Disability Access Services

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Disability Access Services

Students with disabilities can be successful at West Shore Community College.  The profile of a successful student includes one who regularly attends classes, spends appropriate time studying, understands his or her strengths and weaknesses, is willing to self-advocate, accesses campus resources as needed, and develops relationships with professors and staff.

The Disability Access Services Office (DAS) offers assistance to individuals with disabilities who identify themselves as needing special services while attending West Shore.  DAS staff provide support services by using an individualized approach and works cooperatively with students as they:

•    Build effective study skills

•    Learn self-advocacy skills

•    Become more independent learners

•    Create a network of resources on campus and in the community

•    Meet academic requirements

Our Goals:

•    To provide effective services, materials, and resources to enable students with disabilities to participate as       fully as possible in the educational opportunities at the college

•    To coach students creatively

•    To promote inclusiveness and successful experiences

•    To ensure compliance with college policies and federal guidelines

Students requiring more information should contact Diann Neil Engblade, Ext 5906, or stop by the Tutoring Center in Suite 761 in the upper level of the Schoenherr Campus Center.

Americans with Disabilities Act - Amendments Act of 2008 (ADA AA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act: Legal Rights and Responsibilities

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act-  Amendments Act?

The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADA AA) is a civil rights law that was originally passed by Congress in 1990 (as the Americans with Disabilities Act-ADA) and protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination in the workplace, as well as school and other settings.  The ADA was amended in 2008 and became effective January 1, 2009.  The law does not provide funding for services or accommodations.

ADA AA mandates that reasonable accommodations must be provided to students with disabilities.  Disability Access Services staff will coordinate services with faculty in order to provide students with disabilities academic adjustments that will help them fully participate in the educational opportunities at West Shore.

What is Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973?

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protects the rights of persons with handicaps in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance.  Section 504 protects the rights of not only individuals with visible disabilities but also those with disabilities that may not be apparent.

Section 504 provides that: "No otherwise qualified individual with handicaps in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance...."

Section 504 regulations defines a qualified individual with handicaps for postsecondary educational programs as a person with a handicap who meets the academic and technical standards requisite for admission to, or participation in, the college's education program or activity.

Who is eligible?

The law defines a person as disabled if he or she:

•    has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities;
•    has a record of such an impairment;
•    is regarded as having such impairment.

Under the law, learning, reading, thinking, concentrating, walking, hearing, and manual tasks are all considered major life activities.  Individuals with disabilities who desire special services should contact Disability Access Services for more information.

Is documentation of a disability required in order to receive accommodation or to use adaptive software or equipment?

Documentation of a disability is especially helpful when assessing a student’s unique needs with the goal of helping the student achieve academic, personal, or career success.  The requested documentation may include the results of medical, psychological, or emotional diagnostic tests, or other professional evaluations, including an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) or Student Action Plan (SAP).

Is West Shore responsible for identifying students with disabilities?

At the postsecondary level, it is the student's responsibility to make his or her handicapping condition known and to request academic adjustments.  To inquire about services for a disability, students at West Shore must contact the Director of Special Populations via telephone at (231) 843-5906 or email at dlneilengblade@westshore.edu or come directly to the Disability Access Services Office, which is located in Suite 761 on the 2nd floor of the Schoenherr Campus Center.  A student may also choose to make his or her needs known to a college administrator, advisor, or professor on an individual basis.  However, if accommodations are needed, the Director of Special Populations, in coordination with WSCC faculty, must determine those accommodations.

How does West Shore assure that the needs of students with disabilities are being met?

Students with disabilities are eligible for reasonable accommodations per Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the ADA of 1990/ADA AA of 2009.  STaRS staff works collaboratively with students, faculty, and staff to create an inclusive educational environment.  What is deemed a reasonable accommodation will vary on a case-by-case basis depending on how the disability affects various aspects of the student's college experience.  How accommodations are carried out differs from one situation to another because both the environment and student variables must be considered.

Accommodations Agreement

Students desiring accommodations for a disability must confer with the Director of Special Populations, in order to create an Accommodations Agreement.  An Accommodations Agreement lists the accommodations required in each of the student’s classes as well as any other accommodations that may be required in order to enable the student to have full access to all of the college’s programs and facilities.  It must be signed by each professor, the student, and the Director of Special Populations and is valid only for the current semester in which the student is enrolled.

What are Reasonable Accommodations?

Reasonable accommodations provide equal opportunity for students with disabilities to obtain the same level of achievement as all other students while maintaining the standards of excellence of the college. More information about common accommodations can be found at Assistive Technology Available and Common Accommodations.  Professors and instructors have the right to challenge any accommodation if he or she believes that it would fundamentally alter the nature and standards of the course.

What if disagreements arise regarding disability concerns or accommodations?

If disagreements arise regarding disability concerns or accommodations, students are required to use the grievance procedure outlined in the College’s catalog and in the Tutoring Center Student Handbook.

Students desiring more information about their legal rights and responsibilities should read the following document published by the Department of Education and the Office for Civil Rights:  Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education:  Know Your Rights and Responsibilities.