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Disability Services Office

Disability Services Office exterior

Efforts to comply with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, both in letter and in spirit, have resulted in increasing the numbers of adults with disabilities achieving great success at the college level. The goal of assistive and learning support services is to “level the playing field” to provide equal access to education for all at Leeward Community College. Accommodations given to students with disabilities in no way afford them an unfair advantage. Rather, they are in place to assist students with disabilities to overcome the disadvantages that would otherwise hinder their access.

The Disability Services Office (DSO) provides services for students with documented disabilities which allow them to access the instructional programs/materials. We collaborate with students, faculty, staff, and the campus community to cultivate a universally designed environment that facilitates the removal of existing barriers for the full inclusion of people with disabilities. DSO is the only approved entity to verify a disability and determine an accommodation.

Disability Services Office

Room LC 213
Services: Monday-Friday 8:00 am - 4:00 pm (excluding holidays)
Services provided online, by phone or by e-mail.
In-Person Access: 9:00 am - 2:00 pm

FACULTY
Kris Hernandez
Coordinator/Disability Specialist
khernand@hawaii.edu
(808) 455-0421

Allan Nebrija
Disability Specialist
anebrija@hawaii.edu
(808) 455-0405


The purpose of Disability Services is to give support and assistance with learning. Disability Services Office provides services to students with documented disabilities that allow them to access the instruction in their classrooms, whether they are face-to-face, virtual (synchronous/asynchronous) or hybrid in nature. These classroom accommodations enable students to maximize their learning experience and independence to the fullest extent possible. The Disability Services Office also works to increase the level of awareness among all members of the college community so that students with learning challenges feel comfortable and do not feel limited in their abilities to strive for and achieve excellence.

Eligibility for these services is determined individually. Early planning is essential for many of the resources and accommodations provided. While students may request accommodations at any time, we ask that you contact us as you become aware of the need for services so we may assist you.

Our Services

A variety of services are available for students with disabilities at Leeward Community College. These may include:

  • Academic accommodations
    • Priority registration
    • Audio capture of class notes
    • Sign-Language Interpreting
    • Distraction-reduced testing environment
    • Extended time for quiz/test/exam
    • Alternative testing procedures
  • Assistive Technology
    • Auxiliary aides and equipment
    • Scanning and printing services
    • Alternate format textbooks
    • Text to speech software
    • Speech to text software
    • Computers with other assistive software
  • In-person Support
    • Faculty Liaison
    • Scribes and/or readers
  • Special needs tables and chairs
  • Success, Skills and Informational handouts

In order to evaluate all requests for classroom accommodations and services,our Disability Specialists will need information about how your disability is likely to impact you at Leeward Community College. While students may initiate Disability Service at any time during the semester, please note that accommodations are not retroactive and that some accommodations require time for arrangements to be made (example: an ASL interpreter for class lectures).

Documentation

Every postsecondary school has its own requirements for documentation. A high school IEP or Section 504 plan may help to identify educational accommodations that have previously been beneficial to you. However, they are generally not enough documentation to establish the connection between the nature of your disability and the need for classroom accommodation in order to provide equal access to opportunity. The U.S. Department of Education provides examples of some documentation that may be necessary from a medical doctor, psychologist, or other qualified diagnostician. They include (U.S. Department of Education, 2007):

  • A diagnosis of your current disability.
  • The date of the diagnosis.
  • How the diagnosis was reached.
  • The credentials of the professional.
  • How your disability affects a major life activity (as in Section 504’s definition of disability).
  • How the disability affects your academic performance.

**Please note: Any information or documentation that students can readily share during or prior to their first meeting is helpful and can save the need for follow-up meetings with our Disability Specialists. We recognize that barriers exist and can create hardship for students with regard to having and presenting third party disability documentation. Please don’t delay submitting the self-identification form because you are concerned you don’t have the appropriate paperwork. If you have information or documentation, you will be provided an opportunity to upload it with your self-identification form.

STEPS TO APPLY

  1. Open the "Program Online Services."
  2. Click on "First Time Students"
  3. Click on the “Register” button
  4. Log in with your UH Username and password.
  5. You'll be asked a few questions about yourself, complete the online form and hit "Submit."
  6. After you submit the online form, please re-enter our Program Online Services. and select “Schedule an Appointment” to arrange your Intake Interview appointment with one of our Disability Specialists. We look forward to discussing your individual needs for classroom accommodation.

RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

  • Students must self-identify as needing disability services in a timely manner to the Disability Services Office, preferably before or at the start of the semester.
  • Students may provide documentation, assessments, test results and additional information if needed, prior to any provision of services.
  • Accommodations cannot be retroactive and begin only after it is determined that an accommodation is required.
  • Feel free to discuss your accommodations with your instructors (privately, during their office hours) as you choose. Communicate with your course instructors so they may better assist you.
  • Students may appeal any decision regarding reasonable accommodations.
  • To give their professors accommodation letters notifying them of the need for special testing arrangements as soon as possible. Students are advised to obtain letters prior to the examination date, rather than on the date of the exam.
  • To notify the Disability Services Office (455-0421) 48 hours prior to taking an exam proctored by the Disability Services Office. Exams should be scheduled to ensure sufficient time for completion. At closing time, unfinished exams will have to be turned in.

CONFIDENTIALITY AND RELEASE OF INFORMATION

  • Disability Specialists view all materials pertaining to a student’s disability as confidential. All disability-related information for students at Leeward Community College is housed in the Disability Services Office. Only staff persons working at Disability Services has access to these files. Registration with Disability Services will not appear on transcripts.
  • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) do not allow faculty or others access to disability-related information (e.g. diagnosis, medications).
  • The Disability Services Office will not share a student’s medical information with Leeward Community College faculty or staff without the student’s consent.
  • Disability Specialists will confirm registration and approved accommodations on a need-to-know basis.
  • The Disability Services Office will not disclose any student’s medical or registration information to an employer or other outside organization without the student’s permission.
  • The Disability Services Office will retain all disability documentation for three years after the last contact with student.

CONTINUING/RETURNING STUDENTS

Please remember to notify your Course Instructors of your classroom accommodation needs each semester. Even when students plan to utilize the same classroom accommodations that have been arranged in previous semesters, they must notify the instructors of their new classes by visiting our "Program Online Services".

Students have 3 options to set up an appointment with one of our Disability Specialists:

  1. Walk-in to our office (LC 213) on the Leeward Campus. We are located to the right of the entrance to the Leeward Community College Learning Commons.
  2. Call us at (808) 455-0421. Our office hours are Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
  3. Or email us at leedso@hawaii.edu

STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES/TESTING PROCEDURES

  • To give their professors accommodation letters notifying them of the need for special testing arrangements as soon as possible. Students are advised to obtain letters prior to the examination date, rather than on the date of the exam.
  • To notify the DSO, (808) 455-0421, 48 hours prior to taking an exam proctored by the DSO. Exams should be scheduled to ensure sufficient time for completion. At closing time, unfinished exams will have to be turned in.
  • Not to bring any materials into the testing area other than those allowed by the instructor. The DSO faculty will notify the professor if books or notes are used during the test or academic dishonesty is suspected.
  • Once testing begins, students must stay in the testing area and complete their test or turn it in incomplete.

HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS IN TRANSITION

High school students with disabilities should visit the U.S. Department of Education website regarding Preparing for Postsecondary Education to learn more about the civil rights of students with disabilities in postsecondary education institutions.

OTHER RESOURCES FOR STUDENTS

  • The Writing Center is the place where all students at Leeward Community College can go to find writing assistance for their courses.
  • The Math Lab provides assistance with routine math problems and a helpful environment for students to study or do homework. Tutoring is available for MATH and QM coursework as well as textbooks, calculators, computers and other learning tools.
  • The Leeward CC Library and Learning Commons is open for students to borrow books and laptops, do research, find a place to study, print and copy, or even get a bite to eat. Come in and see someone at the circulation desk for help with borrowing services.
  • Hawaii Vocational Rehabilitation & Services for the Blind provides services by the State of Hawaii's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). If you are eligible for assistance through DVR, you may be able to receive disability evaluation at no cost. Please see their website for more informatio.
  • KŌKUA Disability Office is the primary unit for disability counseling and support services at UH Mānoa. Students should contact this office when intending to transfer to UH Mānoa.

INFORMATION FOR FACULTY

WEB ACCESSIBILITY (ONLINE COURSES) All web pages and corresponding software must adhere to the accessibility standards in conjunction with section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act. You can check your web page for section 508 accessibility by using the following website: website.

It is the responsibility of the faculty to work in conjunction with the Disability Services Office (DSO) in providing approved accommodations and support services for students in a fair and timely manner. Students are encouraged to initiate a meeting with you to discuss any particulars that apply to their accommodations as needed.

Federal Regulations that protect equal access for persons with disabilities in colleges and universities include:

  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • The Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1991
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990

"ADA is first and foremost a matter of civil rights. Too many people still do not fully understand how vital the Americans with Disabilities Act is to our nation. But we do, for we know that discrimination toward any group hurts every group."
Rep. Norman Y. Mineta

Students needing academic accommodations for a disability must first register with the DSO. Students must visit https://www.leeward.hawaii.edu/dso to begin the process of determining the appropriate accommodations based on disability. Once registered, if approved, students will submit an Accommodation Letter to faculty through the electronic portal then communicate directly with each instructor to make appropriate arrangements. Please note that accommodations are not retroactive and require advance notice to implement.

FACULTY RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Include an accommodation statement on every syllabus and read aloud to students during the first week of class.
  • Discuss with the student the accommodations or arrangements requested by the DSO Disability Specialist on the accommodation form as soon as possible.
  • Contact the DSO faculty if you have any questions or concerns about the requested accommodations. We make every effort to assign classroom accommodations as appropriate, however, we cannot know the specific design of every course.
    **When necessary we welcome the opportunity to discuss the intersection of the student’s lack of access and your course design in order to determine the appropriate accommodations.
  • Provide the accommodations either personally or by making arrangements with the DSO.
  • Assure the confidentiality of any information relating to a student and a disability. At no time should the class be informed that a student does have a disability.
  • Destroy all disability-related documents after the student is either no longer in your class or the session is completed.
  • Ensure that the student with a disability is held accountable for the mastery of material as all students; although it may be demonstrated in a different manner.
  • Ensure testing will occur in an appropriate manner. If the test will be administered in a location other than the classroom, ensure all directions are communicated to the test administrator. Coordinate test delivery and return with the DSO.
  • WEB ACCESSIBILITY (ONLINE COURSES) All web pages and corresponding software must adhere to the accessibility standards in conjunction with section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act. You can check your web page for section 508 accessibility by using the following website: website.

PROTECTION FOR FACULTY

If a student reveals to you at any time that they have a disability and that they need accommodation, you should refer them to the Disability Services Office.

When appropriate, you will receive an Accommodation Notice from leedso@hawaii.edu.

This Accommodation Notice is your assurance that the student has gone through the appropriate process with the Disability Services Office in order to determine the appropriate accommodations for this student.

Classroom Accommodation(s) are not retroactive, they go into effect once you acknowledge receipt of this notice. What's more, the accommodations outlined in the letter are determined by the Specialist in the Disability Services Office based on the student's specific disability, documentation prepared by a professional(s) in the appropriate field, and previous education history. These accommodations have been deemed reasonable and necessary in order to promote equal access to the college for students with disabilities.

It is critical that no other accommodations be offered to the student without contacting the Disability Services Office to determine if it is deemed appropriate in light of the functional impact of the particular disability.

Contacting the Disability Services Office will protect you from acting "on behalf" of the College. The Disability Services Office is the only approved entity to verify a disability and determine an accommodation. Any approved changes will be noted in the student file.

TESTING PROCEDURES

FACULTY RESPONSIBILITIES:

  1. Students who qualify for special testing arrangements are responsible to provide you with an Accommodation letter from the DSO. This notification will show the specific testing needs the student qualifies to receive.
  2. Generally, testing is done in the classroom, DSO or the Testing Center unless otherwise specified on the Accommodation notice.
  3. Faculty is responsible for dropping off the testing materials to the DSO 72 hours prior to the student taking the exam. DSO will contact the Faculty after the student completes the examination material. Faculty is then responsible for picking up the exam materials from the DSO.
  4. Students are reminded by the DSO that they are not to bring any materials into the testing area other than those allowed by the professor. (Please note any special test allowances on the test.) The DSO faculty will notify you if books or notes are used during the test or if academic dishonesty is suspected.
  5. If you have questions or concerns about these procedures or student accommodations, please contact the Disability Services Office at ex: 421.

STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES:

  1. To give their professors accommodation letters notifying them of the need for special testing arrangements as soon as possible. b Students are advised to obtain letters prior to the examination date, rather than on the date of the exam.
  2. To notify the DSO (455-0421) 48 hours prior to taking an exam proctored by the DSO. Exams should be scheduled to ensure sufficient time for completion. At closing time, unfinished exams will have to be turned in.
  3. Not to bring any materials into the testing area other than those allowed by the instructor. The DSO faculty will notify the professor if books or notes are used during the test or academic dishonesty is suspected.
  4. Once testing begins, students must stay in the testing area and complete their test or turn it in incomplete.

POSSIBLE ACCOMMODATIONS

NOTE TAKING

Students approved for this accommodation will provide you with the accommodation form indicating its appropriateness. the student will use their own equipment to utilize the audio note taking application that DSO provides for students. If you have questions or concerns with this arrangement, please contact DSO @ x 421..

EXTENDED TIME ON EXAMS AND QUIZZES

The student who is eligible for extended time for testing purposes has provided documentation about the impact of the disability on this activity. Extended time is appropriate to assure equal opportunity to show content mastery by providing time that is necessary to compensate for the disability.

A study was conducted at the University of California, Berkeley* which has since been replicated a number of times with comparable results. Students with and without certain disabilities were tested on a timed test and given extended time. The study showed that for students w/disabilities, the extended time made a significant difference in performance. For the students w/out disabilities, the added time did not make a significant difference in performance. No matter how logical it seems to say "everyone would do better if they had extra time", there is documented evidence to show this is not the case.

*M. Kay Runyan (February, 1991), Journal of Learning Disabilities, Vol. 24(2), pp.104-108. Alster, E.H. (1997), Journal of Learning Disabilities, Vol. 30, pp222-227.

If a student is approved for extended time, the extension should be given for tests and in-class work only. This does not apply to work that is done outside of class, except in rare cases that will be stated clearly in the accommodation notice from DSO. Structured syllabus with assignments and time-lines are highly desirable.

INTERPRETING SERVICES

Students using American Sign Language (ASL) as their means of communication will be provided with an ASL interpreter as an accommodation. The interpreter will serve as the "voice" of the student and the "voice" of the instructor.

PERSONAL AIDE OR SKILLS COACH

When a student requires the assistance of a personal aide or skills coach (many other terms are used interchangeably), the student (often a family member) is required to make arrangements for this accommodation independently. The assistant shall provide you with an accommodation notice ahead of time. The personal assistant or skills coach is not an employee of Leeward Community College, as such DSO faculty discusses behavioral expectations of the aide and the Student Conduct Code that applies.

No, accommodations are not retroactive. Accommodations are only active from the time you complete your intake with the Leeward DSO and when you provide notice to your instructors. For example, you cannot apply for classroom accommodations during the middle of the semester and expect those accommodations to apply to previous assignments, exams, or quizzes.

Yes, you can still receive accommodations if you don’t have documentation. If you are able to articulate your disability clearly and provide information about how your disability creates a learning barrier for you during the intake process we may be able to provide you with certain accommodations. Depending on the type of accommodations being requested we may request that you provide us with documentation of your disability beyond the information you have already given us during the intake process.

Typically you can provide us with documentation from a doctor, psychologist, psychiatrist, or a medical professional. Please be sure to include the following information:

  • A diagnosis of your current disability
  • The date of the diagnosis
  • How the diagnosis was reached
  • The credentials of the professional
  • How your disability affects a major life activity (as in Section 504’s definition of disability)
  • How the disability affects your academic performance

Generally, no. Although an IEP or Section 504 plan may help identify services that have been used by a student in the past, they generally are not sufficient documentation to support the existence of a current disability and need for an academic adjustment from an institution of postsecondary education.

IDEA Laws for minors in a mandatory educational setting include the implementation and process for Individualized Educational Plans in order to provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).
Adults who enroll in post-secondary elective education are served by different laws, namely, the ADAAA2008 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The purpose of these laws are to prevent discrimination on the basis of disabiltiy and to provide equall access to opportunity in the college programs and services.
There are many reasons for denial of accommodations. These reasons may include:the documentation does not support the requested accommodation; the accommodation would fundamentally alter an activity, course, or program; providing the accommodation would pose a direct threat to the health & safety of the student or to others; and/or providing the accommodation would constitute an undue financial or administrative burden to the College.

The purpose of an accommodation is to “level the playing field” to the extent that is possible. Accommodations are made to ensure that the College does not discriminate against students with disabilities or have the effect of excluding students on the basis of a disability. Reasonable accommodations may include extended time on a test, being able to record a class and/or sign-language interpreting, just to name a few examples. Your accommodations depend on your current symptoms, the extent to which those symptoms create a substantial limitation to a major life activity and the demands or design of a particular class. Your current life experiences are important in determining what you might be eligible for, and why. Taking into account your particular situation, accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis.

No. The initial intake interview is a one time meeting, and does not have to occur every semester. However, if you would like to request changes to your accommodations, or if you are experiencing any challenges in receiving your accommodations from your professor it would be best to schedule a meeting with your Disability Specialist.

No, a student has the right to never mention his/her disability to a teacher and to never submit the accommodations request letter to that teacher, or to any teacher if so desired. However, the student may not make up work or tests with accommodations at a later date if she/he chooses not to present the letter at the beginning of the semester. Also, a student must present the letter well in advance of any test for which accommodations are desired.

No, instructors have no obligation to provide any accommodations to a student without having received email notification issued by the Disability Services Office. All accommodations must be approved by the Leeward Disability Services Office before the instructor is obligated to provide any accommodations to a student.

Students can request accommodations at any point during the semester, but any grades already in place or tests taken before accommodations were granted will not be changed or repeated once accommodations are in place. Please note that not all accommodations can be immediately implemented and no grades given during the implementation period will be changed.

Once your eligibility for accommodations is determined by the Leeward CC DSO, it stays in place during your time at Leeward CC. However, keep in mind that, over time, accommodations may need to be adjusted because symptoms and their impact may change and/or the particular format and nature of a class may warrant new challenges. In these situations, reach out to the Leeward DSO to discuss adjustments needed to your accommodations.