When should I request accommodations?
You should contact the Office of Disability Services as soon as possible, preferably well before the semester begins. Early contact with our office allows us the time we need to put your accommodations in place, some of which may take several weeks to complete.
Should I wait until I have my documentation?
You shouldn’t delay meeting with the Coordinator of Disability Services because of difficulties/delays in obtaining documentation. Students are encouraged to continue working closely with their service providers and high schools to ensure our office receives appropriate documentation in a timely manner.
Who will see my documentation and where will it be kept?
All documentation received by the Office of Disability Services is strictly confidential and held in accordance with FERPA regulations. Only the Wellness Center’s staff views your documentation. Our Administrative Assistant catalogs and stores your documents in locked file cabinets within the Wellness Center, and our Coordinator of Disability Services reviews your documentation to determine your eligibility for academic accommodations. Documentation may only be released with the student’s written request.
I am nervous about asking an instructor for accommodations. What can I do?
Students are responsible for delivering the GCC Accommodation Agreement to their professors and to discuss their individual needs with their instructors. If you feel you need additional support in approaching an instructor, the Coordinator of Disability Services and/or the Learning Support Counselor can help, by providing coaching or accompanying you to talk with your instructors.
Who determines what kind of accommodations I am eligible for?
Although we recognize that you are the expert on you own disability, the need for accommodations and/or aids must be supported by your documentation. Your physician, therapist or counselor may provide the college with recommendations based on specific functional limitations. Your accommodations will ultimately be determined by an interactive process between you and the Coordinator of Disability Services.
How is an IEP or a 504 Plan in high school different from an Accommodation Agreement in college?
Accommodations in K-12 are covered under the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Act), which ends when you graduate from high school. Only the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act apply to college. Students with disabilities must self-identify by initiating contact with GCC’s Office of Disability Services. Colleges are required to provide any reasonable accommodation that may be necessary for equal access to the college’s programs and services. They are not required to design special programs for students with disabilities or have Individualized Educational Plans (IEP’s).
What if I think I might have a learning disability?
Colleges are not required to conduct or provide testing or evaluations to determine is a student has a disability. However, Disability Services can provide information about local options if you feel you would benefit from evaluation.
What if I’m a Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission client?
If you have a current relationship with a Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) counselor, you are encouraged to work with them regarding your educational goals. MRC can play an instrumental role in assisting you. If you are not a client but are interested in learning more about disability services offered by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, please call their office at (413) 774-2326.