FAU commits to helping students with mental and physical disabilities through the pandemic

Student Government and Student Accessibility Services are helping students with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Student Accessibility Services offers accomodations for five categories of impairments: learning, hearing, physical, visual, and/or other. Illustration by Joey Sena

Colby Guy, Editor-In-Chief

With many classes online, COVID-19 is forcing FAU students with mental and physical disabilities to make adjustments. Student Accessibility Services and Student Government are helping those students make those adjustments.

“I think online learning has been a difficult transition for most students, and it has been especially difficult for some students with disabilities,” Associate Director of FAU’s Student Accessibility Services Ashley Ciccolini Erickson said. ”With that being said, the accommodations aspect of going virtually has been a smooth transition.”

According to Erickson, SAS transitioned to an online portal before the pandemic, allowing students to access their accommodations virtually.

“This means the process for requesting and receiving accommodations didn’t really change over the last year,” Erickson said. “This allowed students a sense of normalcy, at least in one aspect of their education.”

As for how the accommodations have been being put in place, the pandemic has affected that slightly.

“There are some accommodations that don’t translate over to online classes/exams, such as ‘distraction reduced setting for exams,’ and some accommodations that may look a little different in a fully online class, such as volunteer notetaking,” Erickson said. “We have worked with students and professors to make sure all needs are being met, and handle any specific issues on a case-by-case basis.”

Students are still able to meet with their SAS consultant virtually, as they have been offering that option since March 2020.

“Overall, we’ve received positive feedback from students on the whole process,” Erickson said.

Student Body President Celine Persaud and Student Government are also making efforts to help out students with disabilities.

“The Student Government legislative bodies have previously written legislation for increased Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility,” Persaud said. “Working on mental health has been a priority for us as far as awareness goes, and a huge topic of conversation among the state legislature.”

With the Spring semester opening up more areas of campus, as well as in-person events being expanded, Student Government hopes to put together more events to help.

“Student Government has been slowly but surely trying to integrate the student population with more in-person activities and event planning,” Persaud said. “We [had] Homecoming week, which [had] many great events that students [could] attend. We also had Stress Less week last semester in person, which helped students relax during finals.”

Colby Guy is the Editor-In-Chief for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @thatguycolbs.