Beyond the Classroom: Mrs. Dallas Swafford

Director of Student Disability Services wants to help students

By Aubree Bailey
On April 26, 2018

Photo by Brit Raley
Mrs. Dallas Swafford would like students to know that she and her team are always ready and willing to help.

 

Mrs. Dallas Swafford first came to ASU as a student.

“I came to school here as an undergrad,” Swafford said. “After I graduated I was looking for a job and found a job in the English department as a secretary. I’ve been here ever since and held various positions.”

Currently, Swafford serves as the Director of Student Disability Services.

“I’ve been in this position in for about four years, and I just recently went back to school at Abilene Christian to get my doctoral degree in organizational development,” Swafford said.

On a day to day basis, Swafford assists students with both physical and learning disabilities.

“My responsibility is helping students with diagnoses that fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act and helping them get accommodations in the classroom if they have challenges.”

Her favorite part of the job is collaborating with other members of the Ram Fam. 

“I love working with students and the faculty. I’ve really enjoyed working with faculty to make sure that they get what they need, that the students are able to show that they have the knowledge, and making sure we are all on the same working together to help each other.”

Swafford said that she encounters many students who are hesitant to apply for accommodations. 

“I think one of the biggest things I’ve tried to change is the way students think about applying for accommodations. They think there is a stigma attached to having a disability. I try to make sure they know they are just as capable as students without disabilities and that everything in the office is confidential.”

Swafford also said that many people aren’t aware that they have access to the  services that Student Disability Services provides. 

“There are a lot of people out there who don’t think they qualify for accommodations, but they may still be struggling in the classroom. Learning disabilities are included in what we do. We also handle temporary disabilities. For example, we work a lot with athletics for athletes who have been injured; we help them get back into the classroom.”

Swafford’s team also puts on various workshops and seminars throughout the year so that the ASU community becomes aware and supportive of students with disabilities. 

This Saturday, April 28, they are hosting an Autism Awareness Walk at the ASU Pavilion. 

“It’s just a one-mile awareness walk, but it gives everyone an opportunity to learn more about students and individuals on the spectrum. It’s going to be a good time, and it’s free. Registration starts at 8:30, and the walk begins at noon,” Swafford said.

For students who are reluctant about contacting Student Disability Services, Swafford said, “Come see me, and let’s talk about it. This is a very student-driven process. By law we can’t reach out to them, so if they’re struggling in any way or think they may have a learning disability or want to learn about our office stop by.”

Out of the office, Swafford’s hobbies include outdoor activities.

“I love spending time outdoors. I am married to my husband and we’re about to be married for 29 years; I enjoy being part of the ram family.”

 

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