GUEST LETTER: Finding a helping hand with the UA's Disability Resource Center

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Sam Burdette | The Daily Wildcat

The University of Arizona Wall of Paralympians. The DRC has many resources to help students with disabilities engage in athletic activity.

Welcome new Wildcats! I’m sure you chose the University of Arizona for many reasons. The UA has excellent academics, research and student life. What you might not know about the UA is our longstanding commitment to disability inclusion.

The UA Disability Resource Center is an international model of progressive services, and we utilize a unique approach to campus accessibility. The UA was recently recognized as [one of the most] wheelchair-accessible campus in the country by New Mobility Magazine.

We believe that environments – buildings, classrooms, policies, events – are often designed to disable or exclude people with impairments, so we work proactively with our campus partners to design a campus that affords all students with disabilities full access to everything they want and need to do on campus. 

We strive for disabled students to have an identical experience to nondisabled students when it comes to campus accessibility, but we know that barriers may still exist.

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If the design of an academic or campus experience presents barriers to access, accommodations may be necessary. 

As a college student, you are in charge of your experience on campus. You may affiliate with the DRC anytime if and when you would like to explore accommodations. Please connect with the DRC online by completing a simple form; the DRC works to make this process easy for you. Documentation may or may not be necessary, so please connect with us even if you are uncertain about documentation.

Once you complete the form, an Access Consultant will reach out to you to discuss your requests. Our Access Consultants liaise with academic colleges and programs so that they are familiar with your faculty, advising staff and program requirements. 

If accommodations are established, you can decide if you would like to use them and in what classes. 

RELATED: Disability Cultural Centers provide safe space for disabled UA students

Our website has a lot of good information for you on accessibility as well as other student resources. We work with Study Abroad, internships and campus events to ensure that your Wildcat experience is accessible. We also have information for your faculty and instructors on how they can make their classes accessible.

The DRC has the largest wheelchair and adaptive sports program in the country and an adaptive gym on site. There have been 38 Paralympians to come out of our program … and counting! 

We support team sports like men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball, tennis, rugby and track and have options for you to train individually in sports like para-swimming or adaptive golf. If you’re not a wheelchair athlete, you’re welcome to come check out a practice or tournament this year!

Our campus also has one of the very few Disability Cultural Centers in the country. This is a space to build community and celebrate and explore disability. The Disability Cultural Center is located in the DRC and does regular programming both online and in person. We often partner with faculty and community members to put on educational and social events; the DRC is a great space to hang out or study.

Please visit our website, call or stop by if you have any questions. From all of us at the DRC, we wish you the best of luck this year and are here to support your Wildcat journey!


*Amanda Kraus is the assistant vice president and executive director of the Disability Resource Center at the University of Arizona. 


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