CSM Disability Support Services Joins Charles County Commission on Individuals with Disabilities, July 20

CSM Disability Support Services Associate Director Glennis Daniels-Bacchus

25th Anniversary of ADA Marks Impact of Civil Rights Legislation for Millions

To bring attention to services available through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Charles County Commission on Individuals with Disabilities will host an information event 2-4 p.m., July 20 in the lobby of the Charles County Government building (200 Baltimore Street, La Plata). College of Southern Maryland representatives will attend to provide information on Disability Support Services (DSS) available for its students.

The ADA provides protection against discrimination based on disability and requires educational institutions to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities.

“I like Gandhi’s quote, ‘Strength does not come from physical capacity, it comes from an indomitable will,’ and that’s how I look at the more than 200 students we assist each semester who have a willingness to persevere and succeed,” said DSS Associate Director Glennis Daniels-Bacchus.

Among students who have exemplified Gandhi’s quote are CSM graduates Jamie Cusick of Hughesville and John McKissick of Waldorf.

Cusick was born with a neuro-muscular disorder. As a high school student and in her first years of college, she required little assistance in class or in completing schoolwork. As the disorder has progressed, so had her need for assistance from SSC and a team of scribes and support staff. Focusing on her life’s passions rather than her disorder has been her way of dealing with the discomfort, fatigue and uncertainty that each day brings, Cusick said. She graduated in May with an associate degree in criminal justice. For Cusick’s story, visit bit.ly/1NMphW1.  

With a good-paying job and bright future, McKissick’s world shifted on its axis after he suffered severe brain trauma in a 1996 automobile crash and was in a coma for more than two months. As he recovered, a job placement advisor at the Maryland Department of Rehabilitative Services encouraged him to return to school and in 1998, McKissick took his first courses, Principles of Accounting and College Success Skills at CSM. “At first I didn’t want to visit the college’s disability office because I wanted to be perceived as normal as possible,” McKissick said. “After a 12-year gap in school, I was unsure if I would be able to do this.”

With support from the college’s Disability Support Services, over the next 16 years, McKissick received help from CSM tutors and community volunteers. He earned his degree in May 2014. For McKissick’s story, visit bit.ly/1H4NJNO.

The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed July 26, 1990. The ADA is the best-known civil rights legislation for those with disabilities, impacting an estimated 43 million individuals at the time of its passage. The ADA built on centuries of activism by those with disabilities, and centuries of public debates over rights, citizenship, and engagement in civic life.

The commission provides the Charles County Commissioners with advice, information and assistance with the ADA, to increase social acceptance and ensure full participation of individuals with disabilities in the many facets of county life. For information, visit www.CharlesCountyMD.gov/commissioners/boards/commission-individuals-disabilities.

For information on CSM’s DSS, visit http://www.csmd.edu/StudentSuccess/ADA/.