OASIS: A Program for Students in Need of Accommodations

By Jenny Bront
SC Staff Writer

The newly renamed and relocated Office of Accessible Services Individualized for Students, or OASIS, is charged with providing every student with the help that he or she needs.

Formerly known as the Office of Disability Services, OASIS is here to help students who have documented disabilities, medical concerns, or learning challenges.

The new name isn’t the only fresh thing about OASIS. There is now an attempt to destigmatize services.

Dr. Jennifer Young said, “We felt like the term ‘disability’ had negative connotations. We want to make education more accessible.” This word “accessible” is much more, for lack of a better term, accessible.

The term “disability” is rather negative, and invokes pictures of students with severe disabilities. This is by no means the truth.

Having a disability is similar to having bad eyesight.

When talking about this subject, Dr. Linda Van Meter, Director and Chair of OASIS, draws a metaphor between disability and eyeglasses.

She stated, “You cannot ask a blind person to see, and you cannot ask a student with ADHD to focus more.”

The mission of OASIS is to provide equal educational access to otherwise qualified students.

Some students may think it’s unfair for classmates to get extra time on tests or assignments, but it is important to remember that these measures are just “leveling the playing field,” as Dr. Van Meter puts it.

OASIS also helps professors figure out ways to put the accommodations students need in place.

In fact, they are attempting to create a testing center, a space where students with accommodations can test.

They have also enacted a policy where professors have to acknowledge, in written form, that they are aware of the student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) where all of his or her accommodations are spelled out.

Additionally, they will hold workshops for students with ADD and ADHD.

They are working on pamphlets and handbooks to further aid in the awareness of Accessible Services.

Not only that, but OASIS is also holding workshops and presentations to inform everyone.

The process for getting accommodations is on the ESU website under the Student Life tab and Counseling Services or in the OASIS office in Hoeffner Science and Technology Center room 341.

Students must begin by completing the self-disclosure form and proceeding from there.

Any questions, contact OASIS at ods@esu.edu or call them at 570-422-3954.

More than 400 students are receiving accommodations, so if you are in need of assistance, do not hesitate to get in touch with OASIS. Everyone is entitled to an equal education.

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