When I began my graduate studies at Ohio State University in the Fall 2010, I was encouraged by my school counselor to register with The Office of Disability Services. At first, I was a bit standoff-ish towards the idea to register because I didn’t think that I would ever benefit from it. In all honesty, my initial hesitance was really driven by some previous bad experiences with these types of services and so, in theory, I decided it wouldn’t be any different here. Of course, I was wrong. Like many veterans who have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, we find ourselves struggling with the after effects of being in a war zone. Those effects are more commonly referred to as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A little over 6 years ago, I was diagnosed with PTSD and it certainly changed how I lived my life. Thankfully, I did decide to register with ODS and feel I definitely made the right decision.
The Office of Disability Services (ODS) at Ohio State University offers a variety of services for current students who have documented disabilities, including learning, deaf/hard of hearing, blind or low vision, mobility limitations, ADD/ADHD, psychiatric disorders and medical disabilities. The mission of ODS is to collaborate with and empower students who have disabilities in order to coordinate support services and programs that enable equal access to an education and unversity life.
On Friday, April 29, 2011, I was a guest and award recipient at The 2011 ODS Annual Recognition Reception in Pomerene Hall on The Ohio State University campus. At or around the beginning of April, I received an email from ODS asking me to apply for a LifeScribe Pulse Smart Pen. Forty LiveScribe Pulse Smart Pens were generously donated by Mr. William Zornes and his daughter, Sarah, with additional funding provided by Scitor Corporation. The pens are an innovative study tool that combine traditional note-taking with advanced technology. They can record spoken lecture notes while simultaneously archiving what a student writes. In order to be eligible for this offer, I was asked to submit a 500 word essay discussing my progress in overcoming my disability and how I feel the Smart Pen would enable me to be successful while attending graduate school at OSU. To my surprise, not only was I selected as a recipient of the Smart Pen, but my essay was chosen to be read aloud to the over 100+ people in attendance. Up until that point, I have never openly discussed my disability with anyone. For me, it has been a long road to recovery, but without the help of services like ODS, I don’t think I would be where I am today. Being able to increase awareness of PTSD to those in attendance was very rewarding for me.
All in all, I am very honored to have been selected as a recipient of the Smart Pen because I know how much this “assistive” technology tool has aided me in my studies in the MLHR program at the Fisher College of Business. Also, I want to thank wonderful people like Mr. William and Sarah Zornes who have donated their resources to support those with of us with disabilities. I will be forever grateful and appreciative of their life-changing donation to ODS.
Below is a couple pictures of the Smart Pen and Mr. William Zornes.