Written By: Sara Moussavian, Full-time Employee & Advocate
On July 30, 2009, I left California’s Youth Leadership Forum knowing more about who pioneer leaders of the disability community are and what they have done in comparison to the first day of the program. My knowledge about the Disability Rights Movement continued to expand, when I joined the Youth Organizing Disabled and Proud Program in late September 2009.
Between July to December 2009, I learned that Ed Roberts (one of the many pioneer leaders) had a list of accomplishments. In this blog, I will briefly discuss one of those – educational access.
The inclusion of Students with Disabilities in a 4-year university emerged over 50 years ago, when Ed Roberts was offered a space as a student at University of California Berkeley (Cal). While at Cal, with support from a faculty member, Ed worked to open the first Disabled Students program, which provides accommodations to students with Disabilities in the nation (http://www.rootedinrights.org/ed-roberts-disability-rights-activist).
It was because of Ed that I was successfully able to graduate from a California State University Campus after attending a Community College. It was because of Ed that I was able to receive a variety of services from the Disabled Resource Center; with one of those services being Assistive Technology software and hardware support. The software, which I most commonly used, was Kurzweil 3000, whereas the hardware was the Smart Pen.
With Kurzweil 3000, university personnel transformed the hard copy reading for each course into an e-book format. Once receiving the e-book, I would open the software and had the software read the text to me. It was because of Ed that I went into class the next day with complete knowledge of what content was being discussed.
The Smart Pen was used as a supplement to notes which either my note-taker or I took. With the Smart Pen, I was able to review the audio recording lectures from the same day when I returned to my dorm the same night or when I was studying for exams.
At the end of the day, it is because of Ed that I was able to accomplish a goal of obtaining a Bachelors Degree; and started a dream of having a professional career. Have any of the accomplishments achieved by Ed aided you in transforming a goal into a dream? Tell us about it below!