Services for Students with Disabilities FAQ


What if...?

What if a student asks for accommodations in his or her classes?

When a student asks us to do so, the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities, provides reasonable accommodations such as readers, scribes, signed language interpreters, and assistive technology.

At no time does a student pay fees for reasonable accommodations. However, personal services such as personal care attendants, drivers, etc. or personal devices such as tape recorders, software, etc. which would need to be taken home are the responsibility of the student.

What if a student needs a Sign Language Interpreter?

Students who are deaf may request the use of a sign language interpreter in order to have access to course lectures and other college activities. Sign language interpreters are professionals employed by this office.  Their job is to provide access by interpreting lecture and other spoken communication into signed communication, usually American Sign Language (ASL). Interpreters maintain a professional level of distance in the classroom when interpreting. Students handle requests for signed language interpreters directly with this office and need to do so as soon as they know they will be attending DSCC.

Note: If a student is addressed by the instructor, the instructor should look directly at the student and speak in the first, not the second, person. Likewise, if a student wishes to ask a question, the interpreter will voice the student’s question or comment. It is not ethical for the interpreter to carry the student’s part of the conversation with the instructor or other students. The interpreter’s job is to interpret spoken language into sign, and to voice signed language. The signed language interpreter is not responsible for the student’s grasp of material, homework, testing arrangements, or attendance. These are the student’s responsibility.

What if a student with a disability is enrolled in a program that requires specific certification?

No student can be denied access to any program based solely on his or her disability. All students must adhere to the standards of the program with necessary accommodations made according to his or her disability so long as the accommodations do not fundamentally alter the objectives of the program. When the standards are not met and the student has been given appropriate accommodations, it is reasonable that the student may be denied certification in the program.

What if a student with a disability registered with the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities has to be absent from class because of the disability?

Verification by accommodation letter for students who do not have reoccurring illnesses is adequate notification. For students who receive the accommodation for modification in attendance, a request for additional verification is appropriate for extended absences and hospitalizations.

What is a reasonable accommodation?

Reasonable accommodations are adjustments in the learning environment that permit students with disabilities to compete at the college. The accommodations modify nonessential elements of College programs. Examples of “reasonable accommodation” include: extended testing times, books on tape, large print material, signed language interpreters, adaptive computer software, accessible classrooms, alternative textbook format, and note takers.

The Office of Services for Students with Disabilities coordinates and provides reasonable accommodations to qualified students with disabilities. Accommodations are individualized to address specific functional limitations resulting from a disability. There must be a logical link between the functional limitation and the accommodation.

The ADA Coordinator relies on documentation of the disability and a student interview discussing the history, functional limitations, and possible strategies when determining accommodations. Accommodations not requested by students will not be provided. Students with disabilities must perform at satisfactory levels in their academic pursuits at DSCC. If they do not request reasonable accommodations and perform poorly without them, their civil rights have not been violated. The student must then deal with the consequences of unsatisfactory academic progress.

Are these accommodations fair to other students?

This question is often asked of students with disabilities. The underlying assumption of the question is that fairness and equal treatment are synonymous with “the same” treatment. However, the same treatment doesn’t always measure fairly.

ADA and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act protect students with disabilities. The assumption of the law is that modifying non-essential tasks through accommodations should give the student with a disability an equal or fair chance to demonstrate their ability.

A student whose limitations in the way they learn, (i.e. a learning disability that involves eye-hand coordination or thought-processing), may need accommodations that assist with their learning. These include, but are not limited to books on tape, readers and scribes for tests, screen readers, or help with marking Scantron answer sheets. Providing these accommodations helps with effectively expressing the knowledge of the course subject.

The ADA Coordinator makes a point to give case-by-case consideration as required under the law. What one student receives does not necessarily mean that other students with similar disabilities will receive the same accommodations. The laws protect students with disabilities from being measured in an area that they cannot show their true level of abilities. Reasonable modification allows students with disabilities an equal opportunity to perform at a standard equivalent to students without a disability. While an accommodation may present an advantage to students without a disability, it is not an advantage for a student with a disability, but an equalizer.


A student whose limitations in the physical task of writing or other fine motor manipulations may be an excellent writer even though he or she cannot print or type the letters and words. Thus, the physical act of writing is a non-essential task. The student’s mastery of language and course material must not, under the law, be judged by their ability to manipulate a pencil or pen, or by use of a keyboard. Accommodating the student by providing a scribe or allowing the use of computer software to record the student’s essay responses permits the student to show whether the student can write effectively and whether he or she has acquired the information and critical skills the instructor wished to convey in the course.

What if I am a student with a disability and I am failing my course?

You should contact your professor as soon as you realize you are not doing well and ask for suggestions as to what might help.  You should always do whatever you are able to do to be successful, like going to class, studying, going to tutoring, etc.  If you have done these things and are still struggling, it is very important that you contact the ADA Coordinator to assess what you can do to be successful.  It is, however, your responsibility to meet the course requirements, as is true of any student enrolled at DSCC.


What are "Disability Stereotypes"?

Negative attitudes toward students with disabilities are often more disabling than the disability itself. Negative attitudes are often based on the following myths and stereotypes about students with disabilities.

Stereotype/Myth or Fact:

Myth Fact

✘Students with disabilities who request

accommodations are looking for a way

to do less work.


✔Most students with disabilities have to

work much harder than non-disabled

students. Many students with disabilities don't want to ask for help.

✘Providing accommodations means

lowering academic standards.


✔The law does not require lowering

standards for students with disabilities.

Accommodations allow students with

disabilities to meet the University's



✘Accommodations give students with

disabilities an unfair advantage over

other students.


✔Providing accommodations simply "levels the playing field" for students with

disabilities. Barriers created by a

student's disability must be removed in

order to fairly evaluate the academic

performance of disabled students.


✘If a student with a disability can't perform

like non-disabled students, she or he

doesn't belong in college.


✔Students with disabilities can have the same

intellectual potential as non-disabled

students. If they meet admissions and

program standards, they are entitled by

law to attend and to receive



✘Students with learning disabilities aren't

intellectually capable of doing college



✔Students with learning disabilities have

average to above average intelligence.

The process by which they learn, not

their ability to learn, is what is impaired.


✘Providing accommodations takes too

much time for faculty and costs too



✔90% of all accommodations require

minimal time and money.


More Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can anyone else see the documentation of my disability?

A: Under the law, only those with a "need to know" may see the documentation.  Faculty do not need to review diagnostic information about a student's disability.  Faculty do need to know what accommodations are necessary to provide the student with an equal educational opportunity.

Q: May I talk with my teacher about my disability?

A: Yes, absolutely.  In fact, part of the expectation of this office is that you walk across the bridge we give to you in contacting your teacher about the need for accommodations and talk to him or her about your needs.  That does not mean you need to tell the teacher everything; you just need to talk about what your needs are in the class according to the accommodations you have been given. Information about your disability is confidential and should only be shared if you want to share it.

Q: Does extra time to complete assignments or exams give the student with the disability an  advantage?

A: Extra time as an accommodation for a student with a disability gives that student the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge of the subject by removing the barrier posed by the disability. Although many students are concerned about the amount of time allotted to complete exams, there is a distinction between the need for extra time due to a disability and the preference for extra time shared by many non-disabled students.

Q: Can a student request an accommodation after an exam or assignment has been completed?

A: The student is responsible for requesting an accommodation in a timely manner, prior to the date of an assignment or exam. If a student asks for an accommodation after the fact, a faculty member may allow the student to redo the assignment or take another test with the requested accommodation but is not obligated to do so.  The sooner you request accommodations, the more smoothly the process will go for everyone concerned.

Q: When a deaf or hard of hearing student has an interpreter or transcriber/captionist, what are the interpreter’s/transcriber’s/captionist’s responsibilities in the classroom?

A: The interpreter/transcriber/captionist is there to facilitate classroom communication. The interpreter/transcriber/captionist is not an extra pair of hands to pass back exams or tutor the student who is hearing impaired.