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Saint Paul College A Community & Technical College

José Daniel – Learning how his Disability is an Asset
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Diagnosed with Autism at a young age, José Daniel faced challenges growing up. Over the years, he has learned that his disability also gives him strengths that help him pursue his goals. And thanks to solid support from many at Saint Paul College, José is finding his stride in his educational and personal journey.

José Daniel came to Saint Paul College to pursue coursework that would enable him to work in the railroad industry. He has nearly completed his Engineering Broad Field Associate of Science Degree. Living with Autism, José is attentive to detail but sometimes struggles with taking notes when distracted. To accommodate these impacts of his Autism, he is provided copies of class notes from professors and double extended time to complete exams in the Testing Center. He explains that everyone reacts differently to everyday sensory environments, and the quieter atmosphere of the Testing Center accommodates his Autism by allowing his brain to focus.

Living his dream, José describes his time on campus as an "incredibly awesome experience." He shares that he is here because people believe in him, especially his family, terrific Saint Paul College professors, fantastic staff at the Office of Access & Disability Resources, excellent Testing Center staff, an outstanding Vocational Rehabilitation Services Counselor, and supportive fellow students. He is enrolled in two natural sciences classes and has a blast with his classmates. Having Autism has taught José to be patient and persevere. He does not doubt that someday he'll realize his dream of working in the railroad industry. He is open to what that career might be, and his professors are helping him add new possibilities to his "mental filing cabinet" of future academic pathways that will allow him to build on the strengths of his Autism.

Saint Paul College has the "best professors anyone can ask for," shares José. He has learned much about advocating for himself and working toward his career dreams, and he wants to help others do the same. A fantastic story of overcoming challenges, José wants prospective students to:

Look no further than Saint Paul College for a phenomenal experience as you navigate your journey and achieve your career dreams!

José Daniel, Student

José also wants others with disabilities to remember that regardless of how their disability impacts their learning ability, individuals with disabilities are a critical asset to their community as they bring unique views and life experiences that strengthen their community!

October is Disability Employment Awareness Month in Minnesota. You can learn more about José's inspiring story at MnDEED Youth Stories.

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