Blind ACC student struggling with mobility issues
GEORGETOWN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - Lacey Weisbrod was born blind. She says she also suffers from 'spatial disorientation.' "If my Dad says 'go straight,' I might be veering off course. It's between the brain and the body," Weisbrod said.
Lacey says that means she can get turned around in her own bedroom.
"She suffers not only from blindness but seizures and Cerebral Palsy," Lacey's Dad Randy said.
Lacey's parents Randy and Jeannine from Georgetown say the issue is this -- they can get Lacey to the front door of a campus but throughout the years across the various colleges she's been to, it's getting from classroom to classroom that has been tricky.
Now she's attending the ACC Cypress Creek campus in Cedar Park.
"We need to get her from the front door to a classroom. It's not a lot to ask for," Jeannine said.
They say Lacey has worked with the Texas Workforce Commission and Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center before on orientation issues but still has trouble acclimating to new places.
Lacey sent an email to one of her favorite professors asking if he could reach out to the students in class to see if someone could meet her in the lobby and walk her to class. She said she'd "gladly pay them." The Professor responded saying "I wish I could help with that, however this is considered an accommodation and I'm not allowed to do that. There are liability issues involved."
In another email, the Student Accessibility Services Director told Lacey "...students are responsible for getting themselves to class or anywhere else on campus."
When I reached out to ACC, they told me there is no campus policy in place that says a professor or other employee can't escort a student from class to class and there's also no policy forbidding a professor from asking students if they'd like to help.
But representatives for the school say asking a professor something like that would be an unusual request. Steven Christopher is Executive Director of Special Populations at ACC.
"We would say this is something you can learn. We're a learning institution and learning how to get around this campus, the other campuses, is part of your becoming whatever you're going to become through education," Christopher said.
Christopher says they have accessibility advocates at each campus. They work with students on what accommodations they need - interpreters, brail or audio testing material. He says they also make sure campuses are barrier-free.
Christopher says a "personal escort" is not one of those options ACC provides.
"That would be more of a personal service that the student is responsible for getting and some students do have what are called 'personal attendants.' They bring the attendant with them to the college so they can do things that the student cannot do," Christopher said.
Christopher says the Texas Workforce Commission offers a service like that if you qualify. The student can also hire someone which the Weisbrod's are planning on. They have the resources. They just feel like other students like Lacey may not have that luxury. "That's just what we do as parents. I just emphasize that most blind students that we've met don't have the resources or the parents to follow up and help them and several fall through the cracks," Weisbrod said. "I am not here just for me. I am here to make a difference for other people who struggle with this."
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