Here is our second interview!! Thank you, Emily!
Emily Goldberg, received her Master’s in Social Work this past May, loves thinking outside the box. Emily is originally from Dubuque, Iowa. Coming from Bradley University in Peoria, IL, she says that her passion for social work with an emphasis towards disabilities was brought to light during her sophomore year.
Emily’s disability is reading comprehension which she explains in her words, “My reading comprehension learning disability is when it takes me longer to read a text, for example on reading assignments it will take me longer to get through the reading compared to my typical peers, it does not help me to read inside my head, that is why Kurzweil [a software program] helps. I need to actively read to understand the content, so reading assignments take longer.” Emily is a past intern at the McBurney Center and is learning how to become an accommodation specialist and absolutely loves it. She says that internship will help shape her future career in the social work/disability field.
Her family has been nothing but supportive growing up and her school environment gave her no trouble in regards to her disability. It is just a part of who she is and she has always been open about it. The accommodations she received in high school was such, that she could get up in front of the class and tell her teacher “I’m going to another room for testing.” Emily had told me her parents and teachers had been great advocates for her all through k-12 and that college was a new experience that taught her how to advocate for herself. When asked if she had any trouble navigating the college experience, she adamantly shook her head. Not at all! All her professors have been very understanding when she lets them know what she needs. Those that did not understand were mostly because of “not knowing much about the accommodation disability center, they just asked me questions and responded and took appropriate action,” but they were few. She gets a paid notetaker for her courses, document conversion, time and half, and small group testing. None of her classmates looked at her differently and were respectful in their behavior.
Socially, she has a wonderful group of friends that know her. She is just like any other student on campus and likes to have fun, and sing karaoke. If they get that she isn’t understanding, they take the time to get her up to speed. Again, she is aspiring to be a social worker with a focus on disabilities, like an accommodation specialist or work specifically with adults with intellectual disabilities. Her motivations lie with the fact that “growing up with a disability helped me learn how to be an advocate and I want to help others be an advocate as well.” She gave me an example of how she viewed her disability:
Freshman year of high school, she had a class where the teacher gave them the assignment to find an object that resembles them. She went home thinking hard and had her idea. She came back to class and one by one, students presented. “Most of them had something similar to like ‘I have this cell phone because I like to talk a lot’” but she had something different. Emily stood in front of the class and presented her coffee mug stating “this mug resembles me because I have a warm personality.” Her teacher noticed her take on the assignment and for Emily, this is one instance where her ability to think outside the box shines.
With this interview, she just wants people to learn that those with disabilities are just like you and me, there is more commonality than differences. Her tip was “talk with friends and those with disabilities if you want to become more educated. Research on the internet, use the McBurney Center and just know that everyone has a different perspective.”