LU distinguished for Disability Services

Lamar University was recently named a “disability friendly school.” More than 4% of LU’s student population is registered with the school’s disabilities center, which offers unique accommodation solutions Rockwall DRCand a unifying transition fair for all juniors and seniors in high school.

LU’s Disability Resource Center offers a host of accommodations, academic adjustments and assistive technology in compliance with the American Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and to help students gain access to information in a way that is meaningful and unique to each person.

“We get students out of the Beaumont area because of our disability services,” said Kyle Mutz, director of the DRC. “There’s not anyone we can’t accommodate; we try to be as inclusive as possible, to meet people where they are and provide the best environment as possible. We separate ourselves and provide that one-on-one service.”

Monique Bienvenue, special education teacher with Port Arthur ISD, encourages her students to attend the Transition Fair every year for a variety of reasons.

“The fair exposes them to the post-secondary world of education that they may not know exists. It opens the discussion of how they can attend college and still be able to get the accommodations they need to succeed,” said Bienvenue, a certified autism specialist and registered behavior technician.  “The students like to see the campus life and activities like the wheelchair basketball, the rockwall, as well as the dining hall. Some of my students are not able to go anywhere but home and school, so any outings for them are wonderful. They like to see ‘people like me’ doing the things they would like to do one day.”

One of the distinctive services LU provides is a database, called AIM, that allows students to customize their approved accommodations. Students setup a profile, login to see their courses and the approved accommodations for those courses. They can also customize their accommodations directly from the database.

“This student-centered program empowers students to customize their accommodations,” said Mutz. “If a student struggles with note taking, need extra time on exams or other accommodations because of a specific disability, the software accepts those accommodation requests and then facilitates them into an accommodation letter for faculty without the need to disclose their disability, to communicate specifically what the student needs for access.

BasketballdrcIn 2014, the DRC began hosting the Access Transition Fair to connect students with disabilities to all the resources available to help them transition from high school to either higher education or a vocation. The fair includes the Texas Workforce Solutions rehabilitation division, American Lift Aids, RISE independent living center, LIT, Lamar State College Orange and Lamar State College Port Arthur as well as LU’s key resources – STARS tutoring, financial aid, advising, the Writing Center, the Tutoring Center, etc.

“The fair helps students learn how to advocate for themselves by connecting them with state agencies and community colleges. We recognize that one size doesn’t fit all; people are at different points in life and have different needs and we just try and connect them hoping that at some point they come back to LU. It’s always our goal to have them come to LU,” said Mutz. 

 Since the fair’s inception, more than 700 students have attended. This year nearly 300 registered to attend the virtual fair in March.