Four young women openly discussed the disabilities they were born with as a part of the annual Day of Human Understanding.The panel “Conversations about Disability” featured these young women who were born with disabilities.
The women discussed the challenges they face because of their disabilities, the way they are treated at Shippensburg University versus high school and how they are coping with their disabilities in college.
Jenniffer Carbaugh, a senior English major at SU, has two conditions leaving her almost, but not completely, blind in both eyes.
She uses a cane as well as special glasses to aid her around campus and in the classroom.
She finds it much easier to be at SU than in high school because professors and students are much more understanding of her disability.
Ashley Park is a Shippensburg community member who was born with a heart condition. She is very independent and confident.
Park is involved in the student organization People Involved Equally (P.I.E.) — a student-run organization on campus that meets with disabled members of the community to help them create goals for themselves based on their personal health and social needs.
Christine Connor, a sociology major at SU, has dealt with dyslexia since kindergarten. Dyslexia is a developmental reading disorder where words are processed differently.
She became very self-conscious in second grade when her peers began teasing her for learning differently.
Despite having to relearn how to learn when she came to college after excelling in high school, Connor has learned to adapt to college life.
Brady Barrick is also a sociology major at SU with dyslexia. In high school, she dealt with peers not fully understanding her disability and she strived to prove people wrong.
She has learned to adapt in college with the help of services on campus and through the aid of technology to help her dyslexia.
The young women, while learning to adapt to life with their disabilities, have to deal with the way they are treated by others as well as how the media portray people with disabilities.
Another big challenge the women had to face was their transition to college or the real world.
Allison Carey, Suzanne Morin, Martia Flagler and Cheryl Zaccagnini organized the panel during the Day of Human Understanding.
“The panel was put on by Shippensburg staff, but it’s really all about the students. This would be nothing without them,” said Carey, associate professor of sociology and anthropology.
A safe haven for any student with disabilities on SU’s campus is the Office of Disability Services, located in Horton Hall.
The office is run by director Paula Madey. She is there to answer questions as well as offer students with disabilities many different accommodations.