Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Nontraditional student utilizes Testing Services to overcome learning disabilities

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Michael Archer has never let his problems with learning related tasks hold him back from reaching this goals. Archer, 35, is back at Southeast after taking some time off pursuing a major in mass communications TV and film.

He said he is unaware of what his disability diagnosis or Individualized Education Program is, but he has always known he has a disability.

Michael Archer
Photo by Joshua Dodge

Cant read, cant spell, Archer said, so I need a lot of help in that department.

The help he receives includes taking all his tests through Testing Services on campus so he can have a reader and use speech to text on his phone for any essays.

Because he is unable to read, his older brother helps him read most of his assigned readings for classes. If a textbook is available electronically, he uses an eBook reader application so he can listen to the book. He also has apps that will read things like emails from teachers.

Archer said he has been in special education since first grade. He believes he did not receive the help he needed in grade school one of the reasons his disability is the scale it is today.

I have been like this for years, he said.

After graduating high school, Archer wanted to be a WWE wrestler, but, after trying wrestling and spending a few years on that path he found out it was not for him. Archer soon returned to Southeast to earn his degree and have a career.

I wanted to do something better, he said.

Archer said being a college student is the biggest challenge he's faced, but he is not giving up. He has failed EN100 and struggles in math but is determined to finish.

So far, most of his professors have been understanding of his problems and have allowed him to record lectures or do classwork in isolated environments.

On top of his mental disability, Archer has a glass eye in place of his left eye, something he does not see as a disability or anything that holds him back.

As far as navigating, I hadnt have too many problems, he said. I navigate pretty well.

Archer said he just has to turn more than normal to see things on his left side, but it has never held him back.

He does drive, and he said its one of the biggest challenges for him.

I see that being the biggest hurdle, day to day, he said.

Archer wants anyone who might pass judgement on him to know he is just like everyone else.

I have feelings, too, and I want the same thing that they want to do good in life and to be loved, he said. Be a little more tolerable. People arent exactly stupid. They just need a little more help.

Archer said he refuses to let his disability control his life and hold him back from anything.

Archer is currently a freshman taking three classes while he works as a custodian. His dream job is to be a cameraman for WWE fights.