Learning disabilities don’t define you

Preston Abeln, a senior at the University of Kansas, says he faces challenges everyday with his academics. He says that there is no way he can do well in school with his learning disability that he has faced for most of his life. The only way to succeed in college was to seek help from the Academic Achievement Access Center here on campus.
“College was very intimidating freshman year. I was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD my freshman year of high school. I tried learning on my own because I was embarrassed about what I had. Coming to college completely changed. There was no way I could get through the classes. I had to seek out for academic help,” Abeln said.
The Academic Achievement and Access Center is center for students to go and receive accommodations for whatever disability they may have. The website achievement.ku.edu, has a link where students can apply for accommodations and includes the services they provide. Deborah Meyer is the Associate Director of Disability Access Services. She talks to the students who have applied for accommodations and determines what services they need. Deborah says that about 1,000 students receive accommodations a semester.
“There are many students that have learning disabilities on this campus that we don’t know have them. Some students figure out their own learning strategies so they don’t have to seek out help. Others with motor or sensory disabilities do need to seek out to us. Some students with learning disabilities don’t face challenges because they have figured out what works for them in school. Now ones that can’t physically write or interpret what is written on the board, have challenges every single day. It truly all depends on what specific disability they have,” Meyer said.
An article in New York Daily News, said that the College disability services are improving and offering more services than ever. The teachers are used to working with people that have learning disabilities. On the downside, college isn’t for everyone they say. These students with learning disabilities can learn the material, just not in the way some schools teach it. More and more students are getting diagnosed with autism or ADHD and there needs to be more options for these kinds of students. These students get down on themselves, but are pushed to go to college and parents know that there is some sort of help at college campuses.
A learning disability shouldn’t stop anyone from getting a college diploma. People say it is challenging, but in the end it is worth it. Preston says without the AAAC, he wouldn’t have been where he is now. He says he was so worried and embarrassed to go talk to them for accommodations. Preston did have to bring his mom in and documentations of his disabilities do get approved.
“I didn’t want to go in to that office with my mother but it was something I needed to do. Having ADHD sucks and I feel left out sometimes when I have to go to a different room to take a test. I didn’t want to tell my professor that I had something wrong but at the same time felt like I needed to tell him. Having students stare at me and whispering really bothered me when I had to leave the room with the professor,” Abeln said.
At the Academic Achievement and Access Center, all of the information is confidential says Meyer. She says it is not their place to disclose information about that student to professors, or anyone else except the student and their parent. It is completely up to the student to tell their professors says Meyer. Deborah says she knows that students can be very uncomfortable discussing their disabilities and that it is okay. The AAAC just accommodates them for what that specific student needs. They aren’t there to announce to the whole world that they have a disability and that they are different.
According to an article from the Conversation written by James Gentry, says that learning disabilities should not define who you are. He talks about the challenges he went through having dyslexia and how it did not bring him down in school. He says that as he progressed in school, the harder it got but he finished strong and now is a professor. James says we are all different and each of us offers something special in this world and that no one is alone.
Going to the doctor or the psychologist, you have been specifically told that you have dyslexia or ADHD. That is not a bad thing and shouldn’t be brought down by that. Learning disabilities are defined as both strengths and weaknesses. No one should be ashamed of having a disability, because we can’t control it. Everyone is defined in some way and that’s what makes the person you are. If we were all the same, it would be weird and uniqueness is a good thing.

CARE Sister’s helping out University of Kansas

She woke up in a dark room confused. She stumbled to try to find her shoes. Something didn’t feel right, and had no clue what happened last night. Sexual assault is not a light subject to talk about. Young women who have been a victim of sexual assault are scared to speak out. Whether that is because they are worried people will judge, or they think they will get in trouble. The idea of CARE Sisters was originally from the Panhellenic president in 2015. Merrill Evans noticed a need for more education and support within the sorority community.
“We really want this to be a student run initiative,” Merrill Evans said.
CARE Sisters say they are really well informed friends who will believe, validate, advocate and connect their sisters to campus and community resources. They will also have a solid and strong foundation for the landscape of sexual violence both here at KU and in our community.
Merrill Evans is the CARE Sister coordinator. She organizes the trainings and does all the background logistics of the program and provides confidential supervising. She has to arrange all the guest speakers who come and talks at the trainings for the CARE Sisters. Merrill makes sure that the women who apply to be a sister are good women and have what it takes. She is also someone that women can come talk to if they are not comfortable talking to a CARE sister.
“My role specifically has been able to provide individual support and guidance to these young women when they’re supporting survivors and unfortunately on a number of occasions where they were the victim. I’m able to support, advocate and mentor them,” Evans said.
There are two to three girls from each Panhellenic sorority on campus that are CARE Sisters. They are trained to be an advocate for sexual assault victim and direct them to places they can go to get more professional help. The women who are CARE Sisters all have similar stories on why they became one.
Sarah Johnson became a CARE Sister because one of her sorority sisters was sexually assaulted. Seeing her sorority sister crying and scared to tell anyone opened Sarah’s eyes. Sarah had to just sit there and thought to herself that she wanted to become a CARE Sister so then she could be someone that women can talk to if they think they have been sexually assaulted. “I had seen and heard about women on college campuses going through cases of sexual assault and wanted to be able to help others be aware of those situations and help prevent them,” Johnson said.
CARE Sister Program is only for the University of Kansas, but they are growing the program out to other sources on campus.
“We have been working with the CARE Sisters program for about 2 years now. It has been such a great program, I believe has truly helped young women become less intimidated to talk about a time they thought they have been sexually assaulted. Sexual Assault happens more than we think it does and is so great that these young women created a program that can truly impact and create more of awareness,” Jen Brockman says.
Jen Brockman is the Director of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center here on campus. She has been in the field of victim advocacy and prevention since 2001.
“We’ve also been approached by athletics and housing to model a similar program within these units. We work very closely with the Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center here at KU, this department is responsible for all the prevention and education work here at KU in regards to gender based violence.” Evans said.
The whole basis for this program is for women to feel comfortable. Being a CARE Sister is filled with emotions. Sexual assault is a scary thing and knowledge needs to be spread. The program has helped so many young women and the goal is to help double the amount of people

Social Linguistics of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

North Carolina State University Sociolinguistics professor Walter Wolfram spoke to a group of people at the University of Kansas about the significance on the sociolinguistics of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Wednesday evening.
Wolfram and a group of students conducted an analysis over how Dr. Martin Luther King’s linguistics changed when talking to various audiences. King was known for his rhetorical prominences, he spoke in different tones depending on who he was talking to. He was raised in Atlanta, and was socialized and schooled with black people. King was ethnically defined as a southern, black man. Wolfram and his students analyzed four of his speeches and first identified when MLK used –ing and –in in his sentences.
“Using the –ing meant you were more “educated” and was a more formal way to end a sentence. The –in was a more informal way to end sentences and meant you were less educated.” Wolfram said.
In his I Had a Dream speech and Nobel Prize speech, he used –ing in most of the speeches. In both of these speeches he was talking to a mixture of race. It was interesting because when he talked to the group of white people during the Nobel Prize he was speaking in a more formal voice ending his words with –ing. Now when he did his last speech before he got assassinated, he was talking to an African American group and cutting off the –ing and using –in. He was also more passionate and the group was really engaged in his speech. It was like he was comfortable with the people who looked like him. Being raised in the south, changed his way of saying words compared to other people raised in the north for instance.
“He tended to use a tap or drill in most of his speeches he gave, but no one had ever documented his flaps of his “r’s”.” Wolfram said.
In one of his speeches, MLK says, “crying out for brothahood.” The ‘r’s” are absent in some sentences he says, but that depends on which crowd he was talking too. Most people cannot catch the silent r’s. People who have analyzed his speeches say that 80% of his speeches he adds the “r”. They say that it is a “preaching” style but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the only way a preacher can sound.
People all have accents whether they are from the south or the north. Coming to a University, there are people from all over the country and feel judged if they speak up in a class. It is a big issue that needs to bring brought upon on college campuses. How you speak adds a barrier in a social academic center. Going to the Diversity Center, they focus on sexuality issues, and racial issues, but they don’t have a language issue.
“I try to get a lot of my students to think about of the beliefs and attitude they have about language varieties and how the impact intersects with other forms of inequality.” Audience member Philip Duncan said.