Information for Students
- What is the dS Mission Statement?
- What is the ADA's definition of a "person with a disability"?
- What Documentation of Disabilities do I need to provide?
- What Academic Adjustments may be Available?
- How and When do I Request Academic Adjustments?
- I'm a Guest Student-How Do I Receive Accommodations?
- How Do I Appeal for Academic Adjustments
- What are my rights Student Rights and Student Responsibilities?
- Financial Aid & Scholarships
Specific Services Available - How to use:
- Alternative Format texts
- Interpreter Services
- Notetaking Services
- Service Animal Policy
- Testing Procedures
Other Useful Information
Our mission is to assist in securing access to an equal education at Bucks for students with disabilities that impact on their learning; to encourage an environment of acceptance by removing barriers and addressing attitudes.
A "person with a disability" is anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.
In addition to those people who have visible disabilities-persons who are blind, deaf, or use a wheelchair - the definition includes people with a range of invisible disabilities. These include psychological, learning, and other neurological disabilities, as well as chronic health impairments such as epilepsy, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, cardiac conditions, HIV/AIDS, and more. (Documentation of the disability may be required.)
A person is considered to be a person with a disability if he/she has a disability, has a record of a disability, or is regarded as having a disability.
Documentation of a student’s disability may be required to determine if a student is eligible for services including accommodations. Appropriate documentation must have the following components:
- provided by a licensed and credentialed professional, unrelated to the student
- on letterhead
- describe the disability/diagnosis
- explain the ways the disability affects the students functioning in a learning environment
- may include recommendations for possible accommodations
Questions about documentation are invited and should be directed to the DS staff. Staff may be able to provide referral to sources outside the College for disability-related evaluations. These entities have no affiliation with the college.
Students should be prepared to provide appropriate documentation in order to determine eligibility for services through the dS Office. Specific documentation guidelines are available here:
- Attention Deficit Disorders
- Learning Disability Documentation Guidelines
- Medical Documentation Guidelines
- Psychological or Mental Health Documentation
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For those with Hearing impairments:
- Sign Language Interpreters (see sign language interpreters below)
- Notetaking assistance
- Caption Decoding for TV/Video
- Access to Assistive Listening Devices
- Access to computerized note taking, C-print or CART
For those with Learning impairments:
- Individual and small group instruction in learning strategies
- Academic adjustments
- Orientation to adaptive equipment, such as adaptive computer software and hardware.
- Access to texts in alternate formats
- Adaptive software such as Read+Write
For those with Physical impairments
- Modified tables in classrooms for wheelchair users upon request
- Physical access orientation to the campus
- Information on parking and location of elevators
- Access to texts in alternative formats
- Orientation to adaptive technology, such as scan and read software, speech to text and others.
- Access to alternative seating for those with orthopedic impairments
- Various academic adjustments
For those with Visual Impairments
- Access to texts in alternate formats, including accessible etext and audio text
- Contact with Braille services
- Enlarging class handouts, quizzes, and tests
- Orientation to adaptive equipment, such as portable magnifiers, audio text readers, and other technology
- Adaptive Technology--JAWS, Zoomtext, Inspiration -- is available for students
- Read & Write software can be found on all student and faculty computers
All Students May Be Eligible For The Following Services:
- Individual assistance with advising and priority registration
- Accommodations for testing, including Placements Tests
- Assistance in identifying needs to faculty
- Liaison with the tutoring Center and all campus resources as needed
- Consultation with faculty concerning appropriate academic adjustments
- Short-term personal and career counseling
- Networking with appropriate community agencies and service providers
Other accommodations may be available on a case by case basis. This is a sampling of the typical services provided to some students. It is not meant to be exhaustive of all possibilities, nor to be considered as guaranteed to all students. Eligibility for any accommodation is determined by dS staff.
Accommodations work best when planned well in advance! While all requests will be considered as received, know that late requests may result in delays in having accommodations in place when needed. We strongly encourage students to follow this time line:
For Fall Incoming Students: Interview with dS by mid- May - Complete Request for Accommodations by mid July
For Spring Incoming Students: Interview with dS by mid October - Complete Request for Accommodations by mid- December
For Summer Incoming Students: Interview with dS during the Spring Semester.
Students should contact disAbility Services (dS), located in the Student Services Center, on the first floor of the Rollins Center. The telephone number is 215-968-8182. We recommend making an appointment with either Marie Cooper, Director who works with students who have physical, health, psychological or neurological disabilities. April Thompson, the Assistant Director, works with students who have learning impairments, attention disorders or neurological impairments. This is the time to introduce yourself, ask about services and discuss and request accommodations.
The documentation to verify one's disability and need for academic adjustments should meet these characteristics:
- Must clearly describe the disability
- Must explain what limitations result from the disability that affect functioning in a learning environment;
- Should be relatively current, speaking to the student's present needs as a college student; Currency may be determined by dS staff
- Be provided by a qualified unrelated professional.
- Refer to Documentation Guidelines for more specific information
All documentation is kept confidential in dS and will not be shown to anyone without the student's written permission. A Request for Academic Adjustments is available at each campus, at the link below, and from any dS staff person.
You may download the form to fill out and mail or scan in. Academic Adjustment Request Form
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I am a Guest Student-How Do I Receive Academic Adjustments?
As a guest student, you can apply to the college here. To receive academic adjustments, you must have a letter from your current institution stating that your are registered with their office, and what adjustments you receive. The letter should be directed to our office.
You will also need to fill out an Academic Adjustment Request Form. Forms can be directed to Marie Cooper for Medical or Physical disabilities, or April Thompson for learning disabilities, mental or psychological diagnoses, or cognitive disorders. If you are unsure, forms my be directed to Marie or April.
At BCCC the disAbility Services (dS) Office is responsible for determining eligibility for accommodations and recommending reasonable accommodations based on legal guidelines and the essential requirements of a course.
Students who are denied an accommodation by dS or do not receive a dS approved accommodation from an instructor may be eligible to an appeal. The student may appeal to the disAbility Services Office or to the instructor if the disAbility Services Office had previously approved the requested accommodations.
This appeal process is available to every student after a written request for academic adjustments is denied by dS staff or by the Instructor. You can download the steps and Academic Adjustment Appeal Form.
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If you use screen reader software and have trouble viewing these forms, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for compatible formats.
Students have the right to:
- An equal education
- Reasonable academic accommodations/adjustments
- Participate in College sponsored activities, programs and services with or without accommodations
- File a grievance if accommodations are not provided or approved
The Student is responsible for:
- The Student is responsible for identifying their needs to dS before the semester begins or as soon as possible in order for adjustments to be in place when needed. Students who do not identify themselves may still be eligible for services at a later date and should contact dS as soon as possible. Academic adjustments can not be made for activities performed before a student identifies him/herself to dS. Academic Adjustments are not retroactive.
- The Student is also responsible for securing and providing documentation of their disability, according to the college's dS policies.
- The Student must request academic adjustments every semester, in a timely fashion. dS may be able to assist in identifying reasonable accommodations if the student is unsure.
- Students are responsible for notifying dS immediately if accommodations are not being provided after communicating with the instructor.
Students who need academic adjustments and have provided necessary documentation are encouraged to follow these steps:
- When a student registers for classes, or no later than two weeks before classes start, students should complete a "Request for Academic Adjustments" and return it to dS. Upon approval, dS will prepare and provide Faculty Memos to students for them to discuss with their instructors.
- Students should meet or communicate with their instructors during the first week of class to discuss the letter, their accommodations, and how the adjustments will be made.
- Students should remind instructors during the semester of the accommodations required. Remember, instructors may not recall requests made at the beginning of the semester. For example, a good practice is to remind instructors a week in advance of a test if test modifications are needed.
- Let dS know immediately if an approved accommodation is not being provided.
For information about federal and state financial aid, based on income eligibility, or questions regarding your financial aid status, contact the Financial Aid Department. You can find information at their website or by calling 215.968.8200. The offices are located on the first floor of the Linksz Pavillion. All questions about Financial Aid should be directed to them.
There is money “out there”, scholarships, grants, and other forms of assistance, just waiting for you to apply. While there are sources that are specifically for those with disabilities, check on-line those that are also based on a student’s program of study, future goals, cultural factors, etc.
About scholarships, know that they are always changing, new ones created and old ones go away. It is a challenge to keep up with what is current but it can be very worth your time. Below is a list of sites and sources of which the dS Office is most familiar. Go ahead and Google “college scholarships/financial aid”, then “college scholarships for students with disabilities”. Read the applications and qualifications to see if you might be eligible.
- http://www.proyectovision.net/english/news/47/scholarships.html Click on “Opportunities”. Lots to read through…
- http://www.nfb.org/nfb/Programs.asp?SnID=1298445239 (search: scholarships)
- http://www.bucks.edu/about/foundation/scholarships/ for scholarships at Bucks.
- There is a $500 grant available to any deaf/hard of hearing or blind/low vision student from the PA Dept. of Education. These are grants that students can use at any college. This grant is advertised by the state and is available annually until further notice. Click here for the link to the DOE scholarship.
Remember to check the Bucks Foundation Website for many scholarships including at least three disability-related ones, offered in Jun/July annually. The same web site also lists Legacy scholarships, some with a disability focus, others open to anyone, in the spring each year.. Explore them all!
We wish you well in your search!
disAbility Services acquires accessible alternative texts in different ways. Most texts are acquired through the Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC). Here is the process for requesting your textbooks in alternative formats:
1. Speak to a dS staff who can approve that you are eligible for this service.
2. Go to the bookstore page link. Search for your courses and section and find your text book information. Here is the link: Bookstore Webpage
Note: If the bookstore does not have the information on their page yet contact the academic department that offers each of your courses. They will be glad to provide you with the same information.
1. Be sure to get all of the following information:
Publisher (this is not on the bookstore page; please Google the book for publisher information)
If the bookstore page link is not current contact the academic department that offers your course(s).
2. Complete the Request for Texts in Alternative Format
Include all books on one form if possible. Remember to enter the 7-Digit Course Number on the form (for example, BIOL115),and enter the 2- or 3-Digit Section Number (for example, E59 or ND). Incomplete forms slow the process.
Return form to email@example.com, or fax to 215-968-8033(fax) .
3. Read carefully and complete by initialing and signing the AMAC Student Participation Agreement.
You can initial it by typing in your initials and your name at the end.
4. Purchase the hard copy of your texts and provide a copy of the receipt to dS Office at Bucks.
The text must be purchased by the beginning of the semester and is a requirement of publishers and e-text resources in order to acquire the alternative format.
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More resources for users of alternative format books
The dS office is happy to share information about other resources for accessible books, needed for study or pleasure, that can be accessed directly by the user. Resources are changing frequently. It is recommended that users try all resources available. Please note that this short list is not meant to include all options.
1. STEPP The Student E-Rent Pilot Project (STEPP)
STEPP is an eTextbook rental program offering textbooks that "all" students can read by listening. This service costs less than the retail cost of a hard copy text and can be used on almost any device.
STEPP was launched by the AMAC, in partnership with CourseSmart and the AccessText, through a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), U.S. Department of Education. This program is designed to meet the textbook rental needs of any postsecondary student and aims to help improve low-cost access to higher education textbooks for all students, including those with print-related disabilities.
To learn more visit STEPP or call AMAC at 404-894-8000 http://stepp.gatech.edu/faq.php
2. Learning Ally, previously known as Recordings For the Blind & Dyslexic
Learning Ally also produces textbooks in audio format They describe themselves as having "the world’s largest digital library of accessible audio textbooks narrated by real people – not computers". Narrators include professionals in the content field: people who can explain every picture, diagram and chart. Learning Ally e-books can be used on a wide range of devices, from PCs to portable devices, such as the iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad.
Membership is $99 per year, and includes unlimited access to the full library. www.learningally.org
Interpreter Services may be provided when a student follows the instructions listed for Requesting Academic Adjustments in a timely fashion.
- Students who need interpreter services are urged to register as early as possible, with the help of dS if needed, in order for dS to secure the interpreter(s) needed;
- Late requests will be honored as soon as possible and will depend on availability of staff to respond at that time;
- Note that finding interpreters depends on their availability; schedules are often set over a month in advance;
- Students who use interpreters must follow the dS guidelines regarding a student's responsibility in using interpreters. A copy of these guidelines will be provided to every deaf student. If you have not received one, request one immediately.
- Services may be canceled if a student does not follow the guidelines and communicate with dS.
NOTE: dS makes an effort to respond to students' requests for specific interpreters but cannot guarantee such requests will be fulfilled. Interpreter availability depends on many factors. We encourage students to discuss this with us.
The Consequences of misuse and abuse of Interpreting Services:
- Interpreter services may be discontinued if a student has excessive absences from class, calls to cancel services frequently, or otherwise misuses the services. dS will attempt to meet with such students before deciding to end services.
- The interpreter will be re-assigned to another class if a student is more than 10 minutes late. The interpreter will leave class and may be sent to another assignment. If a student is late, contact dS and the Interpreter.
The procedures for note taking assistance in your classes are:
1. Student fills out the Request for Accommodations Form (green) at least one week before the semester begins and requests note taking assistance, discussing all options with dS staff;
2. disAbility Services completes Accommodation Memo(s) and makes a copy to be sent to the student. The original (yellow or orange) memo is given to the instructor before classes begin along with some written tips for how best to assist the student in finding a qualified notepaper in the class.
3.The instructor makes an announcement to the class during the first week of the semester. The instructor will not identify the student who is requesting a notetaker but will help connect the volunteer with the student needing assistance after class.
4. If the notetaker wants to receive a stipend for this service, he/she will need to fill out a Note Taker Application in the Disability Services Office (Rollins Room 8). They will also need to read and follow the Note Taking Brochure and return the Note Taking Invoice. If not, the notetaker and the student requesting assistance should talk about how best to share notes.
5. Non-carbon, two-copy note pads are available at no cost through the dS Office. It is the responsibility of the student requesting assistance to secure a Note-writer book. This book can be used for the semester. Additional copies can be available upon request.
6. Students requesting notetakers are expected to attend all classes and to take their own notes as best they can. The notetaker's notes can supplement what the student has. NOTETAKERS ARE NOT EXPECTED TO TAKE NOTES FOR A STUDENT WHO DOES NOT ATTEND CLASS FOR ANY REASON.
If a notetaker does not volunteer, thestudent should notify Marie Cooper (x8463) or April Thompson (x8465) by the second week of the semester.
Other note - taking strategies include:
- Using a Smart Pen (information available through dS)
- Requesting instructors notes (sometimes available to all students)
- Assessing the format of the class to determine how notes can be best taken in that class based on the student's needs
A "service animal" is defined by the ADA as a dog that has been specifically trained to perform tasks or services for the benefit of an individual with a disability. These include, but are not limited to, guiding persons with restricted vision, alerting those who have hearing losses to the presences of others, pulling a wheelchair, retrieving dropped items, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties.
Bucks County Community College and disAbility Services (dS) recognizes that students with disabilities have the right to use trained service animals on campus. Students who require the use of service animals shall discuss specific needs and services with dS professional staff, prior to starting classes. Students with disabilities who want/need to bring a service animal to campus must register with disAbility Services. Registration helps to assure the student is fully accommodated by having the service animal on campus and provides an opportunity to inform the student of any guidelines to follow in handling their service animal at Bucks County Community College.
Students are responsible for the dog's behavior while on campus including in and outside of the classroom. Service animals must comply with leash laws and be controlled by the student at all times. The student is ultimately responsible for the cleanliness, grooming and health of the animal and takes responsibility for the proper disposal of all waste. If the service animal's behavior is disruptive, aggressive or destructive, the student will be held responsible and may be asked to remove the animal from campus. ( Adapted from the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP New ADA Service Animal Definition, 7/23/10)
Together, the student and instructor are encouraged to determine the best way to take tests with accommodations. Whenever possible students are urged to take tests in the classroom or with the instructor as long as the needed modifications can be made. Aids such as interpreters, large print, computers, and extra time may be available for tests given in the classroom. Students may also use the Testing Center to take tests with accommodations. If accommodations are needed, the studet should make arrangements with the instructor in advance in order to schedule the test according to the Testing Center procedures. Instructors must provide the test to the Tesing Center along with a proctor sheet listing any accommodations needed. For Testing Center Information, please refer to the Testing Center Web Page.
Students and instructors should work together with input from dS to determine the best way to administer tests to the student. A student is not required to take a test if accommodations are not made as earlier agreed. If this occurs the student should notify dS as soon as possible.
When needed tests may be taken at the dS office with permission of dS staff and with at least 5 business days notice from the student. Failure to provide this notice may effect the ability to take the test when desired by the student and instructor.
College policies and procedures concerning plagiarism will be strictly enforced. If there is evidence of plagiarism, the exam will be stopped, materials will be confiscated, and the instructor will be notified immediately. (See the college catalog for the College's Policy Regarding Cheating and Plagiarism).
Test Modifications can include:
- Use of a calculator
- Use of tape recorders
- Use of computers/word processors, and other adaptive equipment.
- Extended time, readers, scribes, sign language interpreters, and distraction-free environment.
Special parking areas are available for lift vans and appropriately marked accessible vehicles. Permits for these parking areas are available at the College's Security Office and Student Services. You can find more information on the Security and Safety Webpage.
Applications for both Pennsylvania Disability License Plates and Pennsylvania Disability Parking Placards are available at State Police Barracks, Auto Tags Service Centers, and the Disability Services Office.
From Lower Bucks:
Route 413 North through Langhorne Borough to the Newtown/Route 413 Bypass (traffic light after George School).
Left onto Bypass, straight onto Swamp Road at Tyler State Park. Follow signs to College (approx. 1 mile) on left.
I-95 to Exit 30-Newtown-Route 332. Proceed West towards Newtown and follow this road straight to the College entrance, approximately 5 miles on left.
From the Pennsylvania Turnpike:
PA Turnpike to Exit 28-Philadelphia. Proceed to Route 1 North to Route 413 North. Take Route 413 North. Follow directions from Lower Bucks above.
From Upper Bucks:
Route 313 South or Route 202 East to Route 263 North (Buckingham). Follow Route 263 North for 2.5 miles to Route 413 South. Turn right onto Route 413 South towards Newtown and proceed for approximately 9 miles. At "T" Intersection in Newtown, turn right onto Durham Road (Route 532) and proceed to the next traffic light, facing the entrance to Tyler State Park. Turn right onto Swamp Road. The College is approximately 1 mile on the left.
From the Warminster, Warrington Area:
East on Street road (Route 132) to Second Street Pike (Route 232). Left on Second Street Pike into Richboro. Turn right onto Route 332 East (Richboro/Newtown Road) and proceed approximately 3 miles to Newtown, Route 413 Bypass. Turn left onto Bypass.
At next light, continue straight ahead to Swamp Road. The College is approximately 1 mile on the left.
From Abington, Willow Grove, Hatboro, Wyncote, Jenkintown:
North on Old York Road through Willow Grove and Hatboro to Street Road (Route. 132) in Warminster. Turn right onto Street Road. Follow directions above from the Warminster, Warrington area.
Did you find this information to be helpful?
We'd like to know what you think. If you have any thoughts or suggestions--please e-mail Marie Cooper