MERIDIAN COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISABILITY SUPPORT SERVICES HANDBOOK INTRODUCTION

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1 MERIDIAN COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISABILITY SUPPORT SERVICES HANDBOOK INTRODUCTION The purpose of the Disability Support Services Handbook is to inform Meridian Community College (MCC) students and employees regarding the services available to students with documented disabilities. In addition, the Handbook outlines the procedures to follow in order to utilize those services. This Handbook is a guide and should be used as a supplement to other comprehensive publications, such as the MCC Catalog. MISSION STATEMENT Meridian Community College is a public institution of higher learning dedicated to improving the quality of life in Lauderdale County, Mississippi, and surrounding areas. Through campus based and distance education programming, MCC serves a diverse student population and accomplishes it mission by providing equal access to: Courses leading to the Associate in Arts Degree and transfer to senior colleges and universities; and Associate in Applied Science Degree and occupational certificate programs, and customized workforce training, leading to entry-level and/or enhanced employment opportunities. Other major components contributing to the fulfillment of MCC s mission include continuing education courses designed for personal and/or professional enrichment, student support services, cultural enrichment events, and adult basic developmental education programs designed to remediate basic skills deficiencies. Meridian Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion or age in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in, its programs and activities. Compliance with Section 504 and Title IX is coordinated by Mrs. Soraya Welden, Dean of Student Services, 910 Highway 19 North, Meridian, MS , Fax: , 1

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction The Laws Concerning Disabilities in the Educational Setting.4 Documentation Requirements.5 Academic Accommodations and Services for Students with Disabilities 8 Procedures for Requesting Accommodations..10 Developmental Course Listing...15 Summary of Rights and Responsibilities.16 Appendix A Disability Verification for Students with Health and/or Physical Disabilities Appendix B Disability Verification for Students with Learning Disabilities 19 Appendix C Disability Verification for Students with Attention-Related Disabilities Appendix D Disability Verification for Students with Hearing Impairments / Deaf...24 Appendix E Disability Verification for Students with Visual Impairments / Blind Appendix F Disability Verification for Students with Psychological and Psychiatric Disabilities Community Resources.27 Resources..29 2

3 INTRODUCTION Consistent with the mandates of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Meridian Community College is committed to providing individuals with disabilities equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from its educational programs and services. The Coordinator of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Support Services has been designated to coordinate the College s efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under these laws. The CTE Support Services Coordinator is located in 150 Ivy Hall. The telephone number is and the address is The office serves as the central contact point for students with disabilities. The goal of the CTE Support Services is to provide a comprehensive accessible environment to ensure an individual is viewed on the basis of ability, not disability. Students are seen on an individual basis to determine accommodations needed for the student to be successful. In addition to coordinating and providing services for students with documented disabilities, Disability Support provide guidance and technical assistance to faculty and staff working with students. Students with disabilities must self-identify to receive accommodations and special services. Self-identification involves the student registering with the CTE Support Services Office and presenting appropriate documentation verifying the disability. Selfidentification is voluntary. However, CTE Support Services can be of service to students only to the extent that their individual needs are made known. Students and prospective students are encouraged to make early contact with the CTE Support Service Coordinator. 3

4 THE LAWS CONCERNING DISABILITIES IN THE EDUCATIONAL SETTING Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 obligates the College, as a recipient of federal financial assistance, to assure qualified persons with disabilities are not excluded from programs and services on the basis of their disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which covers all public entities and places of public accommodation, reinforces this obligation, including the requirement to make reasonable accommodations in policies and practices to accommodate the limitations of individuals with disabilities. Services or benefits may not be provided to individuals with disabilities through programs that are separate or different unless the separate programs are necessary to ensure equally effective benefits and services. A disability under the law is any physical or mental impairment that substantially impairs or restricts one or more major life activity such as caring for one s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, breathing, learning, and working, thinking, and concentrating. The disability may be of permanent or temporary nature. A physical or mental impairment includes, but is not limited to: Speech, hearing, visual, and orthopedic impairments Cerebral palsy, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy Multiple sclerosis, cancer, diabetes Emotional illness Specific learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, brain trauma Students with documented disabilities have a legal right to access all educational programs. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 reads: No otherwise qualified persons with a disability in the U.S. shall, solely by reason of disability, be denied the benefits of, be excluded from participation in or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. This handbook outlines MCC s policies and procedures, however there are no absolutes. Students are evaluated and served on an individual basis. Accommodations and services are provided in accordance with the students documented disability. It is the obligation of the individual who has a disability to make his/her disability and need for accommodation known. Disability-related information received to support requests for accommodations or auxiliary aids and services will be treated as confidential and shared on a need-to-know basis only. The information will not be released to an outside third party without written consent of the individual. Under the law, students are not required to identify themselves as having a disability, nor are they required to make use of accommodations provided for by the law. Students desiring these accommodations must identify themselves to the CTE Support Services Office and request assistance from the Special Populations Coordinator. 4

5 It is preferable that this be done before enrollment so that the individual student s needs may be assessed and the appropriate accommodations and services arranged. DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENTS Meridian Community College has two major purposes for documentation requirements: (a) to provide students with disabilities personally appropriate modifications and services in order to enhance their potential for college success; (b) to uphold the academic integrity of MCC by assuring that no student is given unfair advantage because of a suspected or documented learning disability. Toward these ends, the College reserves the right to require specific diagnostic information necessary to determine the nature and extent of individual disabilities. The CTE Support Services Office is exclusively responsible for receiving and holding documentation of disabilities. Documentation is treated confidentially and will not be released to anyone outside the accommodation process or CTE Support Services Office without the student s permission. Other departments and faculty should not keep copies or request documentation related to a student s disability. It is the responsibility of the student to assume the initiative in presenting documentation directly to the CTE Support Services Office. A licensed psychologist or physician must make the evaluation, diagnosis, and written report. The professional who makes the diagnosis is encouraged to provide a list of reasonable accommodations. Disability Categories Physical Impairment: This disability may be one with partial of total paralysis, amputation or severe injury, arthritis, active sickle cell disease, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, polio, such hidden disabilities as pulmonary disease, respiratory disorders, lupus, or epilepsy. Please refer to Section 504 or the Rehabilitation Act on 1973 or the Americans with Disability Act of 1990 for a more detailed discussion of what constitutes a physical impairment. Accommodations vary greatly and are determined on a case-by-case basis. See Appendix A for documentation requirements. Learning Disability: This is a permanent neurological disorder that affects the manner, in which information is received, organized, remembered, and then retrieved or expressed. Students with learning disabilities possess average to above average intelligence. The disability is demonstrated by a significant discrepancy between expected and actual performance in one or more of the basic functions: memory, oral expression, listening comprehension, mathematical calculation, or mathematical reasoning. See Appendix B for documentation requirements. Attention Disorder: Attention disorders (ADD/ADHD) are neurologically based medical problems characterized by inattention, impulsivity, and sometimes hyperactivity. The result can lead to lifelong problems. Students with attention disorders may 5

6 demonstrate one or more problems characteristic and the form may be mild, moderate, or severe: *Concentrating *Listening *Starting, organizing, and completing tasks *Following directions *Making transitions *Interacting with others *Producing work at a consistently normal level *Organizing problems that have multiple steps Please refer to Appendix C for specific guidelines for documentation of an Attention Disorder. Deaf / Hard of Hearing: A hearing impairment is any type or degree of auditory impairment while deafness is an inability to use hearing as a means of communication. Hearing loss may be sensor neural, involving an impairment of the auditory nerve; conductive, a defect in the auditory system which interferes with sound reaching the cochlea; or a mixed impairment, involving both sensor neural and conductive. Hearing loss is measured in decibels and may be mild, moderate, or profound. A person who is born with a hearing loss is may have language deficiencies and exhibit poor vocabulary and syntax. Many students with hearing loss may use hearing aids and rely on lip reading. Others may require an interpreter. According to the ADA a person is considered hearing impaired if they have hearing loss of thirty (30) decibels or greater, pure tone average of 500, 1000, 2000 Hz, ANSI, unaided, in the better ear. See Appendix D for documentation requirements. Visually Impaired / Blind: Approximately 80% of all legally blind individuals have some usable vision. Visual impairments include disorders in the sense of vision that affect the central acuity, the field of vision, color perception, or binocular visual acuity not exceeding 20/200 in the better eye with correction, or a limit in the field of vision that is less than a 20 degree angle (tunnel vision). Legal blindness may be caused by tumors, infections, injuries, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetes, vascular impairments, or myopia. Visual disabilities vary widely. Some students may use a guide dog, others a white cane, while others may not require any mobility assistance. See Appendix E for documentation requirements. Psychological and Psychiatric Disorder: Psychological and psychiatric disorders are specific conditions with certain sets of symptoms which are defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual on Mental Disorders (DSM IV) or successive editions. A student with an inability to learn which cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory or health factors and who exhibits one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree may have a psychological or psychiatric disorder: 1. an inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers; 2. inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances; 6

7 3. a generally pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or 4. a tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems. See Appendix F for documentation requirements. Health related disabilities: A student who has a physical disability and who has limited strength, vitality or alertness due to chronic or acute health problems, including but not limited to a heart condition, diabetes, tourette syndrome, epilepsy, asthma, cancer, AIDS, or sickle cell anemia, which adversely affects that individual s educational performance may have a health related disability. See Appendix A for documentation requirements. The list above is the most commonly requested areas of disability at MCC. However, a student does not have to fall under one of the categories above to apply for services. 7

8 ACADEMIC ACCOMMODATIONS AND SERVICES FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES Accommodations are not retroactive. Accommodation requests must be made prior to any test or assignment. The accommodation forms are dated with the date at which accommodations are approved. The student is not eligible to retake tests or assignments taken prior to the date on the accommodation form. Based upon documented need, the following academic accommodations and services may be provided for students with disabilities: 1. Priority Registration Students with disabilities frequently need balanced schedules and advance time to procure taped books; therefore, after their first semester of enrollment, students with disabilities may be allowed to register for classes before the regular pre-registration period. The CTE Support Services Office compiles a list of students who are eligible for priority registration; thereafter, the student is responsible for completion of the registration process. 2. Testing Accommodation Modifications may include extended, but not unlimited time to test, isolated testing situation, oral testing, or scribes. The student should discuss testing arrangements with the instructor early in the semester to assure that the process will be smooth when it is actually time to schedule and administer tests. The CTE Support Services Office administers tests under the guidelines established by the instructor. Test administration assistance by the CTE Support Services Office involves accommodations in accordance with the student s functional limitation (e.g., reading, writing, marking answer sheets, time extensions). Students receive no assistance with content. Students are not allowed to use notes, books, or other supplemental materials unless specified by the instructor. Exams are to be delivered to the CTE Support Services Office or through the MCC mailroom by the instructor or his/her designee. The CTE Support Services Office is responsible for returning the exam to the instructor. The student is responsible for notifying the CTE Support Services Office of the need to have a test monitored at least two days before the test is to be administered. 3. Alternative Assignments Arrangements may be made with instructors for the submission of alternative assignments to meet course requirements, (e.g., submitting assignments via cassette tape). 8

9 4. Auxiliary Aids Auxiliary aids are devices that individuals with disabilities can use to overcome some of the functional limitations of their disabilities. For example: a. Tape recording and notetakers: Eligible students may tape record class lectures to replace or supplement their note taking ability. The student is responsible for supplying his/her tape recorder and needed accessories. Locating a student volunteer to take notes for a disabled student is the responsibility of the instructor. See Appendix E for procedures regarding the notetaking procedure. b. Reading services: With appropriate documentation, students may secure taped texts, primarily through Recordings for the Blind. A reading machine also may be utilized for this accommodation in the library. c. Adaptive computer technology: Adaptive technology equipment includes: trackball, Zoomtext, JAWS and computer screen enlarger. Equipment can be utilized for designated computer classes and labs. Requests for the equipment must be made through the Special Populations Office. 5. Note taking Procedures MCC uses a volunteer system for note taking accommodations. The instructor will ask the class if someone would be willing to be a volunteer note taker for a student with a disability. The person who volunteers to take notes will simply make a copy of their notes in the library (free of charge) and leave the notes at the reference desk. The note taker will need to identify the name of the person who will be receiving the notes to the library personnel. The disabled student receiving the notes will pick up the notes at the reference desk in the library. TEMPORARY ACCOMMODATIONS AND SERVICES The CTE Support Services Office offers a wide variety of legally mandated services to students with temporary documented disabilities. Services are extended to students with temporary disabilities only for the duration of their functional limitations associated with their disability. The eligibility process is the same as for people with permanent disabilities. The CTE Support Services Coordinator will review the documentation and determine appropriate accommodations depending on how the student is limited in the academic setting. The student will then be responsible for requesting accommodations and to follow the policies and procedures for accessing disability support services. 9

10 THE COLLEGE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE TO PROVIDE FOR THE FOLLOWING AS ACCOMMODATIONS 1. There is not an accommodation provided for absenteeism. MCC has an absentee policy that allows students to miss a certain number of days, after that a student may be dropped from the class. All students regardless of ability are required to attend class. Excessive abscesses would fundamentally change the course; therefore, the college is not required to excuse more than the allotted number of days for any student. The first day of each class the instructor will review the attendance policy. 2. MCC is not required to alter the format of a test if altering the test would fundamentally alter the class. For example, students in the nursing program are required to take exams on the computer, taking a paper copy of the test would alter the format of the class. One of the objectives for testing on the computer is to prepare students for state and national boards which are given on the computer. 3. Colleges are not required to alter essential academic requirements. Requirements, which can be demonstrated as essential to a course or program of study or to any directly related licensing requirement, are not regarded as discriminatory. Specifically, the law says that a college shall make such modifications to its academic requirements as are necessary to ensure that such requirements do not discriminate or have the effect of discriminating, on the basis of handicap, against a qualified handicapped applicant or student. Modifications may include changes in the length of time permitted for the completion of degree requirements, and adaptation of the manner in which specific courses are conducted. 34 CFR Sections (a) This handbook outlines MCC s policies and procedures, however there are no absolutes. Students are evaluated and served on an individual basis. Accommodations and services are provided in accordance with the students documented disability. PROCEDURES FOR REQUESTING ACCOMMODATIONS 1. Reasonable Accommodations Reasonable accommodations represent efforts to remove or minimize obstacles that may otherwise deny students with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate fully and fairly in the educational process. Reasonable accommodation is essentially a problem solving process. Reasonable accommodation makes the necessary adjustments which will enable students with disabilities to have access to the same programs and services available to other students and to have their academic performance evaluated without the limiting 10

11 effects of their disability. The objective of such adjustments is to accommodate the functional limitations of the student s disability while maintaining the integrity of the course or program. 2. Accommodation Requests Accommodations are considered on a case-by-case, semester-by-semester basis. Specific accommodations will depend upon the nature and requirements of the particular student. The CTE Support Services Office will determine reasonable accommodations for a particular student s needs based on (a) the student s documentation, (b) recommendations of the student s physician or other appropriate professional evaluation, and (c) consultation with the student and with faculty as needed. The CTE Support Services Office will prepare a formal accommodation form and send it to the appropriate instructor. It is the student s responsibility to discuss the details of the needed accommodation(s) with the instructor. The discussion is both a courtesy and an opportunity for the student and instructor to consider specific adaptations and potential situations. 3. Implementation of Academic Accommodations The course/program instructor is responsible for implementing academic accommodations to the fullest extent possible. Faculty or staff should contact the CTE Support Services Office if assistance in implementation is needed. The student is responsible for the timely reporting of any dissatisfaction which he/she may have with the implementation of an accommodation to the CTE Support Services Office. 4. Termination of Services A student can lose accommodations for a class if they are not actively participating. For example, if a student sleeps through class the teacher may request that the student lose their note taker accommodation. Another example would be if the student repeatedly misses class. Students are not entitled to use the accommodations as a substitute for class attendance. Each case will be evaluated on an individual basis and the circumstances reviewed before services are terminated. 5. Accommodation Appeal Process The instructor or student should direct questions and concerns regarding accommodations to the CTE Support Services. It is important that any disagreements be resolved expeditiously so that the course activity, student s participation, and progress are not compromised. If after consultation among the student, the instructor, and personnel from the CTE Support Services Office, an agreement is not reached concerning the accommodation request, it is incumbent upon the dissenting party to file a formal appeal immediately. The appeal should be written and should state the basis and rationale of the appeal. Appeals 11

12 regarding courses and curricula should be directed to the Dean of Student Services. Appeals involving accommodations for participation in student services and activities should be filed with the Dean of Student Services. With access to credible experts, the Dean of Student Services or their designees will consider the appeal and render a final decision, which will be communicated to all parties. During the review and appeal process, the student is entitled to receive the accommodations determined by the CTE Support Services Office. 6. Student Grievance Procedures Meridian Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion or age in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in, its programs and activities. Compliance with Section 504 and Title IX is coordinated by Mrs. Soraya Welden, Dean of Student Services, 910 Highway 19 North, Meridian, MS , Fax: , ADA and Section 504 regulations require the College to establish grievance procedures for student complaints. Meridian Community College provides procedures for students to resolve grievances with the college. Specified appeal procedures are established to assure the timely and appropriate consideration of each grievance. Student grievances usually start at the department or division level and the resolution is sought at that level. Should further arbitration prove necessary, the student should request a meeting with the Dean for Student Services or the Associate Dean for Student Services. It is the desire of the College to settle grievances as expeditiously as possible. If the Dean for Student Services or the Associate Dean for Student Services cannot handle the grievance and a mutually acceptable solution be reached, the grievance may be referred to the Meridian Community College Student Appeals Council by the Vice President for Operations. It is the responsibility of the College to provide students with written notification regarding the result of the grievance hearing. Student Appeals Procedure Students who are subject to institutional discipline as related to academic or campus conduct issues have the right to appeal decisions rendered by the appropriate administrator* to the Meridian Community College Student Appeals Council. The Council Chairperson and members will be appointed annually by the President. Once a decision on any case of student discipline has been rendered by the appropriate administrator supervising the institutional component related to the case, the student has two working days to notify that administrator in writing of 12

13 his/her desire to appeal the decision. Students are encouraged to base their appeals on facts which they think may not have been considered in the original decision. The appropriate administrator will then notify the Chairperson of the Student Appeals Council of the subject s desire to appeal. The Chairperson will convene the Council within five working days of notification of the appeal and notify the student of the time and place of the hearing. A minimum of three days notice is required for the committee members to review the files before the committee meets, with most meetings to be scheduled on Fridays. A quorum of five faculty and/or staff members is required for an official hearing before the Committee. Two alternate faculty or staff members in addition to the 8 regular committee members should be appointed to accommodate unforeseen circumstances where Committee members are excused or rescued with a quorum being otherwise unobtainable. The student s failure to appear at the hearing, within 10 minutes of the designated time will constitute his/her acceptance of the administration s original decision on the case. At the hearing, the Council will consider the administration s findings on the case as well as the student s rebuttal. Each side has the right to call witnesses in support of his/her case, and each side has the responsibility to notify those witnesses of the time and place of the Council meeting. Witnesses will participate in the hearing only during the time that they are called to testify. Hearings will be recorded. Having heard all testimony, the Council will retire to decide the case. The Council has the authority to (1) uphold the administration s initial decision on the case; (2) reverse the decision; or (3) modify the administration s decision. The Chairperson will have the responsibility to notify the VP of Operations and the MCC President of the Council s findings. The VP of Operations will have the responsibility of notifying the student(s) of the Council s decision in writing (to be either handdelivered or sent via certified mail). The Council s decision will be the final level of institutional appeal. The intent of this policy is to adjudicate such matters in a timely manner so that the student will be fully aware of his/her standing with the college. * Appropriate administrator will likely mean the Vice President for Operations or the VP s designee in the case of general education classes; the Dean of Career & Technical Education or his/her designee in the case of career and technical education programs; and the Dean of Student Services in the case of campus conduct issues unrelated to classroom activities. 13

14 INTERPRETER SERVICES FOR THE DEAF / HARD-OF-HEARING MCC provides interpreter services for students with the proper documentation. Interpreter services are provided for all academic courses and course-related activities such as field trips. The college is responsible for the cost of the interpreter; however, the college will not pay for interpreter services for courses that the student has previously satisfactorily passed. Vocational Rehabilitation may reimburse the college for the cost of the interpreter if the student qualifies for services through their agency. Procedure 1. Register for classes 2. Meet with the CTE Support Services Office at least three weeks prior to the beginning of the semester to request an interpreter along with any other accommodations. Note: If a student does not meet deadlines, MCC will attempt to provide, but can not guarantee interpreter services. 3. Notify the CTE Support Services Office 24 hours in advance when planning on missing a class or event. 4. Provide the CTE Support Services Office with two weeks notice if your current interpreter can not interpret for a special event or activity related to school. Canceling Interpreter Services Notifying the CTE Support Services Office less than 24 hours in advance is considered a LATE NOTICE. Failure to contact the CTE Support Services Coordinator 60 minutes before a class is considered a NO SHOW. Two LATE NOTICES are considered one NO SHOW. If the student receives three NO SHOWS in any one class, the services for that class will be terminated. Reinstatement of services requires a formal request to the CTE Support Services Office. Students experiencing sudden illness, accidents, or injury should contact the CTE Support Services Office as soon as possible in order to avoid receiving a NO SHOW. The interpreter will wait ten minutes to verify class attendance before leaving. After that time the student will be given a NO SHOW. Note: Due to severe shortages in qualified sign language interpreters, the CTE Support Services Coordinator must prioritize interpreter services. NO SHOWS place a student at the bottom of the priority list. 14

15 GATEWAY COURSES MCC offers the following courses to help students improve basic skills. The courses are designed to build the students basic skills so that they can be successful in college level classes. These courses do not transfer with the exception of LLS-1423 and MAT Course Credit Hours LLS 1103 Essential College Skills 3 LLS 1423 College Study Skills 3 REA Reading I 3 REA Reading II 3 COM Communication Skills 3 ENG 1013 Beginning English 3 ENG 1023 Intermediate English 3 MAT 1103 Fundamentals of Mathematics 3 MAT 1203 Beginning Algebra 3 MAT Intermediate Algebra 3 SPT Basic Speech 3 15

16 SUMMARY OF RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES 1. Students with documented disabilities at MCC have the right to: Equal access to courses, programs, services, activities, and facilities offered through the College; An equal opportunity to learn and receive reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services; Appropriate confidentiality of all information regarding their disability and the opportunity to choose to whom, outside of the College, information about their disability will be disclosed, except as disclosures are required or permitted by law; Information will be reasonably available in accessible formats. Students with documented disabilities at MCC have the responsibility to: Meet qualifications and maintain essential institutional standards for courses, programs, services, activities, and facilities; Identify as an individual with a disability when an accommodation is needed and to seek information, counsel, and assistance as necessary; Demonstrate and/or document (from an appropriate professional) how the disability limits their participation in courses, programs, services, activities, and facilities; Follow published procedures for obtaining reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services. 2. Rights and Responsibilities of MCC MCC has the right to: Identify and establish essential functions, abilities, skills, knowledge, and standards for courses, programs, services, activities, and facilities; Request and receive, through the Special Populations Office, current documentation that supports requests for accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services; Deny a request for accommodations, academic adjustment, and/or auxiliary aids and services if the documentation demonstrates that the request is not warranted or if the individual fails to provide appropriate documentation; Select among equally effective accommodations, adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services; Refuse an unreasonable accommodation, adjustment, and/or auxiliary aid and service that impose a fundamental alteration in a program or activity of the College. 16

17 MCC has the responsibility to: Provide information to students with disabilities in accessible formats upon requests; Ensure that all courses, programs, services, activities, and facilities, when viewed in their entirety, are available and are in the most integrated and appropriate settings; Provide or arrange reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services for students with documented disabilities in courses, programs, services, activities, and facilities; To maintain appropriate confidentiality of records and communication, except where permitted or required by law. 17

18 Appendix A Documentation for students with Health and Physical Disabilities Students seeking support services from Meridian Community College on the basis of a health or physical disability will be required to submit documentation to verify eligibility. Documentation of disability and related information shall be kept in a separate file in the Special Populations Office. The cost and responsibility for providing this documentation shall be borne by the student. Health and Physical Disabilities include, but are not limited to: Mobility impairments, Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, spinal cord injuries, cancer, AIDS, Muscular Dystrophy, and Spina Bifida. Health and physical disabilities are considered to be in the medical domain and require the diagnosis by a qualified medical professional. Information describing the certification, licensure, and/or the professional training of individuals conducting the evaluation must be provided. The following guidelines are provided in the interest of assuring that the evaluation and report are appropriate for documenting eligibility and identifying reasonable accommodations. The documentation should include: 1. A clear statement of the medical diagnosis of the disability or systemic illness and information regarding how the disability limits a major life activity; 2. A description of the type and severity of current symptoms; 3. A summary assessment of procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis, including evaluation results and standardized scores if applicable; 4. Information regarding existing side effects of medication on the student s ability to meet the demands of the postsecondary environment (physical, perceptual, behavioral, or cognitive); 5. A description of treatments, medications, assistive devices/services currently prescribed or in use; 6. A description of the expected progression or stability of the disability over time. Supporting documentation and suggestions regarding academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services may be included. However, the final determination rests with the College s CTE Support Services Office. 18

19 Appendix B Disability Verification for Students with Learning Disabilities Students seeking support services from Meridian Community College on the basis of a learning disability will be required to submit documentation to verify eligibility. Documentation of disability and related information shall be kept in a separate file in the Special Populations Office. The cost and responsibility for providing this documentation shall be borne by the student. Testing must be comprehensive. I. The diagnostic interview Because learning disabilities are most commonly manifested during childhood, historical information of learning difficulties in elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education must be included. An evaluation report must also include a comprehensive diagnostic interview by a qualified evaluator who addresses relevant background information to support the diagnosis. Such information includes: (a) developmental history; (b) academic history including results of prior standardized testing, reports of classroom performance and behavior, and notable trends in academic performance; (c) family history; (d) psychosocial history; (e) medical history, including the absence of a medical basis for the present symptoms; (f) history of prior psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy; (g) discussion of any dual diagnosis of alternative or co-existing mood, behavior, neurological and/or personality disorder and (h) a description of the presenting learning problems(s). II. The Neuropsychological or Psycho-Educational Evaluation The neuropsychological or psycho-educational evaluation for the diagnosis of a specific learning disability must be submitted on letterhead of the qualified professional, and it must provide clear and specific evidence of a learning disability or attention deficit. (a) Aptitude: The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised (WAIS-R) with subtest scores as the preferred instrument. (b) Achievement. Current levels of functioning in areas such as reading; written language and mathematics are required. Acceptable instruments include the Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-educational Battery-Revised: Test of Achievement; The Wechsler Individual Achievement Tests (WIAT); or specific achievement tests such as the Test of Written Language-2 (TOWL- 2), Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests-Revised, or the Stanford Diagnostic Mathematics Test. The Slosson Intelligence Test, the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (K-BIT) and the Wide Range Achievement Test-Revised are NOT comprehensive measures of intelligence and achievement and, therefore, are not suitable for diagnostic purposes. (c) Cognitive processing. Specific areas of cognitive processing (e.g., short and long-term memory; sequential memory; auditory and visual 19

20 perception/processing; processing speed, receptive and expressive language) must be assessed. Use of subtests from the WAIS-R or Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability are acceptable. (d) Social-emotional assessment, if indicated. NOTE: This is not intended to be an exhaustive list or to restrict assessment in other pertinent and helpful areas, such as vocational interests and aptitudes. The assessment battery is intended not only to verify the presence of a disability and the need for accommodation, but also to provide valuable information for course selection and career advisement. 1. The report must include a specific diagnosis. Individual learning styles, and/or learning differences, in and of themselves do not constitute a learning disability. The nature and severity of the functional limitation(s) must be supported by test data, academic history, anecdotal and clinical observations that may include the student s level of motivation, study skills, and other non-cognitive factors. These findings must support the fact that an individual s functional limitations are due to stated disabilities. 2. Actual test scores must be provided. Standard scores must be provided for all normed measures. Percentiles are also acceptable; grade equivalents are not acceptable unless standard scores and/or percentiles are also included. The assessment must show evidence of discrepant intra-individual measures. The particular profile of the student s strengths and weaknesses must provide a rationale for the accommodations that are recommended. 3. Tests used to document eligibility must be technically sound. The tests used must be reliable, valid, and standardized for use with an adult population. The test findings should document both the nature and severity of the learning disabilities. 4. A description of requested accommodations including the rationale must be provided. The diagnostic report must include specific recommendations for accommodations and relevant recommendations regarding the curriculum and testing considerations. A detailed explanation must be provided as to why each accommodation is recommended and should be correlated to specific test results or clinical observations. Any accommodation or auxiliary aid provided in the past should be discussed, including information about specific conditions under which the accommodations were used (e.g., standardized testing, final exams, national board examinations) and whether or not they benefited the student. For example, if the diagnosed condition is a learning disability, what is the processing disorder, and what is the relationship between the disorder and the requested accommodation? Any school plan (e.g., individualized education program or 504 plan) is not sufficient in and of itself, but it can be included as part of a more comprehensive assessment battery as described in the document. 20

21 If no prior accommodations have been provided the qualified professional and/or student should include a detailed explanation as to why no accommodations were used in the past and why accommodations are needed at this time. 5. A qualified professional must conduct the evaluation. The person conducting and rendering diagnoses of specific learning disabilities must be qualified to do so. Experience working with an adult population is preferred. The name, title, date(s) of testing, and professional credentials of the evaluator, including information about license or certification (e.g., licensed psychologist) as well as the areas of specialization, employment and state in which the individual practices should be clearly stated. Use of diagnostic terminology indicating a specific learning disability by someone whose training is not consistent with the criteria herein does not meet eligibility requirements. All reports must be typed and otherwise legible. In some instances, MCC may need further clarification regarding the student s specific need for accommodations by an appropriately trained expert(s) of its choice, at no expense to the student. This practice is generally reserved for a small percentage of cases. Students should be assured that confidentiality will be maintained. Conclusion: These guidelines are designed to assist individuals who have documented learning disabilities in receiving reasonable accommodations under the law. By providing a current and comprehensive battery of tests, which support the request(s) for accommodation on the basis of a substantial limitation to learning, each individual will be provided an opportunity to demonstrate his/her abilities at the postsecondary level. All documentation is confidential and should be submitted to: The CTE Support Services Office Meridian Community College 910 Hwy 19 North Meridian, MS If you have any questions, call Special Populations Coordinator, at or e- mail 21

22 Appendix C Documentation Verification Requirements for Students with Attention-related Disabilities Students seeking support services from Meridian Community College for attentionrelated disabilities will be required to submit documentation to verify eligibility. Documentation of disability and related information shall be kept in a separate file in the Special Populations Office. The cost and responsibility for providing this documentation shall be borne by the student. Although the more generic term Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is frequently used, for the purpose of this policy the nomenclature of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) provided in the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, (DSM-IV) or successive editions will be utilized. Documentation should indicate current impact of the disability. The following guidelines are provided in the interest of assuring that the evaluation and report are appropriate for documenting eligibility and identifying reasonable accommodations. The report must clearly state the names, titles, professional credentials, address, and phone numbers of the evaluators, indicate date(s) of testing, and be on official letterhead, type dated and signed. The documentation should: 1. Be prepared by a professional who has comprehensive training in differential diagnosis and direct experience working with adolescents and adults with ADHD, which may include: clinical psychologists, neurophysiologist, psychiatrist, and other relevantly trained medical doctors; 2. Be current. The provision of all reasonable accommodations and services is based upon the assessment of the current impact of the disability on academic performance. The diagnostic evaluation should show the current level of functioning and impact of the disability; 3. Be comprehensive. Minimally, areas to be addressed should include: a. Evidence of early and current impairment. Diagnostic feature as presented in the DSM-IV is that ADHD is first exhibited in childhood, and manifests itself in more than one setting; therefore, a comprehensive assessment typically includes a clinical summary of objective historical information garnered from sources such as transcripts, report cards, teacher comments, tutoring evaluations, psycho-educational testing, medical history, employment history, family history, and third party interviews when available; b. Alternative diagnoses or explanations should be ruled out. Possible alternative diagnoses including medical, psychiatric disorders, and educational or cultural factors affecting the individual that may result in behaviors mimicking ADHD should be explored; 22

23 c. Testing information must be relevant. Checklists and/or surveys can supplement the diagnostic profile, but are not adequate for the diagnosis of ADHD. 4. Provide a comprehensive interpretive summary synthesizing the evaluator s judgment for the diagnosis. The report should include all quantitative information in standard scores and/or percentiles, all relevant developmental, familial, medical, medication, psychosocial, behavioral and academic information; and a clear identification of the substantial limitation of a major life function presented by the ADHD. With supporting documentation, suggestions regarding academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services may be included; however, the final determination rests with the CTE Support Services Office. 23

24 Appendix D Documentation Requirements for Students with Auditory (Hearing) Disabilities Students seeking support services from Meridian Community College on the basis of a health or physical disability will be required to submit documentation to verify eligibility. Documentation of disability and related information shall be kept in a separate file in the CTE Support Services Office. The cost and responsibility for providing this documentation shall be borne by the student. Hearing loss can range from mild to profound. Each student s hearing loss, background, courses of study, and language preferences will be considered when determining appropriate classroom accommodations. Students self-perceptions and communication strengths are often at variance with external measures of hearing loss. Any hearing loss evaluation would be considered to be in the medical domain and require the expertise of a credentialed audiologist (CCC Certificate of Clinical Competence). Information describing the certification, licensure, and/or the professional training of the individual conducting the evaluation must be provided. Documentation should indicate the current impact of the disability. The age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the stability of the hearing loss. The following guidelines are provided in the interest of assuring that the evaluation and report are appropriate for documenting eligibility and identifying reasonable accommodations. The documentation should include: 1. A copy of the audiology report; 2. A brief description of the severity of the hearing loss; 3. A description of assistive devices/services currently prescribed or in use, including the possible effectiveness of these devices or services in an educational setting; 4. A description of the expected progression or stability of the hearing loss over time. With supporting documentation, suggestions regarding academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services may be included; however, the final determination rests with the Special Populations Office at Meridian Community College. 24

25 Appendix E Documentation Verification for Students with Visual Impairments or who are Blind Students seeking support services from Meridian Community College on the basis of a visual impairment will be required to submit documentation to verify eligibility. Documentation of disability and related information shall be kept in a separate file in the Special Populations Office. The cost and responsibility for providing this documentation shall be borne by the student. The definition of legal blindness is: vision that can only be corrected to the acuity of 20/200 or higher. Another criterion is: peripheral vision measuring 20 degrees or less. However, students not diagnosed as legally blind may be eligible and need accommodations. Other vision issues to consider may include, but are not limited to: tracking, extreme photosensitivity, nystagmus, eyelid muscle issues, and low vision. The following guidelines are provided in the interest of assuring that the evaluation and report are appropriate for documenting eligibility and identifying reasonable accommodations. Any vision loss evaluation would be considered to be in the medical domain and require the expertise of a qualified licensed eye care professional. The documentation should include: 1. The date of the most recent visit, diagnosis of the eye disorder, and its pathology specific to this individual; 2. A brief description of the severity of the vision loss, and current impact or limitations; 3. Include any medically relevant testing results; 4. A description of assistive devices or services in an educational setting; 5. A description of the expected progression of stability of the vision loss over time. With supporting documentation, suggestions regarding academic adjustments and auxiliary aids may be included; however, the final determination rests with the CTE Support Services Office. 25

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