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“I have a disability.  What office should I contact in order to receive support?”

Both the Disability Support Services Office (DSS) and the Student Support Services Program Office (SSSP) would like to welcome the dozens of new students with disabilities to our campus.  Our offices are a part of the Academic Support, Counseling and Career Services Office and are located in RCF 302.  Students with disabilities who are new to our campus should stop by the DSS office or call 443-518-1300 in order to make an appointment with a DSS counselor.   

“What’s the difference between DSS and SSSP?”

Disability Support Services is a college-funded office responsible for supporting students with documented disabilities who are enrolled in credit classes. Upon meeting with a DSS counselor, you will complete paperwork which will help the college determine whether you are eligible for SSSP.  The Student Support Services Program is a support service program funded by a federal TRIO grant from the Department of Education in Washington, D.C.  SSSP serves three populations of students: students with documented disabilities, students who are low income, and first generation college students.  The SSSP offers services in order to increase student retention and the probability of a successful transfer to a four year school or completion of a degree or certificate program at Howard Community College.  Both offices require that students must identify themselves as having a disability in order to receive accommodations, and to seek information, counseling and assistance as necessary.

“Do I need to have documentation of my disability?”

Yes, in order to be eligible for accommodations, students need to bring in documentation of their disability. Guidelines for appropriate documentation are discussed on this website under “Documentation Guidelines”.  Students with documented disabilities covered under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, should report to our office to arrange for accommodations while they are enrolled in credit classes.  No disability testing (testing for the purpose of identifying or verifying disability) is conducted on our campus.  We do maintain, however, an informational listing of community practitioners who offer diagnostic services.  Students are advised to make an appointment with one of our counselors if they suspect they may have a disability.

“I have a disability and I need accommodations in my class, including testing accommodations.  What do I need to do?”

Schedule an appointment with a counselor in Disability Support Services (DSS) by calling 443-518-1300 to request a meeting to discuss your disability, and prior academic and accommodation history.  Before you receive any accommodations, you will need to provide documentation of your disability.  

After completing an accommodation contract with your counselor, you will be given an accommodation memo.  It is every DSS student’s responsibility to pick up their accommodation memos from RCF 302 at the beginning of the semester and to deliver the memos to their instructors.  We advise that you schedule an appointment with your instructors, perhaps during their office hours, to present them with the accommodation memo and discuss your accommodation needs with them.   

“When during the semester do I need to contact my counselor about my accommodation needs?  Are there certain deadlines I need to follow?”

The office of Disability Support Services strongly suggest you contact DSS staff as early as possible in order to give the staff appropriate time to arrange for your accommodations.  Some accommodations require special scheduling considerations as shown below:

  • To schedule a sign-language interpreter, a student must notify our office of their semester schedule as soon as possible but no later than two weeks prior to the start of classes.  It is highly recommended that students work with their DSS or SSSP counselor to complete early registration.  This will allow staff greater time to find an appropriate sign language interpreter.
  • If a reader/writer is needed as a test accommodation, your DSS counselor will put you in contact with the Reader/Writer Coordinator.  At least one week prior to your exam date, you will need to notify the Coordinator of your test schedule.  Additionally, you will need to remind your instructor to complete a Reader/Writer form at least one week prior to the exam date and return it along with a copy of the exam and any special instructions for administering the exam.  The Coordinator will inform you of the time and place of your exam.  The test will be administered as closely as possible to the original exam date and time and will be returned promptly to your instructor’s mailbox.   

“I’ve heard that there exists some assistive technology which might help me.  How do I find out about that?”

After discussing your needs with your DSS counselor, she may refer you to our Technology Specialist.  If you do need to use assistive technology such as text readers or voice recognition software, you must first receive training.  Students who need assistive technology within their classroom labs need to notify the Technology Specialist at least two weeks in advance of the beginning of class.

More information is available on this website under “Assistive Technology”.

“What is Howard Community College’s policy on course substitution?”

Under defined circumstances, the staff of DSS and SSSP may find it necessary to assist a student in obtaining a substitution for a particular course.  Students with learning disabilities requesting a course waiver/substitution should contact their DSS counselor for more information concerning the guidelines for eligibility and appeal procedures.

“I use a wheelchair and another student in my class has limited mobility.  We have an upcoming field trip.  Who should we talk to about our needs?”

Students who use wheelchairs or who have limited mobility need to notify their instructors in advance if enrolled in a field trip course such as ARTT-220 or ARTT- 221.  If the college is providing transportation to all students, it must also provide accessible transportation to a student using a wheelchair.  It is the responsibility of the person planning the trip to make sure this accommodation is met and that the field trip site has made arrangements for any necessary accommodations or modifications needed. The DSS office will assist you in making these arrangements. 

“I’m really struggling in class and I’m not sure I’m receiving my accommodations.  What should I do?”

Contact your DSS counselor if you are having difficulty with your coursework and/or accommodations.  We are here to help you, but we cannot be aware of your needs unless they are made known to us.  We encourage you also to speak with your instructor first, but if advocacy or intervention is needed, telephone your counselor or stop by to make an appointment.

“What other services may be available to students with disabilities?”

The Learning Assistance Center (LAC) provides free academic tutoring to all students, including those with disabilities, enrolled in credit courses at HCC.  Tutoring services include individual, group, and drop-in tutoring.    For more information about the LAC, please contact their office at 443-518-1320.   Additional information may be found both in the “Handbook for Students with Disabilities” available upon request in RCF 302 and on-line on the DSS General Information page.

Click here for information about modification and accommodation for students with disabilities.

Enhancing Student Success.

Student Profile - Maribel