Support for Students with Disabilities
Harford Community College is dedicated to collaborating with students with documented disabilities to ensure equal access to all College educational opportunities and services.
To accomplish this, students must be their own advocates. Unlike high school, accommodations are not automatically put into place. Students must follow Disability and Student Intervention Services (DSIS) procedures to secure any accommodations they wish to obtain.
- After a student applies to the College they must go to Harford Accommodate and fill out the requested information. This includes documentation of your disability.
- Once that information is received, DSIS will contact you to schedule an orientation where you will learn about resources, students' rights and responsibilities, discuss specific barriers and accommodations.
- When that is completed, the student will receive a letter through their OwlMail account detailing next steps to secure accommodations for the semester through the Harford Accommodate portal.
DSIS is responsible for promoting accessible campus environments for students with disabilities, working with students and others to identify reasonable accommodations that remove barriers to access, and ensuring that accommodations determined to be reasonable are provided and effective.
DSIS is a member of the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD). AHEAD provides knowledge and guidance on issues related to higher education disability services and best practices.
Are you dual-enrolled or a student transitioning from high school? Do you use or have you used accommodation in high school. Learn more below about what may be similar and different at Harford Community College.
Students seeking accommodations at HCC may have received accommodations in their K-12 education through an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 plan. The laws that govern K - 12, The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Subpart D, include not only accommodations, but services and modifications that are typically created to ensure successful graduation. While these documents can be helpful in providing Disability and Student Intervention Staff with historical disability and accommodation information, the listed accommodations will not automatically apply at HCC or another higher education setting.
Higher Education Accommodations
Higher education is governed by different laws than K-12 education. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Subpart E outline the college’s equal access responsibilities. Generally, institutions of higher education provide reasonable accommodations to ensure that students have equal access to their education compared to their nondisabled peers, rather than ensuring academic success. The responsibility for learning and successfully meeting academic requirements falls on the student with or without accommodations.
The U.S. Department of Education provides helpful information on their website: Preparing for Postsecondary Education.
Accommodations are changes to the learning environment or tasks necessary to ensure equal access for students with a disability. Accommodations are determined on an individual basis to best meet students’ needs. DSIS engages in a structured exchange with the student to explore previous educational experiences, past use of accommodations, and what has been effective and ineffective in providing access. Ensuring that “accommodations” provide effective access requires a deliberative and collaborative process that is responsive to the unique experience of each individual, as advised by the ADA. Examples of accommodations for equal access include but are not limited to:
- Classroom Accommodations
- Access to PowerPoint Slides
- Preferential Seating
- Ability to Step Out of Class
- Notetaking Assistance
- Testing Accommodations
- Extended Time
- Distraction Reduced Setting
- Assistive Technology
- Audio Record Lecture
- Books in Alternate Format
DSIS requires that all students requesting services provide thorough documentation of their disability from a qualified professional. Disability documentation should be current and relevant but not necessarily recent. A copy of the student’s IEP or 504 plan from high school is not sufficient documentation, but can be used as supplemental information about the student’s educational and accommodation history.
If you do not have documentation already, the certification forms below were developed to provide DSIS with the information needed to determine which accommodations and services are appropriate. Please have your provider fill out the appropriate form as completely as possible. Complete documentation must be provided before accommodations can be put in place.
Certification of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Certification of Autism Spectrum Disorders
Certification of Hearing Impairment
Certification of Mobility, Physical, Health Neurological
Certification of Psychological Disability
If a student does not currently have documentation, the guidelines below were developed by DSIS to assist your provider with what the documentation should contain.
It is highly suggested that you keep a personal copy of all documentation submitted to DSIS. DSIS does not release copies of documentation back to students or send documentation to other institutions.
Assistive Technology is commonly used as an academic accommodation. Below are some of the technologies that DSIS provides on campus.
- KURZWEIL 3000
Reading comprehension software that scans printed text, then reads the contents of the printed document aloud. It also reads aloud words typed on the screen.
Enlarges a specified area of the computer’s display and can be customized to the user’s preferences
Screen reading software that uses speech synthesis to read the contents of the display window
Used to record audio from lectures to enable students to relisten to a lecture, type notes, upload PowerPoint slides and images, organize audio and complete their notes.
- DRAGON NATURALLY SPEAKING
Speech recognition software that allows users to control the PC using voice commands. It also allows users to dictate documents into their favorite processor using discrete speech.
- FM SYSTEM
Eliminates background noise and ensures that a speaker is heard clearly.
- LARGE PRINT KEYBOARD
A keyboard labeled with large print for a low-vision user.
- PORTABLE VIDEO MAGNIFIER AND CCTV
Hand held and mounted assistive devices used to magnify and display printed material.
- ADJUSTABLE COMPUTER WORKSTATION
Workstation that can be raised or lowered to accommodate a student’s needs
Waivers are available for those with disabilities and for parents of deaf or hard of hearing individuals. Take a look if you think that you may be eligible.
DID YOU KNOW . . .Delta Alpha Pi is an international honor society for those with disabilities. Check us out and get involved!
The ADA, Section 504, and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protect you and every student with a disability who participates in higher learning.