What Students Say ...

Types of Special Needs



Stephanie - Athetoid Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy

Graduate with Honors and of 3.90 GPA in 2013 and currently a Masters student in Communication Studies, specializing in cultural communication of people with physical and communicative disabilities.  Stephanie has severe athetoid quadriplegia cerebral palsy. She spent five to twelve hours, everyday to keep up her grades. 

Stephanie uses her tablet to communicate with people. She reminded us to be mindful how we have double standards responding to students with and without disabilities.


Andrew - Autism Spectrum 

A master student at Counseling diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder. Thanks to the support and belief of his father in him such as, reading newspaper to him everyday in his childhood and the extra attention from AEC, he is successful in school. He views his disability as an advantage.  Despite of the challenges in life, with hard work and perseverance, Andrew aspires to be an example for people with or without disabilities and to motivate others to use their unique strengths and talents to accomplish their goals and be a lifelong learner.


David  - Born with The Blindness 

David Han was born blind. He walks us through his daily routine, how he gets around campus with his guidedog and how he uses screen reader software, braille display, note takers and extended time to succeed in college. When learning challenging subject matter in science, 3D or any abstract concepts, he will go to professors directly seeking one-on-one guidance. He asks faculty to have an open mind to accept and work with what students can do. Do not limit student's ability. At the same time, he encourages fellow students not to limit themselves either, learn to meet professors in person to explain their special needs or learning style. With the support from the university go pursue your dream.


David - The Blind

Diagnosed with retinoblastoma (a genetic eye cancer) at 2 to 3 months old and lost his vision at age 42. With vision he earned his BSc in Psychology and an MBA in Organizational Behavior in his twenties. He worked for an electronics distributor for 23 years, learning the technology needed.  After losing his vision, David returned to his passion, helping sciences, and received his MSW at SJSU in 2017.

David switched career to learn about himself and to help others with disabilities.  There are always someone else have more challenges than you. It's easy to give up but David encouraged students with disabilities to advocate for themselves, work hard, educate and show others what you can do. Do not fit their mode what you can't.


Gerardo - Brain Injury

After a motor cycle accident, Gerardo Garay suffered from brain injury and survived from a near-death coma. He lost his memory, speech, handwriting capability initially. In his slow recovery, he took advantage of assistive technology, note-takers, faculty's office hours, and special test accommodation to make it to graduation. It takes perseverance, self-advacy, and lots of communication to succeed in his long journey.


Kendralyn - Dyslexia and other Special Needs

Learn the challenges Kendralyn Morley, a student with dyslexia and other special needs, has experienced in the classroom and some interesting strategies she has developed to succeed in college.

Erin - Hearing Loss Part I

In part I Erin Enguero describes her hearing loss and explains the FM system, an assistive technology she has used, the services provided by AEC and the differences between interpreter and captioner/transcriber.


Erin - Hearing Loss Part II

Learn the self-advocacy strategies Erin Enguero uses in the classroom. She also shares a personal story, suggests faculty to take more time to introduce AEC when going over the syllabus with students. The video ends with the importance for students to advocate for themselves.


Joshua - Hearing Loss

Joshua Lee was born deaf. With implant surgery, hearing aid, the help from FM system and live captioner's notes, he's succeeding in classroom. He attributes his success to register with AEC, go over the use of FM system and AEC guidelines with each faculty. Work diligently with faculty to clear any muddy points and advocate for his special needs in learning.


Damian Bramlett - Veteran with PTSD

An Operation Iraqi Freedome (OIF) Army infantry Veteran was honorably discharged in 2005.  He received his Masters of Science in Justice Studies at SJSU in 2012 and was also a founding member of the Veterans Student Organization (VSO) where he acted as an advocate for Veterans issues on campus.  

Damian as one of the invisible wounds of war community deals with post traumatic stress disorder, and many physical pain issues.  He offered suggestions of how to have a conversation with veterans and his perspective of working in a group and the effective strategies of group collaboration.