What should I know about Disability Support Services?
The Disability Support Services (DSS) Office at OTC is responsible for serving students with disabilities who choose to register with the office while enrolled at OTC. DSS personnel are tasked with providing reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities to ensure their equal access to and participation in the college’s programs, services and/or activities.
If a student desires support, advocacy, and/or accommodations through the DSS Office at OTC, they must complete a Disability Support Application through MyOTC > Getting Started > Disability Support Application. Upon receipt of their application, a DSS staff member will contact them to schedule an intake appointment with a Disability Resource Counselor (DRC) in the DSS office. Their intake appointment will last approximately one hour. During their appointment, they will have an opportunity to meet with DSS staff, familiarize themselves with the office and its resources and processes, and learn about the services for which they may qualify.
The student’s DRC may request documentation related to their disability and its potential impact in the academic setting. The Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) has provided professional guidance related to disability documentation in higher education. OTC utilizes AHEAD’s professional guidance as a framework for the use of documentation in establishing disability, supporting student needs, and fulfilling accommodation requests. Documentation can take a variety of forms including student’s self-report, staff observation and interaction, and/or information received from external or third parties. External or third parties may include educational records from school systems and/or medical records from health care providers. If the student does not have a copy of these records, they and/or their DRC may request copies from the appropriate sources. These records will be maintained within the DSS office and kept strictly confidential.
For information about AHEAD’s guidance on documentation, please visit https://edgecastcdn.net/006FDC/AU/PDF/AHEAD_Supporting-Accommodation-Requests%5B2%5D.pdf
The student will engage in an interactive process with their DRC to develop a support plan known as an Accommodation Plan. They will discuss the information obtained from their DSS application, their self-report, the DRC’s observations of and interaction with them, and any information obtained from external or third parties to determine eligibility and the accommodations the student may need to ensure access to the college’s programs, services and/or activities.
The student will then be provided with an Accommodation Letter via their OTC email. If they desire to receive accommodations in the classroom, they must present this letter to their instructor(s). We strongly advise students to meet with their instructor(s) in person to discuss how they can best be supported in the classroom and to determine which accommodations may be applicable in the course. The student may also email their Accommodation Letter to their instructor. Again, however, we strongly recommend the student meet with their instructor(s) in person to establish an open line of communication. Please contact the DRC listed on the Accommodation Letter should you have any questions or difficulties during the semester.
Please see the Disability Support Services Registration, Intake and Accommodation Process flowchart at https://academics.otc.edu/media/uploads/sites/49/2020/05/DSS-Registration-Intake-and-Accommodations-Process.pdf
Note: Students will need to reapply with DSS if they have not been in attendance at OTC for one calendar year.
For any questions pertaining to DSS processes or services, please contact them by phone at 417-447-8189 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Office hours are Monday-Thursday 7:30 am to 5:00 pm and Friday 7:30 am to 4:30 pm.
To contact the DSS office or personnel on your campus or at your center, please visit https://academics.otc.edu/disabilitysupport/contact-us-2/ to obtain their contact information.
Who qualifies for support through Disability Support Services?
A student with a disability who meets the academic and technical standards required for admission and participation in the college’s programs, services and/or activities may qualify for support through Disability Support Services (DSS). The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a person with a disability as one with “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by other as having such an impairment” (https://www.ada.gov/ada_intro.htm). If the student feels they may qualify for support as a person with a disability, they may contact DSS by phone at 417-447-8189, by email at email@example.com or complete the Disability Support Services Application through MyOTC > Getting Started > Disability Services Application.
When can a student register with Disability Support Services?
It is recommended students register with Disability Support Services (DSS) prior to the start of the semester. This allows adequate time for establishing services and ensuring provision of accommodations from the onset of class. Students may, however, register with DSS at any point during the semester.
Please note: Accommodations are not retroactive.
Can students get support for a temporary disability?
Students with a temporarily disabling condition, such as a broken leg, pregnancy, or an extended illness, may request support through the Disability Support Services (DSS) Office. Students seeking temporary services will be asked to follow the same process as outlined in the “What should I know about Disability Support Services?” question above. Services typically last one semester but can be extended based upon the student’s need. If the student feels they may qualify for temporary services, they may contact DSS by phone at 417-447-8189 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the Disability Support Services Application through MyOTC > Getting Started > Disability Services Application. Students who are pregnant should also contact the Title IX Coordinator and College Director of Equity and Compliance, Kevin Luebbering, at 417-447-8188 or email@example.com.
Will students get a new Accommodation Letter each semester?
Yes, Disability Support Services will issue Accommodation Letters to students via their OTC email each semester. Students are advised to make contact with their Disability Resource Counselor (DRC) prior to the start of each semester to ensure their accommodations are appropriate and sufficient for access. If a student does not receive their Accommodation Letter, they are advised to contact their DRC to request a letter.
Are instructors required to provide accommodations to students without an Accommodation Letter from the DSS Office?
No, instructors have the right to deny a request for an accommodation(s) if a) the student has failed to provide an Accommodation Letter or b) the requested accommodation(s) are not specified in the student’s Accommodation Letter.
Are instructors required to provide all accommodations specified in a student's Accommodation Letter?
Yes, instructors are required to provide the accommodations specified in the student’s Accommodation Letter. If the instructor feels an accommodation(s) may fundamentally alter the content of their course or pose a safety risk, they are advised to contact the DSS staff member listed on the Accommodations Letter to discuss their concern(s). However, until a resolution has been reached, the instructor is required to provide the accommodations as stated in the student’s Accommodation Letter.
How long does Disability Support Services keep documentation?
Disability Support Services (DSS) keeps documentation on file for five years following a student’s absence or exit from OTC. In some instances, DSS may choose to keep documentation longer.
Are students required to register a service animal or emotional support animal with the Disability Support Services Office?
Service animals and emotional support animals (ESA) are increasingly common on today’s college campuses. Both service animals and emotional support animals are allowed on all OTC campuses and in all OTC education centers. Exceptions to campus access may include sterile environments and/or those requiring personal protective equipment. Determinations for access will be made on an individual basis.
A service animal, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), is a dog that has been trained to perform an active task for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Students are not required to register a service animal. Additional information about service animals can be found at:
An emotional support animal provides passive support in the form of companionship for the benefit of an individual with a disability. A student wishing to use an emotional support animal on campus must complete the accommodation process through Disability Support Services (DSS). This process includes:
- Completing a Disability Support Application through MyOTC > Getting Started > Disability Support Application
- Completing an intake interview with a Disability Resource Counselor (DRC). You will be contacted by the DSS office to schedule this interview once your application has been submitted.
- Having a qualified provider (psychiatrist, psychologist, licensed professional counselor, licensed clinical social worker, or other mental health professional) complete the ESA Request for Information Form (link below) and returning it to the DSS office or your DRC.
DSS can help advocate for students with emotional support animals once they have completed steps one through three above.
Questions concerning service animals or emotional support animals can be directed to the DSS Office by phone at 417-447-8189 or by email at DisabilityServices@otc.edu.
Will campus faculty and/or staff know students are receiving support from Disability Support Services?
It is the student’s choice to disclose their disability, accommodation(s), and/or enrollment with Disability Support Services, in part or in full, to campus faculty and/or staff. Disclosure of one’s Accommodation Letter, however, is necessary to ensure provision of accommodations both in the classroom and/or for out-of-class testing.
Will campus faculty and/or staff be informed of a student's specific disability(ies)?
It is the student’s choice to disclose their disability to faculty and/or staff. Generally, faculty and staff are not privy to that information. Two circumstances allow DSS personnel to inform faculty and staff of a student’s specific disability(ies). First, the student may give permission to Disability Support Services (DSS) staff to disclose their disability to faculty and/or staff. Second, DSS may disclose the student’s disability if they determine there is a “need to know.” This circumstance usually occurs when there is a threat of harm to oneself or others.
Are campus faculty and/or staff allowed to view students' disability-related documentation?
No, documentation related to a student’s disability will never be shared with faculty or staff.
Can parents contact Disability Support Services for information about their student?
During the student’s Disability Support Services (DSS) intake appointment, the student will complete a “Release of Information” form indicating who DSS may speak with about them, their courses and their services on campus. DSS staff cannot share student information without the student’s written permission.
Please note: If the student gives written permission for DSS to speak with their parent(s), DSS will not discuss course progress and/or grades without the student present.
What are the differences between high school and college for students with disabilities?
Beginning college can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. One of the best ways for students to ease their anxiety about the transition from high school to college is to learn more about the differences between the two, particularly as it relates to their rights and responsibilities as a student with a disability and the services and supports available to you. The Missouri Association of Higher Education and Disability (MO AHEAD) has created a resource, the “Missouri AHEAD College Guidebook,” for individuals pursuing postsecondary education. This resource discusses some of the differences between high school and college with sections on documentation, laws and the transition to and preparation for postsecondary education. This resource can be found at https://moaheaddotorg.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/2010-missouri-ahead-college-guidebook.pdf.
Please note: OTC’s Disability Support Services (DSS) processes may differ from those in the “Missouri AHEAD College Guidebook.”
The DSS Office has also created a brochure titled “Understanding the Differences between High School and College: A Guide for Students with Disabilities.” This resource can be found at https://academics.otc.edu/media/uploads/sites/49/2020/05/DSS-Differences-Brochure.pdf
What are the transportation options to, from, and on campus for students with disabilities?
OTC students are responsible for their own transportation to, from, and on campus. OTC’s main campus is a stop for CU Transit Services “The Bus.” Information about bus schedules, fares, etc. can be found at https://www.cutransit.net/. Eligible students may also arrange transportation to and from campus through Access Express. Information about eligibility, fares, operating hours, etc. can be found at https://www.cutransit.net/access/.
If a student experiences difficulty navigating the campus, they may contact Disability Support Services by phone at 417-447-8189 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How does a student report a barrier they experienced while navigating the campus?
OTC’s Facilities and Grounds Department works diligently to ensure sidewalks and common areas are accessible, particularly during inclement weather. However, should a student encounter a barrier or experience any difficulties navigating the campus, please contact Disability Support Services by phone at 417-447-8189 or through email at email@example.com.
What campus supports and services are available to students?
Bookstore at https://otcbookstore.com/
Career Services at https://students.otc.edu/careerservices/
Community Resources at https://students.otc.edu/counselingservices/referral-guides/
Counseling Services at https://students.otc.edu/counselingservices/
Disability Support Services at https://academics.otc.edu/disabilitysupport/
Financial Aid at https://students.otc.edu/financialaid/
Honors Program at https://academics.otc.edu/honors/
Information Technology (accounts and access, IT support-Help Desk, student IT resources): https://services.otc.edu/technology/
Library at https://academics.otc.edu/library/
Online Student Resources (online programs, Canvas support, proctoring, FAQ): https://online.otc.edu/resources/
Project HEAL (community approach to reducing sexual assault, dating or domestic violence and stalking) at https://students.otc.edu/projectheal/
PC Repair Clinic at https://academics.otc.edu/net/otc-pc-repair-clinic/
Registrar (course registration and withdrawal, transcripts, graduation) at https://students.otc.edu/registrar/
Safety and Security at https://services.otc.edu/security/
Testing Services at https://academics.otc.edu/testing/
Title IX/Equity and Compliance (discrimination, harassment, misconduct) at https://students.otc.edu/title-ix/
Tutoring and Learning Center at https://academics.otc.edu/tlc/
Veterans and Military Services at https://students.otc.edu/veteran/
Veterans Upward Bound at https://students.otc.edu/veterans-upward-bound/
Writing Center at https://academics.otc.edu/writingcenter/
Where can students find information about Missouri A+ Scholarships?
Information about Missouri A+ Scholarships can be found through OTC’s Financial Aid office at https://students.otc.edu/financialaid/aplus/ or the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development at https://dhewd.mo.gov/ppc/grants/aplusscholarship.php.