Orientation for Students with Disabilities
Greetings. The purpose of this presentation is to introduce you to The Student Accommodation Center at Lakeland Community College. In addition, we will discuss our approach for providing services and strategies that reduce or remove barriers to education for students with disabilities.
First, let's introduce the team. The Counselors for Students with disabilities are:
Al Kirsh, M.Ed.
The secretary for the department is Cindi Putrino. The office can be reached at 440-525-7020 or you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. As you will find, it is always best to make an appointment, but walk-ins are accepted as long as a counselor is available.
THE STUDENT ACCOMMODATION CENTER
"Breaking Down Barriers"
The Student Accommodation Center at Lakeland Community College is located in the Learning Center, Room A-1044. It's mission is to provide students with disabilities an equal opportunity to learn through academic accommodations and improved study and learning strategies.
If you apply to the college and wish to receive accommodations related to your disability, this orientation is the first step in the process. This is also a MANDATORY step and you will be asked to print and sign a Confirmation Form at the end of the presentation. Please bring that form, along with two others which will be discussed later, to your initial appointment with a Counselor for Students with Disabilities.
The Student Accommodation Center's primary goal for each student is to have him or her become as independent as possible when learning. You will notice that many of our policies, procedures, services and philosophies have been developed with that specifically in mind.
We use teamwork and communication within the office to provide comprehensive services in an effective and efficient manner. Students can be assured that our office procedures allow any of the counselors to step in at any time and have a reasonable grasp of your case.
In high school, the "Individuals with Disabilities Education Act" or "I.D.E.A.," gives primary and secondary schools the responsibility to determine your disability status and the services needed to address your academic barriers. This law no longer applies to you once you leave high school. In fact, you will find that the greatest difference between high school and college is the shift in responsibility for dealing with your disability.
At the college level, there are two federal laws that provide the basis for the services provided by the Student Accommodation Center. These are "Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973" and The Americans with Disabilities Act or "ADA." These laws were written to provide equal access to public services for individuals with disabilities. Since Lakeland Community College is a public institution receiving funds from the Federal Government, we are obligated to provide reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities. It is your responsibility, however, to provide current documentation of your disability and request reasonable accommodations or ask for assistance in determining them.
You can obtain further information about these laws by going to:
GETTING ON THE ACTIVE ROSTER
If you decide that you would like to receive services from our office, you will need to be on the "Active Roster." To do so, you will have to set up an appointment to see one of the Counselors for Students with Disabilities to discuss issues that are specific to your case each term. Procedures involved in getting your accommodations will also be discussed. Please note that only students on the "Active Roster" will be eligible to receive reasonable accommodations at Lakeland Community College.
There are a few things you will need to do to be prepared for that meeting and begin the process of getting on the active roster. The first step will be to fill out our Student Information Form. This includes information we use to put you into our database and keep track of your case.
The second form you will be asked to complete is the Student Release of Information Form. Completion of this form gives us permission to release information as necessary about your case to appropriate individuals that work at Lakeland Community College. Typically, those individuals are instructors, but may also include deans, vice presidents or others employed by Lakeland that may be involved in your educational circumstances.
You will notice some blank lines in the middle of the form with the titles "Agency" and "Student Initial and Date." Approximately one-half of our students need us to speak to someone that does not work at the college at some point in their career at Lakeland. This can be a service agency, another college, or a doctor to name a few. We cannot communicate with anyone employed outside the college without you giving us specific written permission to do so. That is the purpose of those blank lines. Typically, however, students leave that area blank. You can always add names to the form at a later date.
At the end of this presentation you will be able to print these two forms as well as the Confirmation Form. You will need to complete these forms and bring them, as well as your most recent documentation regarding your disability, to your first appointment with a Counselor for Students with Disabilities. Please call the Student Accommodation Center to arrange that appointment.
Remember, only students on the "Active Roster" are eligible to receive services in a given term. Further, you will have to see a Counselor in the Student Accommodation Center a minimum of two times each term to maintain your status with the office. Finally, you will have to see a Counselor in the Student Accommodation Center prior to each term in which you wish to receive your accommodations.
INITIAL APPOINTMENT WITH COUNSELOR
During your initial appointment, your counselor will ask for some background information. You may be asked about your high school experiences, career goals, current employment or hobbies and interests for example. Your counselor may also ask about your strengths and weaknesses in the academic arena including study strategies. Please remember that a weakness is not necessarily a disability.
Next, we'll discuss your disability and ask that you provide your current documentation for review. Your documentation must be provided by a physician, psychologist or another professional that is qualified to make the diagnosis.
Finally, we begin to identify some of the barriers to education that might be specific to your case. For those barriers directly related to your disability, accommodations that are determined to be reasonable and providing equal access to education are determined.
Ideally, one week prior to the beginning of each term, instructors that have one or more students with documented disabilities enrolled in their course(s) are notified by email. This early notification gives instructors an opportunity to ask any questions or discuss any concerns about an accommodation prior to a student starting a course.
During the first week of every term, the student picks up an accommodation letter that confirms their enrollment with our office and lists the services they have agreed to as providing them with equal access to their education.
We then expect our students to show that letter to the instructors from whom they wish to receive accommodations and discuss the details of their plan. Students will then ask those instructors to sign their accommodation letter indicating agreement to the terms. This phase of the process has to be completed by the end of the second week of the term. Students should inform the Student Accommodation Center immediately should an instructor decline to sign the letter for any reason. It should be noted that communicating with your instructors effectively throughout each term can be a critical factor in improving your access and overall performance.
Typically, your counselor will suggest that you start your academic career with a lighter course load and focus on a gradual transition in to the college atmosphere. This allows the student to use the initial term(s) to establish study habits, to utilize the resources available at Lakeland Community College and to learn the differences between high school and college academics. As you become familiar with the demands of higher education, you will be able to add to your course load effectively.
At this time, if you wish to request academic accommodations to address your needs as a result of a currently documented disability, please take the following steps:
Thank you for watching the Students With Disabilities Orientation Video. We look forward to working with you.