Family Resource Center

Welcome to the Disability Support Services Family Resource Center! This center was designed with you in mind to help you find essential information about the DSS application process, transition-to-college supports, accommodations in post-secondary education, and other helpful resources for families of college students with a disability.  

DSS-Area-Fa18-_-08

What is my role as a parent or family member of an OTC student?

We understand that transitioning to college can be an exciting, yet sometimes challenging experience for both students and parents/families. We acknowledge that many parents have successfully guided their students through the educational journey thus far. Although it is time for students to take an active role, support from parents is often still welcomed and needed for success in college.

A Word About Our Process

OTC has specific procedures in place for students requesting academic accommodations. You can learn more about this process by viewing the Accommodation Process below.

To receive accommodations, students must complete the disability support application and provide disability documentation that supports the requested accommodations. Not all IEP’s and 504 Plans contain the necessary information needed to establish eligibility because education laws, definitions, and applications of the laws are different in Post-Secondary than K-12 settings. Please see our Documentation Guidelines below for more information.

Information for Families

What should I know about DSS?

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.

Accommodation Process

OTC has a specific process to connect students with Disability Support Services (DSS). After completing the disability support application students will get a chance to meet a disability resource counselor and talk with them about classes and accommodation needs, then interactively set up a plan together if the student is found eligible for services.

In order to implement and use the approved accommodations, the student must present their Accommodation Letter to each of their instructors at their discretion. Accommodation Letters are emailed to the student using their OTC email account.

To see the whole process please visit our Apply page.

Information about Service Animals/Emotional Support Animals

Confidentiality

You may find that some students welcome parent input, while others may not. In accordance with Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), OTC DSS maintains that adult students have the right to privacy, even from their parents, and will follow the student’s wishes with regards to sharing information. Students can sign a “release of information” form that explicitly states with whom DSS can share information (instructors, parents/guardians, outside organizations, etc.). Even with this release signed, DSS staff is limited in the type of information that we can share.

Documentation Guidelines

To qualify for services, you must provide documentation that identifies the disability. There are multiple ways to provide DSS with documentation of your disability. Documentation should provide proof of diagnosis and/or prior accommodations.

Students should submit at least one of the following:

  • IEP/504 plan
  • Full evaluation/diagnostic report
  • Accommodation letter from previous postsecondary institution
  • Medical records/patient portal diagnostic summary
  • Letter from a healthcare professional. on letterhead, with confirms a diagnosis

For more info please see AHEAD Guidance on Documentation

image toolbox

Families Toolbox

Transitioning to College

Life is full of transitions, and one of the more remarkable ones occurs when we get ready to leave high school and go out in the world as young adults. When a student has a disability, it’s especially helpful to plan ahead for that transition. As a matter of fact the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires it.

Transitioning to college for students with a disability is an exciting and sometimes challenging experience. To help students, and parents, ease into this transition, Missouri Association on Higher Education and Disability (MO AHEAD) offers Transition-to-College Information,  trainings and resources, and this (Guide Book) primarily written for students who are interested in attending a postsecondary institution. Parents, teachers, and counselors can also benefit from the guidebook.

Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) also provides a wide range of services to eligible students with disabilities. These services can help you explore career possibilities, learn about educational opportunities after high school and prepare for the future. Learn more by looking into the VR Transition Brochure, a valuable resource in planning your future.

Transition services are intended to prepare students to move from the world of school to the world of adulthood. You can read more here at MissouriParentsAct.org.

Differences Between HS and College

Legislation that protects students with disabilities in K-12 changes once students exit the school system and enter college or employment settings. Students may have had an IEP or 504 plan in high school, and while those documents can be helpful to us in determining reasonable accommodations at OTC, IEPs and 504 plans do not “transfer” to college.

To see all of the many ways High School is different than College for students with disabilities, please visit: Differences HS vs College

Resources for Families & Students

Deaf Resources

Because of the unique communication needs of Deaf & hard of hearing students, there is a Deaf Education Specialist available at OTC to help serve this population of students in setting up appropriate accommodations, providing resources to students, and facilitating trainings for instructors.

Some common accommodations for Deaf students include (but not limited to): sign language interpreter, closed captioning, note-taking assistance, live transcription or CART services, and extended time on exams.

An additional resource is National Deaf Center. There you can find many free courses, tip sheets, and research findings related to Deaf students and post-secondary outcomes. These resources are for students, parents, instructors, and other professionals in the Disability field. There is even a game that students can play to help them learn how to better navigate college experiences through “choose your own adventure” style!

Autism Resources

WHAT IS AUTISM?

A serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact. Autism spectrum disorder impacts the nervous system.

The range and severity of symptoms can vary widely. Common symptoms include difficulty with communication, difficulty with social interactions, obsessive interests, and repetitive behaviors. Early recognition, as well as behavioral, educational, and family therapies may reduce symptoms and support development and learning.

 

What are the 3 Main Signs of Autism? 

Autism or autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) can manifest as different symptoms in different children. The average age of diagnosis is 2 years, though some children may be detected at around the age of 5 years.

The symptoms to look out for in children for suspected autism are:

  • Delayed milestones
  • A socially awkward child
  • The child who has trouble with verbal and nonverbal communication     READ MORE

 

What are some ways I can be more prepared for college if I am on the spectrum? 

Around one-third of young people with autism now attend college. This is a far cry from just a decade ago, when postsecondary education for young adults on the spectrum was widely considered unattainable. Steps you can take: Prepare for college, Choose your path, Ask the important questions… You can read more of this article at AutismSpeaks.org.

This Educational Guide is another tool that can help you and your family explore the different opportunities and learning environments after leaving high school. Check it out.

Help For Neuro-divergent Students – Resources/Apps/Info that can help students on the Spectrum.

Adult Education & Literacy

The mission of Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) is to provide specialized instruction to help students build or refresh basic academic skills necessary for success by offering assistance in areas such as the improvement of English as a second language, preparation for the Missouri high school equivalence (HSE) exams and post-secondary training or facilitation in the transition to higher education and employment. Both day and evening classes are available. Classes are FREE and the courses are tailored to meet each individual’s unique needs. Students are individually assessed and learning plans are created.

OTC Adult Education and Literacy – OTC Adult Education and Literacy