Hilltop Views

Blogpoints: A School for Simon

Paul Rocha

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Paul Rocha is a columnist for Hilltop Views. Keep an eye out for his upcoming posts on “BlogPoints.” 

My brother, Simon, has recently started his final year of high school, so like others in his class, he is in a fluster over college applications. Simon is still unsure of what he wants to study, though he has shown interest in the culinary arts and mathematics. What he knows for certain is he wants to be successful in whatever field he chooses.

We’ve all been there at some point, standing on the edge of adulthood wondering what the future holds. It can be an intimidating experience for anyone, but Simon isn’t just anyone. He is my brother, and he is deaf.

My concern for Simon, who has been hearing impaired since birth, is that he will find the university of his dreams, but they will inevitably not be able to accommodate for him. It breaks my heart to think that he may be denied a quality education due to his inability to hear.

My family and I have looked into schools designated for those with hearing impairments, but Simon doesn’t want to go to these places. He says he wants to be like everyone else, to be treated like his peers.

In an attempt to help, and also to nudge my brother towards my own school, I took to the St. Edward University’s website to research what accommodations are usually made for students with hearing impairments. Unfortunately, it took me quite some time before I could find anything useful.

I am aware that there are services on-campus, as most professors make clear on the first days of class via their syllabi, but the fact that it was difficult to locate that information on the university’s website is upsetting.

University websites are responsible for presenting schools to a number of audiences including potential students, parents, and donors. They should be inclusive and inviting as well as informative.

This is not to say that websites should single out any particular group. Instead, a university website should include information for students of all walks of life while maintaining a sense of togetherness.

The revamped St. Ed’s site is fairly new, so I understand that somethings are still being worked on. I just hope that more attention will be paid to making the website much more navigable for those with disabilities.

 I want Simon to find a place where he feels like he belongs, like I did with St. Edward’s. I want him to have an educational experience that will bring him closer to reaching his goals.

Above all things, my hope for my brother is that he will be happy. Whether he goes to a school for the deaf or whether he goes to culinary school, I just want him to be happy.

Even if it’s as simple as finding a link on a homepage, it’s that link that makes my brother feel like he’s accepted. It’s that link that makes the search a little bit easier. It’s more than just a link, it’s a connection. 

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Blogpoints: A School for Simon