Special Populations program gives hope to students with disabilities - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Chip Washington

Special Populations program gives hope to students with disabilities

DESOTO COUNTY, MS (WMC-TV) - The Northwest Mississippi Community College in DeSoto is not only booming with traditional students, but also with those who have disabilities through their 'special populations' program.

Sheri Todd is a sophomore at the DeSoto Northwest Community College campus, but to look at her, you would never know she has a disability.

"I'm ADHD and I have discalcula, which I never heard of but it's trouble processing math. And so this place has saved me," Todd said.
To help her better 'focus,' instructors have her use a stair master, which helps her to direct her energy.  Sheri is one of 60 physically or mentally disabled students at the campus that are getting a quality education courtesy of the 'special populations' program.

"We just help everybody discover the talents that they can share and use as peer tutors and then we help them polish the skills they need," special populations coordinator Kitt Albritton said.

Albritton is also over the 'success club' for these students, which delivers a strong message of  hope and inspiration that can be taken back to the community.

"So what we do is turn what maybe is perceived by others to be a disability and turn it into an asset and then as a special gift that could be used in the community," Albritton said.

Marhea Thurmon,20, is deaf. She attends classes with the help of an interpreter who 'signs' the class instruction. She said that she does read lips, but any assistance is a big help.

"Some of the teachers voices are different, so I don't understand the voices and having an interpreter helps a lot more," Thurmon said.

Michael Dottorey is the disability coordinator for all three campuses. He said the limitations of those disabled students will not stop them from success.

"They may have limitations that may prevent them from exceeding at a certain pace, but they still have the same opportunities as a non-disabled individual," Dottorey said.

Officials said there is also a faculty newsletter that helps to assist students with disabilities, and the administration building on their Senatobia campus is undergoing a renovation that will bring them into compliance with ADA requirements.

Click here to e-mail Chip Washington.

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