Disability Information Student Handbook

Special Education Is Now Disability Support Programs & Services

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Section Two: Using Disability Services and Accommodations

Basic Questions

Who is eligible for disability services and accommodations?

Students may be eligible if:

  • there is an impairment that limits one or more major life activities like walking, seeing, hearing, learning, reading.
  • the impairment is significant enough to prevent obtaining full benefit from classes, activities or services of the college with or without additional support services, “reasonable accommodations” (see accommodation section) or academic adjustments.
  • progress can be made as defined by the college’s academic standards and the Student’s Educational Contract as written by the student and the Disability Support Programs and Services division professional.
It is also important to consider whether you can benefit from the type of educational setting at De Anza. For instance, most classes at De Anza enroll 20 or more students and require a substantial commitment to study and work out of class.

In order to be successful, students need to be able to:

  • profit from instruction by a teacher to a large group of students
  • work independently
  • complete outside assignments with a minimum of guidance
  • participate in small group and laboratory activities
  • attend to instructional activities which last a minimum of one hour
  • collaborate cooperatively with others in an educational environment

How do I establish my eligibility for services and accommodations?

If you think you are eligible and want to request services, you will need to contact either DSS or EDC. Make a contact with the programs to obtain information before you enroll at the college, or as soon as possible afterwards. Monthly information meetings are the best method, although you may contact the division secretaries. (See Orientation and Information Meetings, Section One: Learning About De Anza.)

You will be required to document your disability as a first step. Qualified medical and other specified professionals outside of the college generally complete the forms for documentation of a significant impairment. The student is responsible for providing this information to the designated staff person at either EDC or DSS. For students with learning disabilities who do not have prior documentation, professionals on campus may be able to do the evaluation. (See Section Two: General Accommodations, Assessment for Learning Disability)

Once your documentation is submitted, you will meet with an EDC advisor or DSS counselor to develop a Student Educational Contract (SEC). This plan will address your goals and the services and accommodations you need. (per California Education Code Title V, Section 56002-56006)

What are accommodations, auxiliary aids and support services

Accommodations and auxiliary aids consist of the following:

  • modifications to classes, programs or requirements
  • services required in order to participate in the educational programs

Examples include classroom interpreters, test accommodations, and books in alternative format.

They must be related to the educational limitations caused by a disability. The reason for using them is to provide a student with a disability an equal educational opportunity.

Accommodations are not to:

  • lower the college’s or the instructor’s academic standards
  • alter requirements essential to the course or program
  • give a student with a disability an advantage over other students
  • guarantee that a student is successful
  • present an undue burden to the college
There are many student service programs on campus that assist with student retention and success. Like these, the programs for students with disabilities also offer services that are not necessarily legally mandated accommodations, but which promote student achievement. Examples of these services include shuttle service, specialized tutoring, and targeted scholarships. Your counselor/advisor will inform you of supportive services and will assist you in deciding how to obtain and use these services.

How are accommodations determined?

A student who requests accommodations or auxiliary aids must:

  • provide a disability documentation
  • meet with a DSS counselor or EDC advisor to mutually determine the appropriate accommodations

Accommodation decisions:

  • are decided on an individual basis
  • take into consideration student history and preferences
  • are based on course requirements and the student’s educational limitations
  • are reviewed and evaluated for their effectiveness in providing equal access
  • are changed or stopped if necessary
Your advisor or counselor may recommend accommodations to you. Students should provide feedback to their counselor/advisors on how their accommodations are working. We will assume your accommodation is effective unless you tell us otherwise.

If you encounter a specific problem in a class that requires an accommodation not generally available, request a “Reasonable Accommodation Request Form” from DSS or EDC so that the problem can be reviewed and a solution proposed.

Who is responsible for arranging accommodations and auxiliary aids?

Students must make all accommodation requests in a timely manner. It is always best to think about courses and their requirements ahead and try to anticipate your own needs. Generally, the student and DSS or EDC will work together to ensure accommodations are in place.

You should discuss your accommodations with your classroom instructor. It is important to explain to them how your accommodation relates to and compensates for your educational limitation. There are sample dialogues in the Appendix to help you practice this. Remember if the accommodation is not related to your disability, there is no basis for it.

Sometimes you may ask the instructor directly for an accommodation, such as tape recording the lecture, assistance with locating a volunteer note taker, or an adjustment in a time line. In other cases, such as test accommodation, it is necessary to obtain an authorization form. Last, if the accommodation is unusual or may be difficult to explain, you may be advised to get an Authorization Memo from your counselor/advisor.

Since you have a critical role in ensuring that accommodations are in place and appropriate, we have developed a timeline checklist for you to use in planning for accommodations. See the “Checklist for Planning Accommodations” in the Appendix.

What is the instructor’s role in accommodating me?

The instructor may help provide an accommodation, where appropriate. Most often, the instructor’s role will be to cooperate with the provision of accommodations DSS or EDC recommends.

The instructor does not have the right to know your diagnosis unless you choose to share it . Confidentiality regarding your accommodation needs must be maintained.

The instructor does have the right to:
  • confirm that you have documented your disability with the Special Education Division
  • understand what the appropriate accommodations are for a given situation
  • contact DSS or EDC if they have any concerns or questions
  • challenge an accommodation if they believe it alters essential course content, or lowers academic standards, or presents an undue burden
In the event your instructor raises a concern about the accommodation or disagrees with it, you should contact DSS or EDC to review the situation before discussing it further with your instructor.


DISH Building:

Last Updated: 10/13/10