UWI student overcomes disability to graduate with Honours Degree

Since Jovelle Donaldson was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at age three, which caused all her joints to become inflamed and swollen, she has overcome many challenges such as years of excruciating pain, being in and out of hospital, countless doctors’ appointments, surgeries, physiotherapy, and complications to graduate from The University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine with a MSc in Clinical Psychology, last year.

She is now a clinical psychologist at UWI’s Family Development and Children’s Research Centre (FDCRC), St John’s Road, St Augustine.

Eschewing the word “disability” as it limited or reduced what a person can do, Donaldson said she preferred the term “differently-abled”.

Speaking to the Sunday Guardian on Thursday at her office, Donaldson, 27, said “I worked at the centre for the last three years and started as a research assistant. Now that I’m a clinical psychologist I help with research projects, learning events, and work with social workers doing counselling.

“At the children’s centre I look at how to improve early childhood education, the current curriculum, then observe the children in the classroom, what works or not and try to improve on that through research and publications.”

Donaldson said while writing an exam at UWI someone approached her to check out the Academic Support/Disabilities Liaison Unit (ASDLU) which helps people who are differently-abled like herself.

She said ASDLU’s director Jacqueline Huggins made improvements such as making the pavement and walkways more wheelchair accessible to the physically-challenged and gave students assistance which was very progressive of UWI. Read more

Source: Guardian (Trinidad & Tobago)