The University Record, September 14, 1992

Services for Students with Disabilities publishing new map, faculty handbook

By Mary Jo Frank

A summer job he landed as a teen-ager steered Sam Goodin toward what would become his life work.

“I worked at a camp for children with disabilities. I’m lucky. I fell into it,” explains Goodin, the new director of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD).

As a counselor at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Summer Camp for Special Populations the summers of 1973–75, Goodin was responsible for the physical needs and recreational experiences of children ages 7–16 with such disabilities as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, mental retardation, birth defects, hearing disorders and speech defects.

Later he would direct the camp.

In college Goodin worked as a personal attendant for students who had disabilities ranging from muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy to spinal cord injuries.

While a driver for Disabled Student Transportation Service at Southern Illinois, he solidified his career plans.

Goodin was asked to transport persons attending a conference for directors of services for students with disabilities from campus to the airport.

Having spent an extra day at Southern Illinois because of a snow storm, his passengers were anxious to get home. However, they didn’t complain. Instead, they sang Christmas carols.

“I decided this would be a fun group of people to work with,” Goodin says.

He since has become active in the professional association for directors of services for students with disabilities—the Association of Higher Education and Disability—and has served on the national executive council.

Goodin has learned “if one part of a person doesn’t work as well as it does for others, you just strengthen other areas.”

If the legs don’t work, you educate the individual to do something that doesn’t require leg power. If you can’t spell well, you make sure your thoughts are brilliant, he explains.

“Education can overcome limitations,” says Goodin, who heads a staff of four full-time employees and about 30 volunteers who work to ensure that U-M students with disabilities succeed in class, participate in extracurricular activities and in general take full advantage of the University’s resources.

SSD works with students with a variety of disabilities, ranging from vision and hearing impairments to learning disabilities, and conditions that require a wheelchair to get around.

SSD can always use more volunteers to read to students, take notes and tutor, Goodin says. Volunteers—students or other adults—have to be dependable and willing to volunteer two to 10 hours per week.

Also available through SSD, located in G625 Haven Hall, are equipment and services, including modified cassette recorders, alternative registration, free prepared course notes for some classes, carbonized note taking pads (another student takes notes and gives the carbon copy to the student with the disability), advocacy and referral within the University and the Ann Arbor community, and student support groups.

This fall SSD and Transportation Services are expanding accessible transportation to ensure that it is available at any time regular transportation is available.

In 1991–92 approximately 80 permanent and temporary riders logged more than 3,500 rides on the SSD van. Goodin says the number of rides should increase because of the expanded hours.

Under its new director, SSD is working on what Goodin describes as “meat and potato” issues: a new publication for prospective students explaining how to avail themselves of SSD services, a faculty handbook with hints on how to instruct students with various kinds of disabilities and a tactile map for the visually impaired. The plastic map, which will be available in October, has raised buildings and sidewalks and large print.

Also new at SSD:

—Plans to hire a learning disabilities specialist, whose services will be free to students.

—Joining with the Commission for the Blind to provide mobility instruction as part of campus orientation for visually impaired students.

—Offering an FM amplification system for the hearing impaired. The professor wears a lapel microphone with a pocket transmitter and the hearing-impaired student wears a receiver. This helps hearing-impaired students in large lecture halls where background noise can make it difficult to hear the professor.

Goodin joined the U-M May 1, coming from California State University, Los Angeles, where he had directed the Office for Students with Disabilities since 1989. Before that, he was director of Disabled Student Services and Veterans Affairs at Indiana University, Bloomington, in 1983–89, and a counselor for Disabled Students Services at the University of North Dakota in 1981–83.

On a personal note, Goodin may wish he were color blind Oct. 10 when the green-and-white Spartans come to maize- and-blue Ann Arbor. His wife, Donna, is a doctoral student in Spanish at Michigan State University.

“Fortunately we were never real rabid football fans, so we should survive,” Goodin says.