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Disability Services Helpful Tips

Advising tips, comparisons, helpful links, and rights and responsibilities
  • Registering for classes can be one of the most important things that you can do in college. It can also be one of the most confusing! When you were in high school you had a lot of help choosing what classes were appropriate for you and your needs. 

    Your parents, guidance counselor, resource teacher, and other teachers assisted you in deciding what classes you should take. In college, this type of guidance comes from your adviser. He or she knows what classes you need for your chosen major, what will transfer to other colleges, and what courses you need to graduate.

    In order for your adviser to do a good job in the advising process however, you need to be a good communicator. Sharing certain basic information with your adviser like what your major is, what your plans after community college are, if you plan on working while attending college, and what your special needs are, can make a big impact on choosing the right classes for you.

     Your adviser’s goal is to help you have a successful college career while attending Central Community College. Of course, your motivation, class participation and attendance, along with your ability to advocate for yourself and seek out assistance will also play a big part in your success. But registering for the right classes is a good place to start.

    Be prepared for the advising session. Remember your adviser is prepared to assist you, but cannot help you make good decisions without your honest input. She or he also may not remember everything you talked about the last time you met. Many other students will visit your adviser for help throughout the year too.

    In addition, it is your responsibility to keep records of any communication you have had with your adviser. Use the folder supplied to you by the Disability Services Office to keep any notes you have made.

    What to do before meeting with your adviser:

    • Make sure you have completed your application for admissions and sent it to the admissions office. You should receive a letter of acceptance verifying this
    • Take the ASSET or COMPASS pre-enrollment assessments or have your ACT scores sent to the Assessment Office. If you have taken these assessments elsewhere make sure they have been received before you meet with your adviser. Call the admissions office at to make sure they have been received.
    • Have all your high school and college transcripts sent to the admissions office. Do this well ahead of your advising session. In some cases time is needed to evaluate classes you took at other colleges.
    • Call the admissions office to find out who your adviser is. Be prepared to tell the admissions personnel what major you have decided on.
    • Meet with the disability services staff prior to meeting with your adviser. They will help you prepare for the advising session.
    • Call your adviser to set up an appointment to register for classes. Don’t assume that he/she will be available. Advisers are also teachers who have other commitments in the classroom, lab, or with other advisees.
    • Take a copy of your assessment results, any transcripts and any other information that will help with the advising process. You should not take disability documentation to your adviser. (Your adviser will not need this information if you have prepared properly for this meeting. Documentation should be given to the disability services staff, where it will be placed in a confidential and personal folder.

    The following questions have been developed to make sure your advising experience is a positive and productive one. If you choose, the disability services staff will help you prepare for the meeting with your adviser. Together you will review the following questions and she will help you write down your needs.

    General questions that your adviser may ask (if they don’t ask you, you should share this information with them)

    • What is your major?
    • Is your goal to earn a degree?  A diploma?  A certificate?  Or earn academic transfer credits for a degree elsewhere?
    • Do you plan on transferring to a 4 year college when you leave CCC?  Another community college?  What college?
    • How many credit hours do I need to take?  Full time vs. Part time

    Considerations: Vocational Rehabilitation, Insurance, Financial Aid Requirements

    • Do you plan on working while attending CCC? How many hours, what is your schedule?
    • Are you a morning person? Afternoon person?
    • What subjects in high school came easy to you? What were your toughest? What did you like the best?
    • What kind of study habits do you have?
    • Do you take tests well? What kind of issues do you encounter during a test?

    Questions that explain your special needs due to your disability: Remember you do not need to disclose your specific disability to your adviser. You may disclose if you choose, but it is not necessary.

    1. What are my strengths and weaknesses?
    2. How does my disability affect my ability to...
      • Read a text-book?
      • Listen to a lecture?
      • Take notes?
      • Write a paper?
      • Give a speech?
      • Get up in the morning / medications etc.
      • Miss meals (especially if I must eat in the cafeteria)?
      • Get to class in a short period of time?
      • Budget my time?
      • Take a test?
    3. What kind of accommodations do I use?
    4. What kind of learning environment works best for me?

    What to do during the Advising Session:

    1. Introduce yourself to your adviser
    2. Share the information that you have brought with you. This includes test scores, transcripts, and the answers to the questions you worked on with the Disability Services Staff
    3. Listen closely to the information your adviser is sharing with you. If you don’t understand ask him/her to repeat the information or explain it further.
    4. Ask questions. Your adviser will assume that you understand everything and continue on with the session even if you don’t.
    5. Take notes. You are responsible for the information you talked with your adviser about. Remember, they have other advisees and cannot remember everything you talked about. Save them in your college folder.
    6. Ask your adviser when they will be available throughout the semester. If you have to drop or add a class, or discuss changes in your major, it helps to know when he/she is available. Many faculty members have their schedules posted outside their offices, but it is always good to have this information in your college folder. Remember to call before coming in to meet with your adviser.
    7. Thank them for their help. Good manners are always a plus!

    What to do after the Advising Session:

    1. Check over your advising worksheet for any errors or deletions
    2. Make a copy for your file in the Disability Services Office and take it there.
    3. Take the completed advising worksheet to the admissions office.  You will NOT be registered until this important step is completed.
    4. Save your copy for future reference.  This is one more thing to put in your folder.

    For more information, go to: Going to College

    The following is a point-by-point comparison of disability law and some services/accommodations and the way in which they differ between high school and college.

    High School


    Under the law (IDEA), all children (including children with disabilities) are entitled to a “Free and Appropriate Public Education.”(IDEA is about education)Under the law (Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act), students have equal access to education – no one is entitled to anything; students have civil rights and they must advocate for themselves in order to utilize those rights. 
    (This section of 504 is about civil rights)
    Section 504 in the public schools includes “Free and Appropriate Public Education” language, and accommodations may include modifications or changes in the curriculum, assignments or tests.Section 504 is the first civil rights legislation that applied to colleges.  It upholds the institution’s right to maintain the academic standards, and no accommodations may be permitted to reduce that standard for any student.  In other words, the integrity of any program will not be compromised by changes or modifications for any student.
     Plans, either the IEP or a 504 Plan, drive all services and accommodations, involve school staff, and require a parent’s signature.There is no plan, and instructors are not contacted, except by the student.  In fact, parents may not even receive a student’s grades without the student giving written permission.
     All students qualify for public education simply by being the appropriate age“Otherwise qualified,” in college, means that the student must meet all entrance and academic requirements, whether they receive accommodations or not.
    Staff involved with the student knows about his/her placement, knows about a student even before he or she enters the classroom, and has a good idea of that student’s needs. DSS never contacts an instructor without permission from the student.  Thus, the student must initiate all actions regarding accommodations with each instructor, for each course, every semester. Students also have the right to refuse accommodations and if they do not request accommodations, it’s assumed they do not need or want them. 
     Public schools, for the most part, are responsible for appropriate assessment of a student’s disability, primarily to determine if that student qualifies for special education.Higher education is not required to assess the student, but may request that the student provide information about their disability and accommodation needs. This may include 3rd party documentation. 
    Some subjects may have been waived for a student before graduation, if they were specifically related to the student’s disability, and was indicated in the IEP.Substitutions for specific graduation requirements may be requested by following a rigorous petition process, but “waivers” for requirements are never granted.  Substitutions are also granted typically after the student has both provided adequate verification to DSS of their disability and unsuccessfully attempted the courses in question with the appropriate accommodations as recommended by DSS. 
    Labels (or the type of disability/diagnosis) are a way to categorize people and are needed to verify the student for special education services.Student has a right to disclose to whom and when they choose, but must own their disability in order to receive accommodations and enjoy a level playing field.  There is no special education, only accommodations.
    Assessment, physical or other therapy, or personal care may be provided by school while the student is in school.Student is responsible for personal services -- personal care, medical and related requirements, just as if they would if they were living independently and not attending school.
    Students often receive “Un-timed tests” if they have a disability.“Un-timed tests” are not reasonable, but time extensions may be reasonable, typically time-and-a-half or double time.
    Teachers may be expected to learn all they can about the disability of a student in one of their classes.Instructors need know only that which applies to the accommodations the student is eligible for.
    “Placement” is determined by the child’s “team” and outlined in the plan, and must, by law, occur in the least restrictive environment.Placement integration is assumed, and is the order of the day.  We adjust the environment through accommodations, but we don’t deliberate and select the environment for the student in advance. 

    MDT = Multidisciplinary Team Evaluation
    DSS = Disability Services for Students                                              
    IEP = Individual Education Plan

    IDEA vs. ADA


          IDEA (High School)

          ADA (College)

    Identification      School      Student
    Assessment      School      Student
    Making Requests      School/Parent      Student
    Advocacy      School/Parent      Student
    Decision Making      School/Parent      Student
    Transition Plan      School      Student
    Accommodations      School      College


    Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)

    Western Iowa and Nebraska AHEAD

    Winahead (user's site)


    Disability Information and Support

    Americans with Disabilities Act

    Office for Civil Rights (U.S. Department of Education)

    The Faculty Room (DO-IT)

    Windows 7 accessibility

    Text to Speech Sites

    Right of Appeal Procedure for Student Accommodations

    In order to directly address complaints specific to disability-related accommodations, the disability services office has adopted an internal right of appeal procedure. This procedure allows for equitable resolution, within a reasonable time, of complaints by students with disabilities who allege violation(s) of their rights under the ADAAA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

    If the student believes the accommodation(s) provided are not reasonable, the below-listed procedure should be followed. The goal of the Disability Services Office staff is to accomplish each step as quickly as possible.

    1. The student needs to schedule a meeting with the Disability Services staff who evaluated the original accommodation request and discuss the matter. If an accommodation is related to a specific course, the student’s faculty member may be asked to attend the meeting. The outcomes of the meeting will be made and presented to the student in written format within five working days of the meeting by the Disability Services Staff.
    2. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of the meeting, the student should make an appointment to meet with the associate dean of students within 10 working days from date of the meeting with the DSS to initiate the formal grievance procedures as outlined by college policy. See student handbook or college website.

    • to an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from courses, programs, services, or activities offered through the college.
    • to an equal opportunity to work and to learn, and to receive reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services.
    • to appropriate confidentiality of all information regarding the disability and to choose to whom information about their disability will be disclosed, except as disclosures are required/permitted by law.
    • to information, reasonably available in accessible formats.

    • to meet qualifications and maintain essential institutional standards for courses, programs, services, or activities.
    • to self-identify as an individual with a disability when an accommodation is requested and to seek information, counsel, and assistance as necessary.
    • to provide information about how the disability limits participation in courses, programs, services, or activities.
    • to follow published procedures for obtaining information, services and reasonable accommodations.

    • to evaluate and/or identify functional limitations of the student’s disability to determine appropriate academic adjustments and accommodations needed for courses, programs, services and college activities.
    • to request and receive from student, current documentation that supports requests for reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary services.
    • to deny a request for reasonable accommodation, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary services if the documentation demonstrates that they are not warranted, or if the individual fails to provide appropriate, substantiating information.
    • to select among effective reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary services.
    • to deny a request for an unreasonable accommodation, adjustment, and/or auxiliary service or one that imposes as undue hardship or fundamental alteration on a program or activity of the college.

    • to ensure that qualified students receive academic adjustments and accommodations for courses, programs, activities, and services in the most integrated and appropriate settings.
    • to provide information to students with disabilities in accessible formats upon request.
    • to evaluate students on both their abilities and disabilities.
    • to maintain appropriate confidentiality of records and communication, except where permitted/required by law.

    • to expect students with disabilities to meet qualifications and maintain institutional standards for courses, programs, services, or activities.
    • to request and receive from the student or the Disability Services Office, verification that the student is registered for services with the Disability Services Office and requires accommodations whenever a student has initiated a request for accommodation.
    • to deny a request for reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary services if the student does not provide a signed “Approved Academic Accommodation Letter” from the Disability Services Office.
    • to expect the Disability Services Office to evaluate reasonable accommodations and to be kept informed of any changes of accommodation requests throughout the semester; and to be provided with updated information concerning disabilities and policy and procedures utilized by the college.

    • to maintain confidentiality of records and communications and students’ rights to privacy in disability related matters.
    • to provide academic information to the Disability Services Office when requested, so accessible formats can be produced in timely manner.
    • to show confidence in students’ abilities to achieve their intellectual, personal and professional potential.
    • to help provide reasonable accommodations as verified by the Disability Services Office and contact the Disability Services Office when questions arise; and to refer students to the Disability Services Office when a request for accommodations is made and the student does not provide a signed “Approved Academic Accommodation Letter.”