Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page


One of the many great things about the DSS program at GCCC/GCSC is that our interpreters for our deaf and hard of hearing students do their best to be present for the students needs in all facets of their college life here on campus. Our interpreters can be seen interpreting for our students not only in class but also during club and social meetings or outtings as well as during private meetings between the students and their professors, tutors, or other members of staff on campus. The program has worked so hard to make having an interpreter a staple in the college life of a deaf or hard of hearing student, that many people don’t know that there are other methods for which we can provide communication between an individual and one of our deaf or hard of hearing students. One such method is through the use of a piece of equipment called the UbiDuo.

The UbiDuo combines the ease of instant or text messaging with the speed of real time chat and the benefit of face-to-face communication.

Below is a great video that explores both the concerns deaf/hard of hearing and hearing persons have when communicating with one another as well as the barriers that are removed when using the UbiDuo.

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1st collector for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Hearing – Communiphobia
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Visit for more information on the UbiDuo. For our students, faculty or staff who wish to know more on the UbiDuo, see it in action, or give it a try for themselves, feel free to contact any member of our department.

Campus Safety looks at mobility-disabled needs


The Evacu-Trac. Image via Garaventa.

Recently members of our department have had the opportunity to view and demo some of the equipment that our Safety department have been considering as part of their disaster preparedness plan. We were then able to give our own feedback on the equipment and the needs we saw necessary to meet when crises occur.

Two of the pieces of equipment looked at were the Evacu-Trac by Garaventa and the Model 6523 by Stryker.

Both chairs are designed for emergency transportation for persons with a mobility-related disability as well as for use in transporting individuals who may have been injured.

Stryker Model 6253

Stryker Model 6253. Image via Stryker.

Primarily, the purpose of either chair is to transport an injured or mobility-disabled individual downstairs in a multt-story building safely during an emergency situation.

For information on the chair’s design and how it functions you can visit Garaventa for info on the Evacu-Trac or Stryker for info on the Model 6253, or click on the links provided.

It’s always nice to know that the college is constantly working towards a safe campus in all situations, but its even nicer to know that the campus is equally concerned for the safety needs of its disabled students and visitors.

Call to Action:Preserve Critical Federal Funding for Education

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If you have been keeping up with the latest happenings in the Florida Legislature — and if you haven’t been, then here’s a good place to start — then you know that one of the biggest topics of concern being discussed are several legislative acts designed to cut the funding in several areas of education. Florida has been in a state of education crisis for the past couple of years, seeing budget cut after budget cut that GCCC/GCSC has been valiantly working to buffer the impact these cuts have on our students and faculty and staff. Even still, tuition costs have risen and the need to stimulate dollars for campus operation has forced the campus to get creative, such as the imposed paid parking permits.

But early Saturday morning, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its own legislation, H.R. 1, that reduced spending for the current federal fiscal year 2011 by almost $100 billion.

To put this in a more personally-understood relation, this deep reduction puts a pretty devestating cut to the Pell Grant program — an area of the most importance for our students. With the cuts, maximum grant would drop by $845 for the award year starting July 1. In effect, students would be responsible for this cut by the cost of tuition rising $845. That would have a total impact on about two million needy students who rely on the Pell Grant, and would negate all the hard won increases in the maximum grant that has been secured over the last four years — including President Obama’s Education Reconciliation Act, which increased the Pell Grant scholarship award.

H.R.1 would also de-fund all Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs (a critical part of not only our college by also our community) for the rest of the year, significantly reduce funding for the Hispanic-serving Institutions program, and eliminate the Predominantly Black Institutions and Tech Prep programs.

H.R.1 now moves on to the Senate for consideration. It is important that Senators understand the kind of critical damage passing H.R.1 would have on our students in higher education. They need to hear from YOU that the substantial cuts to the Pell Grant and other key programs is unnacceptable. AACC logoDeep cuts like this deny accessibility to attend college and receive critical services that the community and state colleges afford the community and as a whole will harm the nation’s economy.

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is asking that in communication with your Senators, that you include the following message:

  1. The $5,500 Pell Grant maximum must be maintained for FY 2011. A cut of $845 as included in the House version of H.R. 1 is disastrous public policy. It would decrease opportunities to attend and succeed at community college. It would also damage the nation’s economy by preventing people from acquiring the training that they need.
  2. WIA programs must continue to receive adequate funding. The House version of H.R. 1 eliminates all funding for the major WIA Title I programs for Program Year 2011. Community colleges across the country use these programs to provide a variety of job training services; cutting them is a short-sighted move at this time.
  3. The federal government must maintain targeted investments in a few critical institutional programs, including Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Predominantly Black Institutions, and Asian-American Serving Institutions. These programs must be maintained.

The AACC also suggests that the more locally focused you can make your case, the better. Tell Senators about the extent to which students depend on Pell Grant. This is an EVERYBODY crisis — as beings of a community with social responsibility, we are all responsible for providing accessibility to higher education for everyone. Describe to Senators how Workforce helps meet local labor market and related needs.

For information about contacting your senator’s office, please consult the AACC website by visiting

Additional [Source] information.

Brain pacemakers may be the new medicine in treating psychiatric illness

brain pacemaker

Brain pacemaker of the future? Image via Julich Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine.

Earlier this week the Associate Press published an article on new research that is attempting to use pacemakers in the brain to control psychiatric diseases. You can read that story here.

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has proved to be a successful and powerful method of blocking the tremors of Parkinson’s disease. However, blocking mental illness isn’t quite so easy, the main problem being where exactly in all that gray matter of the brain should scientists put the brain pacemaker?

But scientists are pushing to expand research into how well these brain stimulators are able to tackle the most severe cases of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and Tourettes’s Syndrome.

Unlike tremor patients, who may see immediate relief of their symptoms, psychiatric patients who respond to DBS tend to improve gradually. Doctors are also cautioning that just because symptoms may lessen with DBS, it doesn’t mean that they could or should abandon traditional forms of therapy. Furthermore, patients who undergo DBS as a method of treatment also require help learning how to function, much the same as hip replacement patients who undergo physical therapy.

If you would like to know more about the surgical process of DBS and the use of a brain pacemaker to control symptoms of psychiatric disability, continue reading this article which gives a very nice overview of all of that. The article also explains the difference between what DBS does for patients with Parkinson’s versus what is expected in its application of treating psychiatric illness.

What scientists have been able to deduce through research is that with the brain pacemaker, somehow behavior therapy begins working, perhaps enabling the brain to better remember lessons.

Continue reading here.

Neergaard, Lauran. “Trying Brain Pacemakers to Zap Psychiatric Disease.” Yahoo! News. Associated Press, 21 Feb. 2011. Web. 22 Feb. 2011.

American Idol Season 10 Finishes Hollywood Week

American Idol Season 10 LogoIn case you missed last week’s episodes of American Idol Season 10, it was the continuation of Hollywood Week for the American Idol contestants.

Contestants competed in the dreaded group auditions where we lost one Idol hopeful, Paris Tassin, but continue on with Robbie Rosen, Chris Medina, and James Durbin.

The final rounds of Hollywood Week ended with the Solo Rounds, where individuals gave performances with a live band and were able to play their own instruments. Only 100 contestants made it through eliminations to compete in this round and were fighting for one of only 50 spots. Again, Robbie Rosen, Chris Medina, and James Durbin were one of the chosen few to pass this round.

This week, those 50 contestants will compete in the Beetles Challenge. They will be competing for a coveted spot as one of 24 remaining contestants, who will then compete for one of Idol’s Top 12.

Watch this week’s American Idol competition Wednesday and Thursday. Check your local listings for the time.

And, of course, stay tuned to DSS of GCCC blog for updates on the three Idol hopefuls we are following.

Snow Plow

While we Floridians may not have to live with the misery of snow, we do sympathize with those that have too. So for our brethrens to the North and West of us, we salute you for the terrible weather you have had to endure these past weeks and pass on to you a little humor. See, ingenuity comes to all ages.

American Idol Season 10 Hollywood Auditions Update

American Idol Season 10 LogoLast week saw the first rounds of Hollywood Week for American Idol Season 10. Contestants Paris Tassin, Robbie Rosen, Chris Medina, and James Durbin all made it through the individual auditions and are on their way to the dreaded group auditions, airing this Wednesday and Thursday.

American Idol Season 10 San Fransisco Auditions: James Durbin

James Durbin auditioned at Americal Idols’ Season 10 San Fransisco auditions. Auditioning with the song “You Shook Me” by the great Led Zepplin, Durbin got to show off his Steven Tyler-like pipes not only with his rendition of this song, but also took on Aerosmith’s — and Steven Tyler’s trademark wail — “Dream On.”

At an early age Durbin was diagnosed and placed on medication for a sleep disorder. With conditions worsening, his parents took him to Stanford Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with Tourettes Syndrome and Aspergers, a form of high functioning autism.

Hear his story and see his audtion below:

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1st collector for James Durbin American Idol Season 10 San Fransi…
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American Idol Season 10 Milwaukee Auditions: Chris Medina

Chris Medina auditioned for the American Idol judges, season 10, at the Milwaukee auditions, auditioning with the song “Breakeven” by The Script. Medina auditioned in the hopes of giving his fiance something that would make her happy again. On October 2, 2009, just two months shy of their wedding, his fiance was in a car accident from which she suffered a traumatic brain injury. Medina has honored the vows he promised to make to her and has stayed by her side, helping her mother to care for her and tirelessly working towards her recovery. Here’s Medina’s audition and his story:

Chris Medina American Idol Season 10 Milwaukee Auditions, posted with Vodpod.

“King’s Speech” receives praise from our youth

As state and community colleges continue to solidify their importance in today’s emerging economy and the economy of the institution’s own local community, GCCC — or should we say upcoming GCSC — has worked doggedly these past few years in blurring the lines between k12 and higher education.

A greater part of our campus’s mission is making higher education accessible to everyone. With that said, it is important that school age children see from a very early start that there is always a place for them among college graduates and that Gulf Coast State College is there with them every step of the way.

As a department who seeks to advocate and assist students with disabilities in higher education, it is extremely important that we know and understand where our current and potential students come from to help them get to where they want to be.

That being said, the Associated Press has done and interesting piece on the film “King’s Speech,” the story of King George VI of Britain, his impromptu ascension to the throne and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch become worthy of it. For 11-year-old Erik Yehl, a Chicago boy who began stuttering in preschool, the movie’s message is, “I’m not stupid.”

Watch the story below:

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‘King’s Speech’ Gets Praise From Stuttering Kids, posted with vodpod

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