Four CSD Ladies at DePaul – Their Stories

According to the U.S. Department of Education and the National Center for Education Statistics in 2011 to 2012, “the percentage of undergraduates who reported having a learning disability was 11 percent.”

While attending a four-year university like DePaul, you are bound to be in a class with a student with a disability and probably not even know it, maybe even more than one. It always makes me feel better to know that I’m not alone and that there are people who deal with similar issues as myself and are still performing well in higher education. I am a CSD student myself. I have a slow processing/reading comprehension “learning difference” as well as difficulty with test-taking specifically and I have ever since I was in 4th grade.

I had the pleasure of speaking with four ladies at DePaul University who identify with having a learning disability/learning difference. Each lady is/was an active member of the CSD community here at DePaul. They shared their various experiences as to how CSD helped shape them individually.

Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) is a place for students to get the help and accommodations they need in order for them to succeed through their academic courier at DePaul University.

Laurel O’Such is a sophomore at DePaul majoring in computer science and minoring in film. She is from Los Altos, California. She loves to cook and do pottery in her free time. Laurel attends Sunday night mass and values her religious time while in college. She is pictured here at the St. Vincent DePaul Church, where she attends weekly mass.

When it comes to CSD, Laurel states: “I love CSD. I mainly use it for test taking and I take my tests in a room by myself.”

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Photo: Grace Rohen

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Photo: Grace Rohen

Abigail Kayman is a sophomore at DePaul majoring in special education. She is from Elmhurst, Illinois. During her free time she likes to volunteer with special olympics and play tennis. One of her favorite college memories is running home to her sorority sisters during bid day on the DePaul quad, where she is pictured. Abigail is also a huge advocate for the special ed and learning disability community and is pictured balancing a book titled, “The Disability Rights Movement,” because it is something she continues to stand by and advocate for each and every day.

When asked if she had advice for CSD students going into college, Abby states: “Own your disability going into college. It is a part of who you are. Utilize the resources your school offers for students with disabilities; in most cases they are super accommodating, understanding, and will have your back and be a quality support system.”

Abby believes that by having a CSD, it is “leveling the playing field, it’s certainly not cheating.”

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Photo: Grace Rohen

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Photo: Grace Rohen

Hallie Meunier is an alumna of DePaul originally from Carmel, Indiana. She graduated in 2015 with a major in communications and media and a minor in theater studies. She currently is a student at the The Second City Conservatory Program in Chicago and does her own improv production and stand up. She is “living her dream.” Hallie enjoys going on walks and spending time outside during her free time. She participated in DemonTHON, DePaul’s 24-hr dance marathon, all four years of college and recalls it being one of her favorite memories. She is pictured here outside of the Sullivan Athletic Center/McGrath Arena, where DemonTHON takes place annually on DePaul’s campus.

According to Hallie: “Just because a student is smart, well-spoken, and gets good grades, doesn’t mean (school) comes easy. You never know what is going on inside someone else or how their mind works.”

Reflecting back on her time at DePaul, Hallie says: “CSD was a great support system for me. It allowed me to ask for help when I needed it and it helped me accept myself for who I am.”

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Photo: Grace Rohen

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Photo: Grace Rohen

Madison Page is a junior at DePaul University majoring in business management and entrepreneurship. She is from Long Beach, California. Her favorite hobbies include: singing, reading, hanging out with friends, and (most importantly) napping. She is pictured below at Brownstones, one of DePaul cafe’s. Madi loves to sit and chat with friends while drinking a cup of coffee. It is one of her favorite spots on campus.

In regards to her experience with CSD, Madi states: “CSD really helped me learn time management. I don’t have to stress about getting the classes I want with early registration, which has been extremely helpful.”

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Photo: Grace Rohen

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Photo: Grace Rohen

Each woman is photographed where they spend a majority of their time on campus and is a pivotal spot(s) in shaping their academic and personal lives. Spots are cited here on the map.

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HUGE thank you to Laurel O’Such, Abigail Kayman, Hallie Meunier, and Madison Page!