Inspiring Student: Anthony Bonelli!

Anthony Bonelli

Bonelli and Richard Thompson going to class

I ran into this article and the only thing that I could mention is something to read about. If there was one word that I could describe Anthony Bonelli is Inspiring!!!

Anthony Bonelli, a Rutgers University, is a student without the use of his arms, legs, hands or feet, the benefits of the digital age are just slightly out of reach. That is something amazing that I myself will have a hard time if I did not have the use of my body! For some people it might sound disturbing, but his determination and ability to remain strong just inspired me so much. I’m pretty sure that all the abilities that Anthony Bonelli has, a healthy human being would not be able to accomplish them.

This story is saddening because Bonelli, who transferred from Warren County Community College in September, suffers from a rare and severe form of cerebral palsy. Now at Rutgers, he is struggling to get the technology he needs as populations of students with disabilities rise and funds to help them fall.

I know I am an adult and I know its college and I know they’re not going to hold my hand but I feel like I’m being hung out to dry,” Bonelli said.

Disabled students in New Jersey used to qualify for financial support for technology assessments but since June, when funds to all eight regional centers for college students with disabilities were cut, the cost of assistance has gone up, said Amy Dell, project director of Adaptive Technology Center for New Jersey Colleges.

The technology assessment, which evaluates the needs of disabled students and recommends compatible technologies, now costs $500, she said. Before, it was covered by state funding. It sounds like they have no pity and they really don’t care about them, because they are disabled and they can just move on with their problems.

When the Special Needs Grant Program was fully funded, disabled students weren’t assisted as thoroughly in technological areas as they needed to be, the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education said. This is really something that annoyed me knowing that they are simply ignoring and that they need the most help. I just wonder were the money goes if they are not helping out the disabled students.

Without extra help, Bonelli quickly fell behind in his classes. He needed his textbooks and other written materials to be electronically read to him. ODS workers gave him electronic scans of paper materials and instructed him to download Adobe Reader. But Bonelli said the solution wasn’t effective. The ODS staff contacted a student who offered Bonelli a copy of Zoom Text, a more powerful screen-reading application designed for users with disabilities, Bonelli said. The disabled student who loaned the software also offered to teach Bonelli to use it but because of a scheduling conflict, the training never took place.

It’s been months since Bonelli began his classes at Rutgers. After weeks of  trial and error and conversations with ODS, he finally has an appointment for a  technological assessment.

“People ask me how I’m doing. I just tell them I’m doing the best I can,”  said Bonelli.

At least we are seeing a process that there will be a “kind of help”. but were will they be without the people responsible to help them out…

Reference: http://www.upi.com/Features/Culture_Society/2010/11/17/Digital-divide-widens-for-disabled-student/12899398877468/

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Categories: Education

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