Students gathered to raise awareness for Disability Awareness Week with a student-led panel at noon Wednesday in West Hall.

A four-person student panel answered questions and discussed their experiences dealing with disabilities in college.

Gabriel Edmeier, president of Leadership Education Advancement for Disabilities, said the event was hosted to raise awareness for what students go through and to inform students with disabilities about the help they can receive.

“Just because you cant see a disability doesn’t mean a person doesn’t have one,” he said. “There has always been a bad stigma and we’re trying to get away from that stigma.”

There are a lot of people with disabilities who have been successful, Edmeier said, many of whom have been CEOs, while others have gone on to Congress.

Scott Mueller, a senior construction engineering major from McKinney, who has dyslexia and is the treasurer for LEAD, said if it wasn’t for Student Disability Services and finding help, he would not be at Texas Tech.

“If it wasn’t for Student Disability Services, I probably wouldn’t be where I’m at right now,” he said. “I probably would have failed out my first year.”

The main purpose of the discussion was to talk to students about the organization and clear up any questions they had, Mueller said.

When he first came to college he had many questions about the accommodations available and how things worked, he said.

Edmeier wanted to be part of an organization that provided a social network for students to talk about their issues and talk to other individuals with disabilities, he said.

The organization, which was started this semester, works to make sure students don’t feel alone in college and that they know there is a network for them, Edmeier said.

Mueller said he hopes students left the discussion with a better understanding about to work with their disability, realize there is help for them and that they don’t have to be alone.

Gina Scafoglio, a freshman electronic media and communications major from League City who is legally blind, said going into her freshman year she had no clue about the accommodations that were available.

She said the best part of the event is knowing students will be more aware of the help they can receive and can help spread the word.

Edmeier agreed and said it was nice to speak at the event and spread the word that help is available.

“Having a disability doesn’t make you any less of an educated person,” Edmeier said.

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