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Tools of the Trade: Broken Stapler

Why a broken M&M stapler is an inspiration for the director of UNLV's Disability Resource Center.
People  |  Oct 9, 2014  |  By Diane Russell
Raquel O’Neill, interim director of UNLV’s Disability Resource Center considers her slightly damaged stapler to be an important office tool. (Aaron Mayes/UNLV Photo Services)

Raquel O'Neill helps students with disabilities access services and alternative technologies for learning -- something she's well-versed in. O'Neill, 03 BA and '06 MA Social Work, is interim director of UNLV's Disability Resource Center. She is blind and had tapped into the office's services herself as she obtained her degrees here. She uses text-to-speech technology extensively to do her job, but one of her most important tools is decidedly low-tech: A broken stapler.

"My husband decided that my office is too bland, so he bought colorful M&M office supplies. One day, a student of mine decided to use the stapler vigorously and happened to break the legs off the last M&M fellow on the stapler. The student was very upset about marring my stapler. Without thinking I just blurted out, 'That's OK. Now he's just like us. See, even though the M&M has no legs, the stapler still works just fine.' The student laughed and now comes to use the stapler throughout the semester before turning in papers as a confidence booster."