Student FAQs for DSS Services
What is a disability?
Per federal law, the term "disability" means, with respect to an individual as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual. Major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. A major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.
Are there differences in disability laws between K-12th grade and postsecondary education for students with disabilities?
Is there a student manual for students with disabilities?
Yes. It is the responsibility of the student to read and comply with all procedures and policies set forth in the DSS Student Procedures Manual, which is located under the Student Responsibilities link. If students have any questions about these policies or needs clarification about the policies, it is the student's responsibility to contact a Disability Coordinator. Students may request a hard copy of the manual directly from DSS when available.
How do students receive disability support services (DSS) at CTC?
To receive disability services, a student must self-identify his/her disability to our DSS office, submit appropriate medical documentation to substantiate his/her disability, and complete the DSS intake forms. ONLY the student can request disability services. It is student responsibility to renew/request accommodations EVERY semester with DSS for all courses the students needs accommodations. Parents of students may not request such services on behalf of their son/daughter.
What documentation is required for disability services at a post-secondary educational level?
Per federal disability guidelines, medical documentation submitted to DSS must be current (less than 3 years old). High school IEP/ARD paperwork is considered insufficient documentation at the post-secondary educational level/college level classes. Students who qualify for the State of Texas tuition waiver for the deaf and/or blind may use the State Certified Waiter as documentation of his/her disability. See the Documentation Criteria Checklist for specific documentation requirements under the Requesting Accommodations link. Documentation that does not contain all required information presented on the Documentation Criteria Checklist will not be accepted as appropriate documentation. Dual credit students who need classroom accommodations for their college level courses must also abide by documentation requirements in order to receive accommodations. DSS is not legally obligated to provide accommodations to students who do not disclose their disability and/or fail to submit the required documentation validate their disability.
Does DSS provide testing/evaluations for students to identify a disability?
No. Per federal disability laws, it is the student’s responsibility to obtain and pay for any/all necessary evaluation and/or testing required to substantiate his/her disability. DSS does not provide any referrals for such testing.
What reasonable classroom accommodations are available for students after submitting required documentation and completing the DSS intake process?
Reasonable classroom accommodations are determined/based upon the student's documented disability and may include the following: extended testing time, separate testing area, tape recorders, note taker and/or sign language interpreter, preferential seating, books in alternative format, etc.
Do students receive all accommodations that DSS offers?
No. The student will only receive reasonable classroom accommodations that are needed and directly related to his/her specific disability in accordance with the student’s medical documentation provided to DSS. The final determination for providing appropriate and reasonable accommodations will rest with the DSS office. It is the responsibility of the student to utilize his/her approved accommodations.
Are accommodations available for online/distance learning courses?
Yes. However, since the course(s) is to be completed online, the only accommodation that DSS can provide is extended testing time and/or alternative textbooks (book receipt required) when applicable per student's documented disability.
Do students have to request and renew accommodations every semester?
Yes, it is the student’s responsibility to request accommodations EVERY semester he/she wants accommodations by completing and submitting the required Online Accommodation Request Form found under the “Requesting Accommodations” link. Approved accommodations will only be provided for the registered courses that the student requests accommodations for; however DSS strongly recommends that students request accommodations for all their courses. No accommodations will be provided until the student submits the Online Accommodation Request Form. It is also the responsibility of the student to notify the DSS coordinator of any schedule and/or instructor changes made after accommodations are given. Once the required form has been submitted, the DSS Coordinator will email the Accommodation Form(s) to the course instructor(s) and student within 48 normal business hours after the student requests the accommodations. It is the responsibility of the student to follow up with course instructors to ensure they have received a copy of the Accommodation Form from the DSS Coordinator and student is responsible for discussing the use of approved accommodations with each course instructor. Although students may request accommodations anytime during the term, DSS strongly recommends that students request their accommodations upon completion of registration or as soon as possible because accommodations are not retroactive.
What accommodations are not provided by DSS?
DSS does not provide any monetary or transportation related accommodations. In providing an academic adjustment, postsecondary schools are not required to lower or substantially modify essential requirements. For example, although your school may be required to provide extended testing time, it is not required to change the substantive content of the test. In addition, your postsecondary school does not have to make adjustments that would fundamentally alter the nature of a service, program, or activity, or that would result in an undue financial or administrative burden. Finally, your postsecondary school does not have to provide transportation, personal attendants, individually prescribed devices, readers for personal use or study, or other devices or services of a personal nature, such as tutoring and typing.
Can students register for courses at the DSS office?
No. Students are responsible for registering for their own courses. DSS does not have authorization to register students for their courses. Students must register for courses with the registration department or through WebAdvisor when applicable before requesting accommodations for their courses.
Do students with disabilities complete different tests and/or class assignments?
No. Students receiving accommodations will take the same tests and complete the same course requirements as all other students. In accordance with ADA, academic adjustments that would fundamentally alter or waive essential academic requirements of a program or activity are not required to be provided to students with disabilities. It is the responsibility of the student to monitor his/her academic progress; however, DSS encourages students who are having academic difficulties to seek tutoring assistance and to speak with a Disability Coordinator to discuss utilization of approved accommodations.
Is tutoring available to students?
Does having a disability allow students to automatically have excused absences?
No, if classroom attendance/class participation is considered a core element of the class, then the absences may not be deemed excusable (DSS will review any disability related absences on a case by case basis). Students are required to comply with the absence policy set for by course instructor(s), and per CTC’s Academic Policies, only instructors can authorize an excused absence. Regardless of the reason for the absence, the student is responsible for completing all coursework covered during any absence. It is the responsibility of the student to notify his/her instructor of any and all absences. Instructors may ask the student to provide medical documentation of disability related absences absences to determine if an exception to the absence policy can be made. The DSS office does not have authority to automatically authorize excused absences and the DSS office does not have the authority to grant an IP and/or grade changes for any course. Students must directly contact their course instructor to discuss requesting an IP and/or grade changes.
What are the testing policies for taking test(s) at the DSS testing office?
Students who choose to utilize their approved testing accommodations (extended testing time and/or separate testing area) are REQUIRED to and RESPONSIBLE for making a testing appointment with the DSS test proctor at LEAST 3 normal business days (72 hours) PRIOR to the scheduled test date (excluding weekends and holidays/campus closings) for EACH test. ONLY students can make testing appointments. Any test appointment(s) made by course instructors will be not be accepted. Students who do NOT make their test appointments 72 hours in advance will NOT be permitted to take their test at DSS and WILL be sent back to class. Students are not permitted to take breaks during their testing time, unless their medical documentation specifically warrants the need for breaks. All restroom breaks should be taken prior to the start of the test(s). Students are expected to show up on time for their scheduled tests. Students who show up late to their test appointment will have this noted on their testing form. Students must comply with all scholastic honesty polices as set forth in CTC's Student Handbook. (See Guidelines for Testing Accommodations link for additional information).
Are students required to take their course test(s) at the DSS testing office?
No. Students who are granted extending testing time may elect to take their test(s) in the classroom under normal testing conditions; however, testing in the classroom means that the extended testing time and/or separate testing area will be forfeited.
Does DSS disclose a student’s disability to course instructors?
No, unless authorized by the student. DSS does not disclose any information about a student’s disability and complies with all privacy and confidentiality laws, such as, but not limited to, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). However, if DSS receives a court order or a subpoena to release confidential information, our office must comply. It is the student’s decision whether or not to disclose his/her specific disability to the course instructor(s).
Are students required to update medical documentation submitted to DSS?
Yes. If medical documentation submitted to DSS becomes older than 3 years, the student is REQUIRED to submit new/current documentation to DSS in order to receive continued accommodations. Some disabilities may require medical documentation to be updated yearly (i.e. depression, anxiety, ADHD, etc.). A DSS coordinator will notify the student to let him/her know that the medical documentation on file is expiring or has expired by providing the student with an Expired Medical Documentation Form that the student will sign. Failure to keep medical documentation current will result in loss of accommodations until current documentation is provided to DSS. Students who submit a state Certificate of Blindness and/or Deafness are not required to re-submit any medical documentation.
Does the DSS Office provide temporary disability parking passes?
No. Central Texas College is not legally authorized to issue any allowance (temporary or permanent) for students to park in designated ADA spaces. Students should follow the steps on the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles website to apply for a temporary or permanent disability placard: http://www.txdmv.gov/motorists/disabled-parking-placards-plates