Wellness Resource Becomes More Accessible

Rehabilitation Science Universal Design 3143 Students Spring 2019

A wellness resource at Arkansas Tech University is better equipped to serve all students following a class project by the rehabilitation science program.

Dr. Erica Wondolowski’s spring 2019 seminar class on universal design collaborated with the ATU Health and Wellness Center to bring new resources to the center’s biofeedback lab. The lab, located in Doc Bryan Student Services Center room 1170, is a space for students to learn and practice stress management skills.

“We find that for individuals with disabilities…whether they are physical, developmental, cognitive or psychiatric…if there are needs, they have to have special accommodations, but they don’t necessarily want to stand out for that reason,” said Wondolowski. “Now, if they do have a sensory difference, they can go and dim the lights in the biofeedback lab.”

In addition to lighting, the class considered factors such as safety, sound, seating, evacuation routes, textures, smells and multi-sensory items when discussing ways to make the biofeedback lab accessible to more ATU students.

The process included identifying existing resources in the biofeedback lab, conducting research to discover possible additional tools, prioritizing and budgeting for the new items and presenting the ideas to Kristy Davis, associate dean for student wellness and counselor at ATU.

“It’s been really positive,” said Davis when asked about the changes. “We trained a lot of students over the summer and early fall on resources in the Health and Wellness Center, and the initial feedback was a lot of excitement about the look and feel of the space. We’re already seeing more students utlizing the space, so that is exciting.”

Davis and her colleagues in the ATU Health and Wellness Center invested time during summer 2019 reorganizing the biofeedback lab and implementing the new resources.

“There’s a whole section of that space that is brand new with stress balls, kinetic sand and scented putty,” said Davis when describing the multi-sensory additions.

The new and improved biofeedback lab is accepting reservations by telephone at (479) 968-0329 or by visiting the ATU Health and Wellness Center in Doc Bryan suite 119.

“The students were phenomenal from start to finish,” said Wondolowski. “Once they had their idea and we knew there was interest (from the Health and Wellness Center), they went with it. It was amazing, as a professor, to watch. There are certain courses that are very professor-driven. This was all the students.”

Blake Jenkins of Benton was one of the dozen students who worked on the project.

“This is probably one of the best things I’ve done through class,” said Jenkins. “Coming to talk to Mrs. Davis and present our ideas was really good experience. We included items in the budget that were optional and could be added further down the line.”

For Jenkins and fellow rehabilitation science major Grant Todd of Little Rock, the new and improved biofeedback lab represents a legacy for the benefit of current and future students.

“Leaving a physical footprint on this campus and knowing that I did something that will help people is important to me,” said Todd.

Learn more about the ATU Health and Wellness Center at www.atu.edu/hwc.

Learn more about the ATU rehabilitation science academic program at www.atu.edu/behaviorsci/rehabilitation.php.