GCC’s Services for Disabled Students

GCC offers an array of services tailored to the needs of students who are disabled. Should any student need services, they can refer to the Center for Students with Disabilities, which is a division of Disabled Student Programs and Services that focuses on counseling and guidance for newly admitted disabled students. Filling out the application is easy. Students would have to put in their personal information and their diagnoses, along with medical documentation addressing the disability in question.

“If they call us or come in person, we will ask them to give us their email and we will send them the application,” student services tech Flora Armen said. “If they are coming in person we will hand them the application, but if they are calling, we will email them the application. And then have to fill out the application and also attach a verification. It can either be an IEP from High School, Medical records or physical diagnosis.”

The application will also ask the student whether they have enrolled in either the Department of Rehabilitation or the Regional Center, or both. This offers additional aid to students outside of grade school, once their IEP throughout their years in K through 12 schools have been completed.
Next, they will have to meet up with a counselor in order to determine accommodations the student will require while taking classes. This can either be interpreters for the deaf and hard of hearing, and or note takers for those with vision loss or any learning disability. Note takers and interpreters usually are students who have applied for work study, and may choose to work for DSPS. The hourly pay is $15, for those interested.

After a student has enrolled in DSPS and is taking classes at GCC, one of the resources a student can use is the Accommodations Resource Center, known as ARC. This program offers students help and support for their current classes, or proctoring for an exam. For those students who need extra time on their exams or quizzes, or for those who require an alternative or helpful aid during their time at GCC, they will have to first consult with a specialist every semester. This is because every class at GCC and every instructor is different.

A disability specialist can then determine what kind of services they would need for their time at GCC, whether it be screen readers for those who are blind, interpreters for the deaf and hard of hearing, or learning aids for those who have learning disabilities. DSPS can also assess a student’s learning disability. The process could take several hours to complete. Students can then request reading materials or paper handouts to be made into an accessible format, whether it is audio or electronic PDF or DOCX files. For the deaf and hard of hearing, DSPS can also offer recording software with text transcripts, so that the words of an instructor can be viewed in text as well as audio. The ARC also offers tutoring for those who have trouble with math, and even recommends certain apps like Photomath or Microsoft Math Solver, so that a student can take a picture of a math problem and a step-by-step guide is revealed in how to solve them.

“I would love for the new students to know that I am here on campus [and] we are available for everyone to come if they have questions,” high tech specialist Rojelio Ramirez said in an interview. “I want to let students know [to] please come in and talk to us. You’re not alone, we are here to support you, if you have any questions or concerns.”

The Center for Students with Disabilities is located in the San Gabriel building. For students who are already in DSPS, the Accommodations Resource Center is located in SG 108.

Oscar Cartagena can be reached at [email protected].