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What does this mean for a student with a disability entering college?

The ADA and Section 504 combined imply that whether an institution is a private or public entity the institution has a responsibility to prohibit discrimination against students with disabilities. Colleges and universities are required to make modifications in policies as well as physical environments that allow all students the opportunity to participate equally. To not comply with these laws is akin to discriminating against an individual because of skin color or religion.

How does a Student with a Disability gain access to modifications?

Unlike the laws that apply in secondary and elementary environments, the ADA and Section 504 require students to self-identify to the institution and provide appropriate documentation that substantiates the need for adjustments or accommodations. All institutions are required to publish the procedure students are to use to access accommodations. Generally, the procedures can be found in the catalog, schedule and other publications from the institution.

All institutions are also required to hold confidential any documentation of a disability that a student supplies. As such, each institution usually has a separate office or program that students with disabilities can use to request accommodations. It is also illegal for an institution to request information about a person's disability on an application form - unless that institution is under mandate to correct past behaviors. Regardless the existence or non-existence of a disability can not be a consideration in the application process. However, some institutions do have special entrance programs for students with disabilities and it is appropriate to consider disabilities and ask for disclosure of a disability in these situations.

How does this impact a student with a disability on a daily basis?

These are the general requirements that must be met under these laws. They are:

  • No exclusion solely on the basis of disability. It is illegal to place caps on the admission of students with disabilities to institutions or to programs/activities that are open to the general population of (potential) students.
  • No discrimination through contract. Neither public nor private entities may not elude their responsibilities for compliance with the ADA or Section 504 by contracting out portions of their programs/services to another entity. These programs are under the same requirements for accessibility as if the institution ran the program/activity themselves.
  • Participation in the most integrated setting. If special programs are established, the individual with a disability may still choose to participate in the general program. Persons with disabilities have the right to refuse accommodation.

Student rights and responsibilities regarding disability accommodations

Each student with a disability at Red Rocks Community College has a right to have:

  1. the confidentiality of his/her disability information respected in accordance with applicable law
  2. equal access to academic programs for which he/she is considered a qualified disabled person with regard to education
  3. an accommodation in a timely manner once it has been properly requested

Each student with a disability at Red Rocks Community College is responsible for:

  1. his/her own enrollment
  2. identifying himself/herself as an individual with a disability
  3. providing appropriate up-to-date documentation
  4. requesting accommodations in a timely manner
  5. maintaining academic levels
  6. maintaining appropriate behavior

For further explanation see "Procedures for Prospective and New Students Requesting Accommodations" or "Procedures for Currently Enrolled Students Requesting Accommodations".

If a student has questions or problems concerning the appropriateness of an accommodation, he or she must contact Office of Disability Services. If no resolution occurs at this stage, the student should consult the current Red Rocks Community College Student Handbook or the Dean of Student Services.

Educational Support Services

Tips for successful communication with your instructors

Studies have shown that one of the characteristics of successful students is their ability to effectively communicate their learning needs to their instructors. Yet very often, students wait until there is a problem before communicating these needs. Once a problem has occurred, communication becomes more difficult because feelings of anger and frustration can block problem-solving and cooperation. To successfully communicate with your instructors, follow these steps.

Step 1: Take the responsibility to educate your instructors regarding your needs.

By letting the instructor know early on in the semester about your needs, you present yourself as a responsible student. This appearance can go a long way to enhancing the learning environment and creating a positive atmosphere when you need to speak with your instructor.

Step 2: Find an appropriate time and place to discuss our situation.

  1. Make an appointment with your instructor.
  2. Don't try to explain your needs as the teacher is rushing to or from class.
  3. Give the instructor time to meet your request; don't expect immediate, last minute results.
  4. If you cannot find meeting place, such as an office or the cafeteria, schedule a time to talk on the phone without interruption.

Give your instructor your accommodation certificate

Step 3: Prepare for the meeting ahead of time

  1. Identify what learning needs you have, and how the instructor can help you meet those needs. Examples of learning needs may include: your learning style (visual, auditory, kinesthetic), any special circumstances that you have that the instructor can help you with or needs to know about. You may also want to give examples of what has worked in the past as a starting place for determining what may work in this new class.
  2. Be able to explain your strategies for learning and how you plan to be actively involved in the process.

Step 4: During the meeting

  1. Go into the conference with a positive attitude believing that the instructor is there to help you.
  2. Take turns speaking and listening without interrupting.