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Disabled Students Programs & Services

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What is DSPS?

Since its inception in 1975, Disabled Students Programs & Services (DSPS) at College of the Redwoods (CR) has grown to serve an average of 1200 students with disabilities per year. The major objective of the DSPS office at CR is to assure educational access for students with disabilities. DSPS concentrates its efforts on providing services that are not available elsewhere in the College.

Post-secondary institutions must take steps to assure that students with disabilities are not excluded from programs because of the absence of educational auxiliary aids. The appropriate educational accommodations vary across students even though they may possess the same type of disability. Individual students have varying strengths, weaknesses, and levels of functioning, therefore dictating a variety of accommodations being available to the students.

Some of the accommodations that are available to students with disabilities through DSPS include: counseling, priority registration, learning disability assessment, testing accommodations, liaison to campus and community, readers, textbooks in alternate formats, sign language interpreters, real-time captioning, mobility assistance, tape recorders, and special course offerings. The accommodations that are available may vary on each of the CR campuses.

How does a student become eligible for DSPS?

A student is eligible for our program if they have a verified disability that limits one or more major life activities, resulting in an educational limitation. Major life activities are defined as caring for one's self, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, and participating in community activities.

An educational limitation is a disability related functional limitation in the educational setting. An educational limitation prevents the student with a disability from fully benefiting from classes, activities, or services offered to students without disabilities, without specific additional support services or instruction. Services and accommodations provided by the DSPS program are directly related to the student's educational limitation(s). Participation in DSPS is voluntary.

How does a student become a part DSPS?

In order to participate in DSPS, a student must fill out an application to the department. The main requirement for our program is that a student must have a verified/verifiable disability and be currently enrolled.

If a student does not have a disability that has been previously identified, but is finding that they have serious difficulties with their classes, they may have an unidentified learning disability. These students also go through the DSPS department for referral to a course called Guidance 143: Introduction to Learning Disabilities, which includes information about, and testing for a learning disability. If a student is determined to have a learning disability through this course, then the testing will serve as verification for participation in DSPS.

What is the process for a student to get support services/accommodations

Referral Process:

  • Student or Instructor/Counselor/Community Agency makes referral.
  • Student meets with Counselor/Advisor to complete DSPS Intake Process.
  • Verification of Disability form is received from:
    • Learning Disability Specialist
    • Medical Doctor
    • Department of Rehabilitation Counselor
    • Licensed Psychiatrist or Psychologist
    • Professional Certification by DSPS Director
  • Student is notified of eligibility.
  • Student meets with Counselor/Advisor to determine appropriate educational accommodations.
  • Support Services Agreement (SSA) is completed each semester the student is enroll

What types of services and accommodations do you offer for students with disabilities?

Accommodations provided to students with disabilities vary, depending on the student's particular educational limitations, as well as by what is available at each individual campus. Some of the services and accommodations that are provided through our office include: e-texts, extended test time, mobility/transportation assistance (on campus only), sign language interpreters, enrollment in education assistance classes, priority registration, digital voice recorders, liaison with community agencies, etc.

What are the different disability groups?

  • Physical Disability: Physical disability is defined as a limitation in locomotion or motor functions. These limitations are the result of specific impacts to the body’s muscular-skeletal or nervous systems, and limit the student’s ability to access the educational process.
  • Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH): Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) is defined as a total or partial loss of hearing function that limits the student’s ability to access the educational process.
  • Blind and Low Vision: Blindness and low vision is defined as a level of vision that limits the student’s ability to access the educational process.
  • Learning Disability: Learning disability (LD) is defined as a persistent condition of presumed neurological dysfunction which may exist with other disabling conditions. The dysfunction is not explained by lack of educational opportunity, lack of proficiency in the language of instruction, or other non-neurological factors, and this dysfunction limits the student’s ability to access the educational process.
  • Acquired Brain Injury (ABI): Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is defined as a deficit in brain functioning which results in a total or partial loss of cognitive, communicative, motor, psycho-social and/or sensory-perceptual abilities, and limits the student’s ability to access the educational process.
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is defined as a neurodevelopmental disorder that is a persistent deficit in attention and/or hyperactive and impulsive behavior that limits the student’s ability to access the educational process.
  • Intellectual Disability: Intellectual disability (ID) is defined as significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior that affect and limit the student’s ability to access the educational process.
  • Autism Spectrum: Autism Spectrum disorders are defined as neurodevelopmental disorders described as persistent deficits which limit the student’s ability to access the educational process. Symptoms must have been present in the early developmental period, and cause limitations in social, academic, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning.
  • Mental Health: Mental Health disability is defined as a persistent psychological or psychiatric disability, or emotional or mental illness that limits the student’s ability to access the educational process.
  • Other Health Conditions and Disabilities: This category includes other health conditions, and/or disabilities that affect a major life activity, which are otherwise not defined but which limit the student’s ability to access the educational process.

Does DSPS have any financial assistance available for students with disabilities?

We do not have any financial assistance available through our office.

What accommodations and services are available on the Del Norte Campus?

At the Del Norte campus, students with disabilities may receive accommodations and services similar to those offered at Eureka campus; except for services that are not available like transportation assistance and instruction in assistive technology.  DSPS services include academic advising, support with individualized accommodation plans, learning disability assessments, and Educational Assistance classes.  DSPS staff are located in the LIGHT center which is adjacent to the library.  

Educational Assistance classes (GUID 145-148) held in the LIGHT Center offer applied study skills and strategies which are designed to enhance success in mainstream coursework.  All students may enroll in these courses regardless of whether they are receiving DSPS services.  Individualized Assessment and Academic Planning class (GUID 143) is offered for students who have been screened for a possible learning disability. These classes are offered during the Fall and Spring semesters.

What is the LIGHT Center?

The LIGHT Centers are located on the Eureka and the Del Norte Campus. Students named the LIGHT Center "Learning Integrating Guidance with High Technology" in Fall 1997 after describing the experience they have when they understand a concept, as it being like the "light" goes on. 

There are 2 classes offered through the LIGHT Center:

  • Guidance 143 (Introduction to Learning Disabilities) is the course students take in order to be tested for a learning disability. They must have a DSPS Counselor/Advisor referral to take this class.
  • Guidance 145-148 (Adaptive Strategies for the Learning Disabled) are the courses students take for instructional assistance.  No referral is required to take these classes.

These classes are open entry courses that may be added at any time in the semester, as long as space is available.

What is alternate media?

Alternate media refers to text or other materials produced in a specialized format intended for use by persons with disabilities. Types include, but are not limited to: Braille, large print, audio material, certain types of electronic files, and video with closed and open captioning. Alternate media services are housed in the DSPS Office on the Eureka Campus. Students should first contact the DSPS office on their campus to inquire about receiving this accommodation.

Who can ride the DSPS Van?

Only students with verified mobility disabilities, who are registered with DSPS, may use the on campus van transportation on the Eureka Campus. (A student in need of mobility assistance but who has not completed the proper paperwork, or is not registered with DSPS yet, may have one ride without paperwork down to the DSPS office to start the process.) Unfortunately, children may not ride on the DSPS van for liability reasons and because the van is not equipped with car seats, etc.

Where can students with disabilities park?

All students must purchase a CR parking permit to use on campus parking - unless they have a state handicapped parking permit ("Blue Placard").  Students with "Blue Placard" parking may park in any designated parking space on campus, i.e. student, staff, medical or handicapped. They may not park in non-designated parking areas, i.e. loading zones, no parking zones, etc.

Medical Parking permits are available through the DSPS office on a temporary basis, with a medical verification from a doctor. With this permit, students may park in student parking, staff parking or medical parking spaces. They may not use the handicapped spaces.

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)?

The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunication. It also applies to the United State Congress. To be protected by the ADA, one must have a disability or have a relationship or association with an individual with a disability. An individual with a disability is defined by the ADA as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. The ADA does not specifically name all of the impairments that are covered. Full text of Law is 42 pages, and may be found at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/adahom1.htm.

What is Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973?

Congress passes Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It is a civil rights statute designed to prevent discrimination against individuals with disabilities. It provides that:

"No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States, as defined in section 705(20) of this title, shall, solely by reason of his or her disability, 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" (Emphasis added). 20 USC 794.

What is the major difference between Section 504 and the ADA?

Section 504 only applies to entities that receive federal financial assistance. Whereas the ADA covers most establishments whether privately owned or assisted with state and/or federal funds. While the College must be in compliance with both, Section 504 and the ADA, the ADA provides greater protection to individuals with disabilities.

What is Section 508 (Section 508 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973)?

The purpose of this part is to implement Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 794d). Section 508 requires that when the College develops, procures, maintains, or uses electronic and information technology, that they be accessible to individuals with disabilities. Full text of the Law is 4 pages and may be found at www.section508.gov.