Through working as a student supporter at Waseda’s Office for Students with Disabilities (https://www.waseda.jp/inst/dsso/en/) this year, I have not only acquired more in-depth knowledge about various categories of physical and developmental disabilities, but also come to understand the extent to which the efforts of student supporters could improve the learning experiences of fellow classmates who face unique challenges.
The staff at the Office for Students with Disabilities have always been very supportive and responsive, and I deeply feel that all the office members, student supporters, and the students with impairments are a warm and closely connected family. Everyone here is passionately making Waseda University’s education as accessible and inclusive as possible for all the students.
Starting from the orientation and training session – student supporter senpais patiently taught me to use the online real-time typing system called CaptiOnline (https://capti.info.a.tsukuba-tech.ac.jp) and offered me some other technical guidance to the first streaming class on Zoom named “Concept Building and Discussion 1”, which I supported independently for a second-year student at the School of Fundamental Science and Engineering. Now, I can type and summarize the instructors’ oral presentations and speeches more efficiently to transform them into a visual format, and I have owed sincere gratitude to those who have accompanied my journey growing from a newbie into a more experienced student supporter.
I have personally felt a strong sense of achievement for being able to provide help as much as I can to improve the education quality for individuals with disabilities and to have the invaluable opportunity to continuously challenge myself in obtaining new skills – not only in typing and note-taking, but also in the manners and styles in communicating with individuals with disabilities. I believe that these social skills could be easily applied to my future career.
Moreover, I have been inspired by the amount of diligence and positivity that some students with various degrees of physical and developmental impairments have put into following class contents and completing assignments and reports. As student supporters, I believe that although we are supporting their studies, we are also learning a lot from their attitude to life at the same time.
Lastly, I would like to encourage more international students at Waseda University to register and support at the Office for Students with Disabilities, especially for courses conducted in English and other languages. This is a potential platform where you can put your linguistic and communicative skills to very meaningful use, and you will find out what a responsible and delightful family we are by joining us!