You’re Not as Dumb as a Rock

You may be wondering what I mean when I say dumb as a rock. There is a lot of shame around learning disabilities. People might be ashamed that they have a learning disability. Like me. I have a learning disability. I didn’t think that I would be able to make it in college, and now I am preparing to transfer to a four year university. Sometimes when you hear the word disabilities, a lot of people think that they are dumb as a rock. I’m here to let you know that you’re not dumb. You might have more obstacles than some, but you’re not dumb as a rock.

Illustration By Janet Ali

Illustration By Janet Ali

How did I get here? It’s from all the hard working people and the tools provided by Santa Monica College’s Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSPS) at the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD). DSPS is designed to ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to all program activities on campus. Its primary goal is to encourage and promote independence in students.  

Stephanie Schlatter, the director of DSPS, told me that they have over 1,800 students in their program. There are many different parts to the disability center. They have specialized services for different learning disabilities. Some of these include post-stroke and acquired brain injury, deafness and hardness of hearing, and substance abuse. If you have a problem with substance abuse they can help you with anonymous meetings located on the campus.

One of the things they say in a 12-step program is that a closed mouth does not get fed. What I’m trying to say is that if you need help, ask for it.

One of the most important programs that they have is the High Tech Training Center (HTTC). The program is run by Thomas M. Peters who told me about some tools they have to work with, like smart pens, Kurzweil 3000, and Dragon speech recognition software. Smart pens take notes for you so you don’t have to record an entire lecture. Kurzweil 3000 is a program that reads books from your classes to you through your computer. Aaron French works at the HTTC as an Alternate Media Specialist. He scans books to make sure they are readable on Kurzweil 3000. The Dragon program picks up your voice and writes it down. I use it to take notes, write essays, and to write articles like this one.

One of the reasons why I wanted to write this story is to say thanks to the CSD for allowing me to be me and that is why this story was so important to me. My name is Clyde Bates Jr. and every one of these tools helped me get to where I’m at today.

If you’d like to know more about these different services they offer you can contact the Center for Students with Disabilities. Disabled Student Programs and Services can be found at Santa Monica College, 1900 Pico Boulevard Student Services 101 Santa Monica, CA 90405. We are located on the north side of the main campus, near Pico Blvd and the Admissions Complex.