Campus fair brings spotlight to student support resources


LaChandra Marzetta

Michelle Barkley, head nurse at CRC, educates students on multiple options available through the Disabled Support Programs and Services and Student Health Services at the Disability Resources Fair on Oct. 29.

LaChandra Marzetta, Staff Writer

As the weather is changing and the leaves are falling in October, attention falls squarely upon breast cancer awareness, but since 2007 Cosumnes River College has raised awareness for something closer to home.

Disabled Support Programs and Services teamed up with Student Health Services on Oct. 29 in the quad to raise awareness of the services available for students with disabilities.

Several agencies including Sierra Vista Hospital, Canine Companions for Independence, Enactus, The Arc and Department of Veteran Affairs were in attendance.

“Our mission is to try to make sure that students with disabilities get equal access to whatever the college provides,” said Scott Hamilton, Learning Disability Specialist and Counselor of DSPS at CRC. “There are people who never think to come in because they think ‘I don’t have a disability.’”

According to a handout from DSPS, disabilities include attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities, carpal tunnel syndrome and many other conditions. DSPS  provides accommodations that include note-taking for course lectures, distraction reduced testing environments, voice to text software and other services, according to the DSPS brochure.

Student Health Services provides support to DSPS as well.

“Whatever resource we can provide to augment the cause, to help out, we collaborate with DSPS,” said Michelle Barkley, head nurse at CRC. “Health Services on the campus is a resource to any I like to use the term differently abled student not disabled.”

Kathy Zastrow, regional board member of Canine Companions for Independence, was one of the volunteers at the fair who provided information about canine assistance for the disabled.

“With a few exceptions we place dogs with all disabled people except the blind,” Zastrow said. “Most of our users are wheelchair users and so the dogs are there to pick up things and open doors, turn lights on and off and open refrigerators.”

Although there were many visitors to the Disability Fair, DSPS Coordinator and Counselor Yolanda Garcia Gomez hoped for a bigger turn out.

“We did this about two years ago and we had twice as many people,” Gomez said.

Mary Mickles, 43, a human services major said she was inspired by the fair.

“I’m inspired by them as students and as people,” Mickles said. “The challenges they have and they still keep pressing on. It’s just so awesome.”

Families in need of assistance should visit, Zastrow said. For more information contact DSPS at (916) 691-7275.