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DISABILITY RESOURCE CENTER

STUDENT HANDBOOK

       
Revised December 2012

This handbook is published for informational purposes. Every effort is made to ensure its accuracy; however, the provisions and content of this handbook are not to be regarded as an irrevocable contract between the student and the college.  Information in this catalog is subject to change in accordance with state and federal laws.

Contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) to request alternate format of this handbook.

 

ABOUT OUR PROGRAM


OUR PHILOSOPHY
The Disability Resource Center encourages student autonomy, independence, and responsibility. The program promotes equal educational opportunity and access, serving as an advocate of student rights under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.


OUR VALUES
Student Success
Collaboration
Respect
Integrity
Diversity
Responsiveness
Continuous Improvement


WHO QUALIFIES?
DRC services are for students with a verifiable disability that creates an educational limitation. The disability may be permanent or temporary, and the student must enroll with a DRC Counselor. Special accommodations are provided to create a "level playing field" for the student.


HOW DO I APPLY?
Students enroll with a DRC Counselor, who will assist with verifying your disability, and determining the special accommodations that will help you achieve your goals. To begin this process, contact the DRC office to schedule an intake appointment. Call 468-3031 or email the Program Assistant for the program: adiebold@mendocino.edu.


OUR LOCATION
The Disability Resource Center is located in Room 1000, MacMillan Hall, Ukiah campus. Counselors also see students at the Lake and Willits Centers. Students may access services at the campus of their choice.


DEFINITIONS


Accommodation
An accommodation is an adjustment that Mendocino College will offer to create “a level playing field,” so that you can succeed in your coursework.

A simple example: Nicole has poor vision. She comes to class, and the instructor passes out a quiz that she can’t even see. How well is Nicole going to do on this quiz, if she can’t even read it?

Solution: Nicole enrolls with the DRC, and all her quizzes are enlarged so she can read them. The next time there’s a quiz, the instructor gives Nicole the enlarged version, and she takes the test like anyone else. Does Nicole have a special advantage, because her exams are enlarged? No, but now she has an equal chance of doing well on the exam, just like any other student in the class. The accommodation has created “a level playing field,” for Nicole to succeed.

Please Note:
Elementary and high school students are subject to the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) which requires the school to create an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for all disabled students. This is the school's responsibility.

The Community College system is not subject to the IDEA, and so the process is different. Mendocino College students who want services or accommodations must request them, by scheduling an Intake appointment with a Counselor, and completing an application process.

Neither classroom assignments nor instructor expectations are modified for DRC students; instead, services and accommodations are provided to help DRC students succeed in the same coursework as their peers. This protects the integrity of our programs

ADA
The Americans with Disabilities Act is Civil Rights Legislation that prohibits discrimination based on disability. Many people will remember the ADA as the Federal law that required changes in public access changes such as:
* Disabled parking spaces and accessible bathrooms for the wheelchair-bound.
* Braille signage for the blind.
* Closed-captioning for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.


The ADA was signed into Federal Law in 1990, and defines a disability as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity." Exclusions include active substance abuse, and vision impairment that is correctable by prescription lenses.

Mendocino College complies with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, providing accommodations such as:
* Disabled parking spaces.
* Automatic doors.
* Accessible bathrooms, telephones, drinking fountains, walkways, classrooms.
* Wheelchair-accessible desks.
* Braille maps and signage.
* TTY telephone for Deaf or Hard of Hearing.
* Visual (flashing) fire alarms.

These accommodations are available to all students, employees, prospective employees, and visitors as a matter of Public Access and ADA compliance. You do you not have to request these accommodations, and you do not have to enroll with the DRC to get these accommodations.

Alternate Media
Alternate Media means changing to a different format.

A simple example: Nate is blind, and enrolled in Biology 200. He buys his textbook at the Bookstore, but obviously he can’t read it.

Solution: Nate enrolls with the DRC, and requests that his Biology book be transferred to an “alternate media.” The DRC gets him a PDF of his textbook. He puts the CD in his laptop, and his screen-reading software reads him the PDF out loud. In this situation, alternate media allows Nate to complete his reading assignments, and pass his class.

Other examples of Alternate Media:
* Braille books (Converts text to Braille)
* E-text of the syllabus (Converts hardcopy to electronic file that can be read on Kurzweil or screen reading software.)
* MP3 of textbooks. (Converts text to audio.)
* Sign Language Interpreting. (Converts audio to ASL)
* Captioning (Converts speech to text)
* Enlarged text (Enlargements for students with Low Vision.)

Assistive Technology
Assistive Technology means software or equipment used to accommodate students with disabilities. Some assistive technology is high tech, such as a laser head-pointer for mobility impairment. Other assistive technology is low-tech, such as a tape recorder for students with auditory processing deficit. There is a wide variety of assistive technology available to overcome many types of barriers.

For example: Julie has Learning Disabilities and difficulty reading. She is having trouble keeping up with her assignments, and she is getting behind.

Solution: Julie enrolls with the DRC, and her Counselor helps her enroll in a Learning Skills class. She learns to use the Kurzweil software, and now she can complete her assignments on time.  In this situation, the assistive technology accommodation has created a “level playing field,” so that Julie has an equal chance to do well in her classes.

At Mendocino College, the DRC Counselor is responsible for determining which students qualify for assistive technology. The Alternate Media Specialist prepares the media (issued on CD,) and the Instructional Assistant teaches them how to use it.

Learning Disability
Learning Disabilities are individual differences in how students receive, process, store, and respond to information. A Learning Disability doesn’t mean you’re “dumb.” In fact, people with low IQ are NEVER diagnosed as Learning Disabled, because to be considered Learning Disabled, you must have an IQ that is average or above.

About 10% of the population is Learning Disabled (LD.) Students who are LD can succeed and even excel, if they get appropriate accommodations, and apply individualized learning strategies. If you have been diagnosed with Learning Disabilities, we strongly recommend that you enroll in Learning Skills courses to analyze your learning preferences, and develop strategies that will work for you.

In addition, a DRC Counselor may recommend additional accommodations to help you compensate for you Learning Disabilities. Be advised: Accommodations will help you learn better, but they don’t do the work for you. You still have to show up, do the assignments, and work hard, just like any other student. LD accommodations do not give you an advantage, they only “create a level playing field,” so that if you work hard, you can succeed, just like any other Mendocino College student.

Letter of Accommodation
Your Counselor will determine which accommodations you need. The accommodations are transferred to a "Letter of Accommodation" that the student gives to each Instructor. The Letter of Accommodation informs the Instructor that he or she needs to make special arrangements for the student. The instructor signs the letter, indicating that they understand what you need and will cooperate with making necessary arrangements.
Very Important: The Letter of Accommodation does not reveal the nature of the student's disability. The Instructor does not need to know that information in order to assist with the accommodation. You are under no obligation to divulge your personal information to the Instructor, though you may if you wish.


ACCOMMODATIONS


Getting Accommodations
Students who need accommodations should contact the Disability Resource Center (468-3031 or adiebold@mendocino.edu) to schedule a confidential intake appointment with a DRC Counselor. This includes students who:
* Had an IEP in high school or elementary School.
* Have a verified medical disability.
* Have been diagnosed as Deaf or Hard of Hearing, or are having trouble hearing in class.
* Students who are blind, Legally blind, or whose poor vision is affecting performance.
* Have a temporary disability or illness.
* Have a psychological diagnosis, like Depression, Bi-polar, or Anxiety Disorder.
* Have Learning Disabilities, or think they need testing for Learning Disabilities.
* Have mobility or other problems that may require special arrangements.
* Have other special circumstances that they would like to discuss in a confidential environment.

Blind and Low Vision
Not so long ago, the only solutions for students with vision problems were Braille textbooks, or a human reader. Many other tools have been developed that help students get easier access to materials, greater independence, and increased options.
Here are some of the tools we can offer to students with visual deficits: screen reading software, screen-enlarging software, audio files of
textbooks and other classroom materials, Braille, enlarged text, or extra time on tests.
 
Deaf and Hard of Hearing
If you are Deaf, or your hearing loss is affecting classroom performance, we encourage you to enroll with the DRC to arrange services. Services we can provide include: Sign Language Interpreting, loan of audio amplification equipment, captioning, and classroom note takers. Students accessing ASL Interpreters must stay in close touch with Counselors and staff, and report all absences and schedule changes well in advance. 

Learning Disabilities
Mendocino College offers many accommodations that can help LD students succeed in the classroom and achieve academic goals.
Your DRC Counselor will discuss your specific situation with you, and develop a strategy that will help you. Accommodations may include specialized reading or writing software, audio files of your textbooks, Learning Skills classes, Test Anxiety classes, tape recorders, spell checkers, note takers, or extra time on tests.

Mobility and Ergonomic
All Mendocino College campuses and classrooms are equipped with automatic doors, accessible bathrooms, ADA-compliant desks, and other accommodations, to help students with mobility or ergonomic problems such as:
* Arthritis or Carpel Tunnel
* Cerebral Palsy
* Multiple Sclerosis
* Stoke or Acquired Brain injury
* Automobile accidents

Some students may need additional assistance, and in these situations, the DRC Counselor may authorize specialized accommodations to help a student succeed in the classroom environment. Accommodations may include Speech-to-Text software, specialized keyboards, e-text or audio textbooks, note takers, scribes, or extra time on tests.

Other Types of Disability
The DRC also assists students with many other types of disabilities, such as short term memory loss, Cancer, HIV, Depression, Anxiety Disorders, Asperger’s, MS, Fibromyalgia, heart problems, just to name a few. If a physical, mental, or emotional condition is affecting your ability to learn, study, or attend class, talk to your Counselor to develop a strategy to help you perform better in your classes.

 

PROCEDURAL


Applying for DRC Services
DRC services are voluntary. Students are not required to apply for services to receive Federally-mandated accommodations, such as automatic doors, disabled parking, or accessible counters and bathrooms. Students who wish to receive academic accommodations, such as Sign-Language Interpreting, e-text, or a note taker, must register for services. Here is the procedure:


1. Contact the DRC to schedule an Intake appointment.
2. Meet with a DRC Counselor.
3. Sign releases of information to obtain medical verification of your disability.
4. Get Letters of Accommodation from your Counselor.
5. Present each Instructor with the Letter of Accommodation.
6. Meet with your Counselor each semester to monitor progress and make adjustments to your Accommodations and Education Plan.


Disabled Access Parking
Accessible van or vehicle parking spaces designated for individuals with disabilities are located at each campus. The Ukiah campus map provides the location of parking lots, accessible pathways, and accessible entrances to buildings on campus. Contact Center staff for information about parking and access at Willits and Lake Centers.
Individuals with disabilities must display a valid California Department of Motor Vehicles Disability Placard, or a DP License plate.

Adults with Learning Disabilities
Mendocino College offers courses are specially designed for enrolled students with a verified Learning Disability. These courses will teach you skills to succeed in your academic or vocational courses.

Courses include:
* LRS 2: Adapted Computer Access for Students with Disabilities
* LRS 10: Reading Strategies for Students with Learning Disabilities
* LRS 11: Writing Strategies for Students with Learning Disabilities
* LRS 12: Math Strategies for Students with Learning Disabilities
* LRS 14: Mainstream Strategies for Students with Learning Disabilities

LRS classes are not open enrollment; they are only available to students in the DRC program. Your Counselor will assist you with the registration process for these courses.

Developmentally Disabled Adults
Mendocino College offers courses designed for Adults with Developmental Disabilities or severe mobility impairments. To enroll in these courses, meet with a DRC Counselor to discuss your specific needs. You may bring an aide or advocate with you if you wish. The Counselor will help you choose appropriate classes, and will give you a signed Registration Card that you can take to the Admissions & Records Department.


Current course offerings include:
* PEG 50: Adaptive Physical Fitness
* PEG 55: Adaptive Resistance Training

Special Testing Accommodations
Some students have a disability that prevents them from testing accurately in the regular classroom setting. These students may qualify for special testing accommodations. Testing accommodations must be directly related to the student’s disability-related educational limitations.  Accommodations may include:
* Extended time to complete the exam
* A distraction-reduced environment
* A reader and/or scribe
* Use of special equipment or software that is not available in the classroom.

Please Note: “Extended Time” is only granted if it is determined to be appropriate by the DRC professional staff. It is also to be used only for in-class, timed exams. Extended time is not applicable for long-term projects such as take-home exams or term papers.

Tutoring
If you are having trouble in a class --falling behind, or not understanding the material-- we recommend that you speak with a Counselor as soon as you recognize a problem. The Counselor may be able to adjust your accommodations, or help you transfer to a more appropriate class.
Tutoring is often a big help! Tutoring and study groups are available from the Learning Center. Please be aware that you must request a tutor; your instructor will not do this for you, and neither will your Counselor.

Very important: Instructors are not tutors; this is not their role! You may visit them during their office hours to ask questions about the course, and your progress in the course, but they will not give you individual instruction; this is the role of a tutor.

Working with Sign Language Interpreters
The DRC will arrange Sign Language Interpreters to help students communicate in the classroom, at College appointments, and on mandatory field trips. Communication is the key to a successful experience! Keep in contact with your Counselor, and let them know if additional accommodations are needed to help you succeed.

Students using Interpreting services sign an agreement to keep staff informed of all schedule changes, and to give at least 48 hour notice if they will miss a class. Students who are habitually late, or miss class may be terminated from the service.

 

ISSUES


Do I have to register with the DRC to get services?
It is your decision whether you use the DRC services, but be aware that if you need services such as interpreters or audio books, you must see a DRC counselor. Other services, such as tutoring, academic counseling, or career counseling are available to any student, disabled or not.
All students are entitled to the accommodations mandated by Americans with Disabilities Act, whether or not they choose to access additional services through the DRC. These would include accessible seating, doors and counters, Braille signage, visual alarms for the Deaf, etc.
We recommend that you speak with a Counselor to get information to help you decide whether DRC services are the best option to help you meet your academic and personal goals.

Student Conduct
Students with disabilities are expected to observe the same policies governing all students, including the Student Code of Conduct. Having a disability does not change this fact! Our goal is to maintain a safe and productive environment for everyone here: students, faculty, staff, and visitors.
Familiarize yourself with the Code of Conduct, and see your Counselor right away if you have a question, or need help resolving an issue in a specific classroom situation.

I think I may have a Learning Disability
There are many factors and conditions that impact academic success, such as poor attendance; working too much; procrastination and poor time management; distracting family problems; poor study skills; lack of clear goals. The College Career & Success Department offers classes to help student assess issues and learn skills to succeed and meet their goals:

  • CCS 10 Transition to College
  • CCS 60 College Success
  • CCS 100 Career Planning Success
  • CCS 102 Job Search Skills
  • CCS 124 Successful Online Student
  • CCS 221 Becoming a Master Student
  • CCS 500 Immigrant's Guide to Landing a Job.

If you have addressed all these issues and still have trouble learning, you may have a Learning Disability, such as:

  • Dyslexia (trouble reading)
  • Dyscalculia (trouble manipulating numbers)
  • Dysgraphia (trouble with words or writing)
  • Auditory or Visual processing Disorder (difficulty understanding lectures, or interpreting visual aids, such as graphs or charts)

Learning Disabilities make it difficult for students to absorb and process information in the same way as other students in the class. This does not mean you can't learn; it means you learn differently, and may need to make adjustments in the way you study.

If you think you may have a Learning Disability, discuss this with a DRC Counselor. Students may be referred the Learning Disability Specialist, who will discuss your situation with you in greater detail. If a Learning Disability is suspected, testing will be arranged. There is no charge for this testing, but be aware that the total process takes three or four appointments and approximately eight hours of testing!

Confidentiality
All information in DRC student files is confidential, and we take this very seriously! Your files, case notes, and documentation are kept under lock and key, and are not accessible to other Counselors, faculty, or staff.  Electronic information is password protected, and accessible only to DRC staff; other Counselors and other departments cannot access your case notes, medical records, or testing results.

We do not release your records to anyone else without your permission. This includes but is not limited to: parents, advocates, and other agencies.  We will release information to third parties (advocates, Social Security, Voc Rehab, etc.) if you wish, but only with your written authorization.

What if I'm not getting my accommodation?
If you are not getting your accommodation, here are possible scenarios:

  • You haven't signed up with the DRC. Mendocino College does not know you need an accommodation unless you let us know. Students must attend an Intake appointment with a DRC Counselor, and must request services every semester. We do not automatically assume that you want accommodations for the next semester. Also, we want to speak with you about how well the accommodations worked for you, so we can make changes and adjustments if necessary.
  • You didn't give the Instructor the Letter of Accommodation. As explained in the section on Confidentiality, your personal information is not shared with other Departments or other staff. So, your instructor does not know that you have a disability, and will not know that you need an accommodation unless you inform them.
  • You are asking for an accommodation that is not on the Letter.  Instructors and other staff are specifically cautioned to give the only accommodations in your plan, and not to offer accommodations that are not approved by the DRC Counselor. For example, if you ask your Instructor for extra time on tests, and it's not on your Letter, you're not going to get it, even if you need it! But if you do need extra time, go to your Counselor; they can issue you a revised Letter of Accommodation to give to your Instructor and problem solved.
  • Your Instructor forgot. Instructors usually get a large volume of Letters of Accommodations on the first day of class, before they have even learned the names of their students. Sometimes a few things may "fall through the cracks." Human error and it's nothing personal. If you aren't getting your accommodation, remind the Instructor of what you need, and that will usually solve the problem. If it doesn't solve the problem, or you need help approaching a particular instructor, see your Counselor. Take care of this early in the semester, so you don't get behind in your coursework!

The Role of Parents and other Advocates
Students who have a long-term disability often have parents, friends, aides, or agency advocates who are invaluable support to them. These advocates often accompany students to their appointments and classes, and they are accustomed to being involved in decision-making.
While we appreciate the assistance of community advocates, it is our goal at the DRC to help students to become as independent as possible, to formulate their own goals, and to speak for themselves to the extent possible. We appreciate that this may involve a period of adjustment and re-learning for both the student and advocate.
Per our Confidentiality Policy, we will not give student information to parents or other advocates without express permission from the student. In addition, it is our preference that students who are able will attend Counseling, Financial Aid, and other appointments and classes by themselves, and will develop independent transportation strategies to the extent possible. DRC Counselors refer to a Student Learning Outcome strategy that helps move the student toward independence and self-sufficiency.

Service Locations


Counselors
The DRC Counselor offices are in the Student Services office, Room 1000 MacMillan Hall on the Ukiah Campus. To schedule an appointment, call 707-468-3031 or email adiebold@mendocino.edu.

Learning Disability Specialist
The Learning Disability Specialist teaches Learning Skills classes and performs professional learning assessments. If you need testing, your Counselor will help you schedule this appointment. 707-468-3031 or drc@mendocino.edu.
       
Learning Skills Lab
The Learning Skills Lab is a study environment where students can get coaching and support to develop learning strategies to help with their particular situation. Learning Specialists help with study skills, test-taking strategies, math phobia, and learning disabilities of all kinds. Learning Disability Assessment is available for students as appropriate. The Learning Skills Lab is located in Room 4131, Library/Learning Center. 468-3032 or drc@mendocino.edu.

High Tech Center
The High Tech Center provides training in the use of adaptive computer technology to allow students with orthopedic, visual, learning, or other disabilities to access computers. We have equipment for voice-activated computer use, text-reading scanners, adaptive keyboard and mouse, and screen enlargement. Students who want to access this equipment investigate courses in the "Learning Skills" Department (LRS.) 468-3032 or drc@mendocino.edu.

Alternate Media Specialist
The Alternate Media Specialist produces classroom materials in a format that accommodates the student needs. This may include Braille textbooks, Sign Language interpreting, large-print, e- text, or audio books. 468-3031 or drc@mendocino.edu.
      
Mental Health Counseling
The DRC can help you schedule a confidential appointment with a licensed Mental Health Counselor. Your DRC Counselor can help you arrange these services. Students are seen in Student Services, Room 1000, MacMillan Hall. 468-3031 or drc@mendocino.edu.
      
Learning Skills Classes (LRS)
A Learning Disabilities Specialist provides Learning Disability assessment, small group instruction, and advising to support academic and vocational goals.


Adaptive Physical Education (PEG)
Adaptive PE classes help students develop a healthy exercise regimen in with respect to conditions such as CP, stroke, ABI, developmental delay, accidents, MS or other medical condition. 468-3031 or drc@mendocino.edu.

For more information


Mendocino College Catalog
The College Catalog is the best resource for information on admissions, degrees and certificates, course offerings, graduation, and your appeal rights. For a successful college experience, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the information in the catalog, and speak to your Counselor if you have any questions.

DRC Web Site
This handbook has general information about DRC programs and services. The DRC web site has in-depth information on these topics and many other topics.

Career and Transfer Center
Your Counselor will give you general information about employment and educational opportunities after you graduate.  To make specific post-graduate plans, we recommend that you visit the Career and Transfer Center for in-depth services and advice.

Financial Aid
We recommend that you visit the Financial Aid Office to investigate resources to finance your career and educational goals. The Student Services office can assist you with applications for scholarships.

Contacts

 
DRC Staff
Rhea Hollis, Coordinator/Counselor – 468-3031
Andrea Diebold, Administrative Assistant - 468-3031
Susan Orozco, LD/ACT Instructional Assistant - 468-3032
Tascha Whetzel, Learning Disability Specialist - 468-3151

College Offices
Admissions and Records - 468-3101
Bookstore - 468-3058
DRC Reception - 468-3031
Financial Aid - 468-3110
High Tech Center - 468-3032
Lake Center - 263-4944
Learning Center - 468-3046
Student Services - 468-3105
Willits Center - 459-6224
Career and Transfer Center - 468-3044

 

Created: January 12, 2010 @ 01:50 PM
Last Modified: January 29, 2013 @ 12:38 PM

 





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