.

Max’s story is a unique one because he happens to have a twin brother, Nick. For five years pediatricians and specialists told Max’s parents that he would have a learning disability, but that he would soon catch up to everyone his age and everything would be fine. Then after Max turned five the diagnoses started rolling in.

Although to anyone else it may seem as though this would be an impossible task, Max could not have a better family. Emily, Max’s mother, had another son, Teddy, and he and Nick have helped Max to grow and learn.

Max may be labeled with all of these disabilities, but according to Emily, “Max doesn’t know the word ‘never,'” and his strength has made him go beyond what doctors said he would be able to do.

Please watch the video above to learn more about Max and his incredible life and family!

Walking for Special Needs

October is coming up soon which means Halloween, pumpkins, costumes, and more. But there are some other things coming up in October that may just top Halloween!

There are two walks that benefit different special needs organizations, and they are both on October 28 (I wish they weren’t the same day). Regardless of the need to choose between these two awesome organizations I hope you all do end up choosing to go to at least one, because these are great causes.

The first is Walk Now for Autism Speaks, held in Tempe, that will help to raise money toward research and better future for those with Autism.

The second is the Buddy Walk, held in Tucson, which promotes understanding and education about Down Syndrome.

We walk somewhere every single day, so why not take some time on Sunday, October 28 (Ask off of work NOW!) and walk for a reason. Nobody wants to walk alone, so grab some friends and make everyone come out to help some great causes.

P.S. You DO NOT need to know anyone with Autism or Down Syndrome or even know that much about either of them you just need an open mind and heart!

Special Olympics Golf Outing

All of these photos were taken during the Special Olympics Golf Skills class that happens every Tuesday in Chandler, Arizona at Bear Creek Golf Course. The participants range from teens to adults, but everyone has a great time learning to golf. They started out the day on a sand trap practicing chipping the ball over the trap. Next, the group went on to the driving range and they ended the day with a putting challenge.


Editor’s Note: To read more about this refer to my last blog post!

Tiger Woods ain’t got nothing on these kids

Tuesdays in late September are still in the high 90’s in Arizona, and Arizonians will still golf. But if you happened to be at Bear Creek Golf Course in Chandler, Arizona, on this specific Tuesday you would have seen a group of people on the course that were having more fun than everyone else.

The ages spread from teens to twenties, but they all helped each other and definitely were not afraid to speak their minds. They spent the late afternoon going from the sand trap to the driving range to the putting green.

These people meet everyday Tuesday for a few months for Special Olympics Golf Skills through the City of Chandler and Special Olympics. Many of the kids in involved in this have Autism, and some have Down Syndrome or another type of special need.

Any time you get a group of kids together some will lose focus and their attention span will become shorter and shorter, so naturally this happened at different times throughout the hour and a half. But there was something that sometimes doesn’t happen with kids, they all were there for each other to lend a hand or to give encouragement.

Evan (left) gets encouraging words from Maddie (right) when he gives up.

While the kids are having fun golfing they are learning as well. Their coordination is improving and they get to have time to be social with their friends.

Editor’s Note: Special Olympics has groups all over the United States and anyone can volunteer even if you have never worked with people with special needs before!