- Special Services Office Administered Accommodations
- Special Privileges
- Services for International Students with Disabilities
- Audited Classes
- Personal Services such as a Personal Care Attendants (PCA)
- Students who choose to receive accommodations through the Special Services Office must provide documentation to and meet with the Special Services Coordinator/Counselor to discuss their disability needs. This is an essential step in acquiring academic accommodations. Students may request an academic accommodation, but the college is not required to provide the specific accommodation requested, if another accommodation is effective. A student is required to submit documentation of disability at the initial application for services. Documentation must specifically support the need for any accommodations requested. No accommodations will be given without appropriate documentation. If another evaluation is obtained after the initial intake or the disability has changed in some way, specifically worsened and limitations have increased, further documentation must be presented to the Special Services Office. All accommodations are decided on a case-by-case basis and are subject to change if disability-based needs change. The Special Services Office is not responsible for evaluation expenses.
- Student academic progress is monitored at midterm. Progress reports are mailed to each student who receive accommodations. It is the responsibility of the student to have each instructor complete the progress report and return it to the Special Services office. Students are required to meet with the Coordinator/Counselor to discuss midterm progress and/or request additional support.
- At the beginning of each subsequent semester, students must a request for accommodations for that semester. This can be done by filling out an Accommodation Request Form. If the disability is a hearing impairment, then a different form will be completed.
- Specialized services such as reader, note taker, interpreter etc. should be indicated on the accommodation request form.
- For each subsequent semester it is always best to request accommodations at the beginning of the semester. No accommodation request are taken the last week of classes or final exam week, unless it is requested by the professor. The professor must legally give the student a reasonable accommodation, only if the professor receives the request in a reasonable amount of time before the test. This is typically three (3) days advance notice.
For our purposes, it is important to note that self-accommodation does not mean providing oneself with access to materials (during lectures or tests) to which other students are denied access. It simply means using one’s own resources, within the bounds of those guidelines and requirements, to enhance one’s performance and minimize the impact of disability on academic achievement. For some students, it is not only the simplest but also the best choice. You might be among them if:
- You are fully aware of the effects your disability has on your academic performance and know exactly what accommodations are needed to compensate for them.
- You know where and how to get what you need to succeed without the assistance of the College.
- The benefits of accessing college-administered accommodations are less than the cost, in the time and energy, of doing so.
- You are willing to discuss your disability and its effects with instructors.
- Your disability and its effects are easily verified, by direct observation or by virtue of straightforward documentation which is in your personal possession.
- Your accommodation requirements can be fulfilled in the classroom or other facilities readily available to you, your instructor, or department head without a great deal of difficulty
There are risks that are assumed in self-accommodation. Choosing self-accommodation initially does not constitute a permanent renouncement of your right to college-administered accommodations. But it does mean you are responsible for your performance for as long as you are self-accommodating. If you choose not to self-identify as a student with a disability and/or not to request accommodation based on that identification, MCC is not responsible for any disability-related problems you may have. You cannot demand retroactive accommodation (e.g. you know you have a disability but choose not to access accommodation on that basis, and as a result fail a test because you weren’t able to gain or demonstrate the understanding you needed to pass it; the sole responsibility is yours, because you made the choice to take the test without accommodations). You may request accommodations on any remaining tests in the class, but the failing grade on that test will stand. Also, if you don’t choose to disclose your disability to the Special Services Office, you may lack the on-campus contacts which would enable you to learn about new developments in the law and MCC policy, technology, and activism which might affect your rights. And many testing agencies and graduate programs require proof of past accommodations (or an explanation for the lack of such proof) of students requesting accommodations on standardized tests or adaptations of entrance requirements based on disability. Such proof is readily available to a student whose accommodations have been provided through College channels, but may be harder for a self-accommodating student to produce.
There are definite advantages to the self-accommodation option. For example, self-accommodation affords the student the option of total privacy – no one on campus need know what the student’s disability is or even that or exists. Accommodations you provide for yourself are hand-tailored to fit exactly; nothing is just a little more or just a little less than is really needed. Forms, procedures, and externally imposed deadlines are non-issues, and if you change your mind about a tactic, no one else needs to be notified or to adapt his/her plans to accommodate the variation. The most important things to take into consideration when making the decision to self-accommodate are your priorities: what is most important to you and to your academic success? If you can succeed just as completely without assistance from the College, self-accommodation is probably perfect for you. If you can succeed, but less completely, without assistance, you must take into account the degree to which your success will be impaired and the importance of your other concerns. If you cannot succeed at all without assistance, you probably want to consider assistance. Those are questions all individuals must answer for themselves.
Here are some examples of some of the situations in which students might prefer to use the self-accommodation option:
- A student with a visual impairment is unable to read standard print; (s)he chooses to use a hand-held magnifier for reading, and perhaps make enlarged photocopies of charts, handouts, or vital notes to which (s)he might wish to refer during class.
- A student with a hearing impairment sometimes misses points in the lecture or class discussion; (s)he determines to trade notes with a fellow student and/or make tape recordings of the class to which (s)he can later listen at an amplified volume.
- A student with a mobility impairment has trouble walking swiftly; (s)he schedules non- consecutive classes so that (s)he has plenty of time to get from one building to another without rushing and with time to rest if (s)he needs it.
- A student with a chronic health problem sometimes loses concentration in class due to the side effects of medication or is forced to miss class because of illness; (s)he is present, and arrange to have the study partner tape lectures when (s)he is absent.
- A student with a psychological impairment finds it difficult to concentrate if (s)he is not near to an exit at all times; (s)he makes plans to arrive early to classes so that (s)he can secure the seats nearest the doors.
Receiving accommodations should not be regarded as giving the student, as special privileges, but rather as minimizing the impact of the disability to the greatest extent possible. It is important to remember that the professor expects the same academic performance from disabled students as the other students. The ADA and Section 504 did not intend that institutions pass students as a result of their disability. Disabled students must adhere to the same codes of conduct required by the college for all students.
International students are entitled to the same protection from nondiscrimination on the basis of disability as are U.S. citizens. Section 504 states the prohibition of discrimination covers any otherwise qualified person with a disability in the United States. Section 504 does not state the student has to be a citizen of the United States.
The legislation states any student with a disability is eligible for services if the institution receives federal assistance. Therefore, audit classes are no different than classes taken for credit.
The legislation indicates universities are not responsible to provide PCAs, readers for personal use or study, or other devices or services of a personal nature.