News Archive

Services available at work and school for those with disabilities

Elbert Hagans, Norb Ryan, Doug FraleyState Disability Coordinator Norb Ryan (center) spoke at both the Hazard Campus and Lees College Campus of Hazard Community and Technical College, urging those with disabilities to seek assistance. Ryan is shown above with Elbert Hagans, Director of Diversity, on left, and Doug Fraley, Vice President of Student Services on right.

Actor Tom Cruise and former president Franklin Roosevelt have something in common -- they both had disabilities. State Disability Coordinator Norb Ryan said Cruise has dyslexia and Roosevelt had polio and he shared that information when making the point on how prevalent disabilities are among us all. He said a total of 57 million people in the U.S. have disabilities, according to 2012 census. He said of that number, 26 million have severe disabilities.

Ryan was the guest speaker Oct. 15 at the Hazard Campus and Lees College Campus of Hazard Community and Technical College. Ryan, who also has a disability, told the crowd, We are more like you abled-bodied people than we are different.

He stressed the need for those who have needs to reach out and seek assistance. The Americans with Disabilities (ADA) is the civil rights legislation related to ensuring equality in education and the workforce. Ryan offers his assistance with those needing help. He can be reached at 877-423-2933.

Having a disability relates to difficulties with walking, seeing, hearing, breathing, speaking, learning, and thinking, Ryan said. He spoke about individual rights in the work place and in educational institutions, noting the rules don t apply to those who employ under 15 people as well as churches. Employees need to report their disability to their employers and employers have the right to ask for a doctor s letter stating the disability.

He noted the abuse of handicapped parking spaces. The ticket is $250 plus court costs for illegally using a handicapped parking spot, he said, acknowledging the frustration of those who really need the parking spaces closer to a building.

Doug Fraley, HCTC Vice President for Student Services at HCTC, urges others to make their disability known so accommodations can be provided. There's a lot of assistance in colleges, especially in our college and other colleges throughout the state of Kentucky, to assist students with disabilities become what they want to as far as their career paths, Fraley said.