UBC Reports | Vol.
51 | No. 5 |
May 5, 2005
Disability No Disadvantage, Says Poli Sci Grad
By Brenda Austin
An internship at the B.C. Legislature next January will provide
Justin Cheng invaluable experience. An honours graduate in
political science, he will spend half his time working for
an MLA and the other half working within a government ministry.
His success in the political science program is due partly
to his positive attitude and partly to the excellent practical
arrangements made for him by UBC’s Access and Diversity
“I want to do something good in life and I have to
take the initiative,” he says. “I haven’t
found a disabilitiy to be a disadvantage. I do talk a bit
slower and it’s harder for me to speak, but I find people
listen more closely then. I’m grateful for research
into disabilities and for the accommodations made at UBC.”
Cheng has mild cerebral palsy which affects how he walks
and talks. He recommends other students with a disability
get in touch with the Access and Diversity Centre as soon
as they know they want to study at UBC.
“Get it over with,” he says. “Provide
the documentation necessary from your doctor, speech pathologist
and psychiatrist and you will find the centre is able to arrange
accommodations for you.”
Cheng used a computer for exams, was allowed to sit for
them outside the classroom and was given time and a half to
finish. He found his undergraduate years manageable with this
kind of support and very fulfilling because of his long-time
interest in political issues and democratic participation.
Russian literature and non-fiction books on the moral history
of the 20th century are favourites with Cheng in his spare
time. His other hobby is debating, which over the past three
years has taught him how to articulate his arguments.
He will take an MA in political science at UBC after his
internship and foresees a potential career in academia.