If you are a student with a disability, you should contact the DSS office to set up an initial appointment. At this time you and the DSS Coordinator will discuss the nature of your disability, the barriers that are impacting the your ability to successfully participate in or complete a program or activity, and possible solutions, such as reasonable accommodations.
Confidentiality of services is a priority for the DSS staff. All DSS records are the sole property of this department and are secure and separate from other college files. We do not release information to any persons or agencies not associated with RVC without the student's written consent. DSS may release information pursuant to a subpoena, in circumstances that might pose danger to self or others, situations of suspected child abuse, and where college officials have a need to know. DSS will release necessary information to RVC personnel who are involved in making requested accommodation arrangements.
The DSS office uses the definition of disability as outlined in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the ADA of 1990, and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. You should be able to discuss what the nature of your disability is, how the disability limits one or more activities of daily living, and how this impact has been addressed previously. If the disability is new or you have not had disability-related educational services in the past, you and the DSS Coordinator will review areas of concern and identify potential resources.
If you request accommodations through the DSS office, you should be prepared to provide documentation that describes your disability and its likely impact on your educational experiences. Documentation varies depending on the nature of the disability, but generally includes information about what the disability is, how it was diagnosed, who made the diagnosis and when, and the history of how the disability has impacted your educational experience. If no disability exists, or no documentation is available, you are encouraged to meet with the DSS Coordinator to discuss options for assessing potential academic barriers, how the barriers relate to your disability, and (if applicable), options for obtaining supporting documentation.
You should be aware that other colleges and universities may have different documentation guidelines and that testing agencies (such as the Regional office of Education and state testing boards) may require different or additional documentation.
The Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) has provided professional guidance regarding disability documentation in higher education. Rock Valley College uses AHEAD's professional guidance as a framework when using documentation to establish disability and support accommodation requests.
At the initial appointment, a DSS staff member will discuss with you any potential barriers that exist as a result of your disability, as well as possible solutions to removing these barriers. If reasonable accommodations are identified, a letter will be drafted which lists those accommodations for which you are eligible. This letter will need to be shared with each of your instructors. It is suggested that you deliver this letter to faculty during their office hours rather than before or after class. Delivering the letter during office hours allows the faculty member adequate time and opportunity to review the letter, as well as discuss with you the accommodations you have requested. Accommodation letters need to be renewed each semester by visiting the DSS office.
You can find detailed information on accommodations available, as well as policies and procedures for utilizing accommodations in our Disability Support Services handbook.