Getting Around

Students with disabilities at the University of Oregon discuss their lives.

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00:54Copy video clip URL Title: “Getting Around.” Footage of Dave Maloney, a student with a prosthetic hand/arm, trying to purchase a Snickers bar from a vending machine. It gets stuck, but he succeeds with the help of another student and then painstakingly packs his backpack–which is carried by a guide dog–for class.

02:57Copy video clip URL Paul Triantafilos has a congenital deformity that suppressed the growth of his lower extremities. Despite this, he’s had a number of “high-profile” jobs working with the public. “People at first are very uncomfortable around me,” he says. “They’re not sure of what to say. Sometimes people are afraid to touch me because they’re afraid they might hurt me–I’m not fragile!”

07:02Copy video clip URL Jackie King, a student with psychomotor epilepsy, waits for the bus because she can’t drive. The camera cuts to shots of her working on a computer, meeting with a professor, and going about her day-to-day life as a journalism student on campus. “I have struggled through college–I’ve had to withdraw twice,” she says. “My biggest struggle in school has simply been sitting down and taking tests. It’s common among epileptics that they have something called short-term memory loss. It’s so hard for me to memorize things in such a short amount of time.”

09:13Copy video clip URL King feels that her neurological disorder is misunderstood by her fellow students. “My main purpose in speaking in this video is to emphasize to people that I do have a disability. People assume that because it is so-called ‘in the head’–that it’s neurological–that I have no physical ailment whatsoever.”

10:39Copy video clip URL Fred Gauble, a blind student, talks about coming to the University of Oregon and breaking barriers as the first blind student in his department. He studies speech pathology, and hopes to work with children. “They seem resistant to trying to make accommodations,” he says of his department. “They seem resistant to just be verbally expressive about what they’re doing up there [on the board], and in the area of getting materials recorded, since I’m a non-Braille user.”

14:38Copy video clip URL Footage of Donna Sower, a visually impaired student, working with enlargement software on a computer.

16:21Copy video clip URL Kelly Wickham, a wheelchair-bound student, talks about the freedom that having a van equipped for her to drive has afforded her. Having a brother with Down’s syndrome has pushed her to become more independent. “I’ve always been kind of outspoken, tend to be kind of rambunctious in class to prove that I’m just like everyone else,” she says. “Not only do they expect that you might have a mental limitation, but that you might be shy, and quiet, and very timid.”

21:55Copy video clip URL Kathleen Capps, a professor and PhD candidate in English at the University, has a dual disability: she is blind and deaf. She is an enthusiastic teacher, but can’t use a blackboard and relies on a sign language interpreter to interact with students. “There’s a lot of resistance to using sign language in education … because there is a time lag,” she explains. “I try to speed things up by guessing or anticipating what a person is going to say.”

25:48Copy video clip URL Capps talks about her experiences teaching freshman English courses. “I think because they’re confronting me, a person with disabilities, for the first time in their lives–and they’re scared, they’re neurotic, because they’re freshmen–I’ve had students come in, see me using a sign language interpreter, and drop the class.”

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