NDSU Hires New Disability Specialist
Published: Monday, October 22, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 22, 2012 15:10
NDSU’s Disability Services has hired a new specialist who also oversees the assistive technology on campus utilized by students with disabilities.
Anita Hanson, an NDSU alumnus, has joined the staff of Disability Services.
She is a disability specialist, which is a generalist that does not specify in any one type of disability – he or she knows and understands a wide range of different disabilities.
Disability specialists like Hanson first help determine if a student matches the Americans with Disabilities Act’s definition of a disability. Then, she helps these students get accommodations.
Bunnie Johnson-Messelt, director of Disability Services, said that accommodations for students with disabilities can include a distraction-free test environment, audio tests and scribes to copy down notes and essay questions.
Johnson-Messelt also said that Hanson assists with the assistive technology lab to find applications and other technology that can assist students.
“Technology has opened up many, many doors for individuals with disabilities and other individuals,” she said.
Disability Services works with several assistive technologies such as Livescribe pens, which record audio as well as write.
They also use Read and Write Gold, a reading and writing computer program to help students develop skills, and Dragon Naturally Speaking, a voice to text program.
A program called Kurzweil will read back scanned text and FM units, which help students with hearing disabilities in lecture.
There are also a number of iPad apps in the assistive technology that can help with note-taking, organization and time management.
Johnson-Messelt says that Hanson is constantly looking for new products, technologies and applications to help students succeed.
“She is very enthusiastic, she’s very student-centered,” Johnson-Messelt said. “She’s a learner herself, so I think that helps too as a staff person, because she continually wants to look for things that will help the student.”
Hanson worked for 16 years at the Fond du Lac tribal and community college outside of Duluth, Minn. According to a press release, Hanson did her undergraduate work at NDSU while completing a master’s degree at the University of Minnesota.
Any student can contact Disability Services for more information about assistive technology, regardless of if he or she has a disability or not.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.