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. Please visit our Apply page to get all the information about the application and intake process.

Note: Students will need to reapply if they have not been in attendance at OTC for one calendar year.
For any questions pertaining to DSS processes or services, please contact us.

Who qualifies for support through Disability Support Services?

A disability is defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as “a condition that limits one or more essential life functions.”

Students with diagnosed or perceived disabilities including, but not limited to the following may qualify for accommodation services:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD)
  • Depression, Anxiety, or other psychological disabilities
  • Autism-Spectrum Disorders
  • Health disabilities
  • Physical/mobility disabilities
  • Visual impairments-blind/partial sign
  • Deaf/hard of hearing
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Temporary disabilities

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. Once established, accommodations are for that date forward.

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 on the Apply page.  Services typically last one semester but can be extended based upon the student’s need. If you have questions about whether you may qualify for temporary services, please contact us.

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 luebberk@otc.edu.

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.

More information about service animals and emotional support animals can be found on our apply page.
Questions concerning service animals or emotional support animals can be answered by contacting us.

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. Please visit our student center for more info.

How do I schedule an appointment with my DSS counselor?

DSS Students are free to drop by the DSS office at ICE 116 anytime. However, if you want to be sure your counselor has time to meet with you, it is best to schedule a timeslot.

An online scheduling calendar will be coming soon for you to make your own appointment with your counselor. For now, please call the front desk at 417-447-8189 to make an appointment or email your counselor directly.

How do I get my Accommodation Letter?

To get your accommodation letter:

  • You must be a registered with the DSS office.
  • In order to utilize accommodations, you must choose to present your Accommodation Letter to instructors. We also recommend that you discuss your letter with your instructors to ensure provision of accommodations.
  • If you need to update your accommodations, please make an appointment to see your counselor.

(For more info please see Rights & Responsibilities)

Accommodation letters are sent automatically to each DSS student’s OTC email every semester.

Spring 2022 letters went out on or about January 12-14, 2022. Please check your email first to be sure you did not already receive your letter before you place a request.

To place a request if a letter is still needed please see Forms & Requests.

Will my instructors know I receive support from DSS?

It is the student’s choice to disclose their disability, accommodations, and/or enrollment with Disability Support Services, in part or in full, to their instructors. 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. It is recommended students present their Accommodation Letter to their instructors in person so an open line of communication can be established.

Will my instructors be informed of my specific disability?

Generally, faculty and staff are not privy to that information. Two circumstances, however, allow faculty and staff to be informed of a student’s specific disability. 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. Documentation related to a student’s disability will never be shared with faculty or staff.

Can Parents/family contact DSS for information about a student?

During your Disability Support Services (DSS) intake appointment, you will complete a “Release of Information” form indicating to whom DSS may speak with about you, your courses and your services on campus. DSS staff cannot share your information without your written permission.

Please note: If the student gives written permission for DSS to speak with their parent/family, DSS will not discuss course progress and/or grades without the student present.

Are there difference between High School & college for a student with a disability?

Beginning college can be both exciting 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.

Our DSS office has more information on our page Differences Between HS & College.

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. Please note: OTC’s Disability Support Services processes may differ from those in this guidebook.

(add link to the new copy asap)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

I am a returning student, do I still have accommodations?

Please plan to contact your DSS counselor in advance of each enrollment semester so that we may ensure we have up-to-date information and accommodation letters ready for you. Contact your DSS Counselor directly at their email or the front desk at DisabilityServices@otc.edu.

If it has been more than one year since you have attended OTC, please begin again with a new application and follow the intake process.

How do I report a barrier experienced while navigating 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 Disability Services.

Where do I find information about Missouri A+ Scholarships?

Information about Missouri A+ Scholarships can be found through OTC’s Financial Aid office  or the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development at A-plus Scholarship. If a student with a disability is unable to meet the 12 credit hour requirement of A+, they may be eligible for a “reduced course load” accommodation through DSS. Please discuss this with a DSS counselor.

What are my transportation options for getting to and from campus?

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 cutransit. Eligible students may also arrange transportation to and from campus through Access Express. Information about eligibility, fares, operating hours, etc. can be found at cutransit access.

If you experiences difficulty navigating the campus, please contact us.

How do I utilize my exam accommodations?

  • Students with disabilities may receive accommodations to ensure they have equal access to the examination process. Disability Support Service (DSS) works with faculty to provide accommodations to students who qualify for testing accommodations.
  • Students are responsible for presenting their Accommodation Letter and for discussing testing accommodations with instructors prior to exam time.
  • Students must complete an Exam Request for each exam at least 3 days prior to the date they wish to take the exam. See the Exam Request Form.
  • Students will take their exams in the lab in the DSS office in ICE116.

How do I request my exam with accommodations?

  • As a student with a disability, you may receive accommodations to ensure you have equal access to the examination process. DSS works with faculty to provide testing accommodations to students who qualify.
  • You are responsible for presenting your Accommodation Letter to your instructors and for discussing testing accommodations with them prior to exam time.
  • You will take your exams in the lab in the DSS office in ICE116. Bring a photo ID and check in at front desk.
  • You must complete an Exam Request for each exam at least 3 business days prior to the exam date.

Please use the Exam Request Form found on the Forms & Requests page. Be sure to follow all the instructions and request your exam at least 3 business days in advance of the date you wish to take your exam.

Why do I need to request my exam in advance?

DSS requires students to request each exam at least 3 business days in advance of the exam date in order to ensure that DSS has time to request and receive the exam from your instructor and have it ready for you on the day of your exam. Failure to request your exam in advance may result in the exam not being available for you when you are ready to test.

What happens if I don't do an Exam Request?

  • Space for you in our DSS testing lab is not guaranteed as limited space is available.
  • If you fail to schedule, it is unlikely your exam will be available at exam time.
  • When you arrive DSS personnel won’t know what class exam you are there for.

What if my exam is online?

Online exams require the instructor to extend the time allowed if you receive extra time as an accommodation. You still will need to request your exam in order to secure your timeslot with the DSS testing lab.

Where do I go to take my exam?

You will report to Disability Support Services testing lab in ICE116 on the day of your exam. Please have your picture ID with you and check in at the front desk early enough to get settled and start testing at the scheduled time. It is usually ok to come early and study prior to starting your exam.

What happens if I cancel or miss a scheduled exam?

Disability Support will try to be  flexible with students who cancel or miss an exam appointment for disability related reasons.  If you have missed or need to reschedule your exam please FIRST contact your instructor as they will need to approve a reschedule date/time. Then fill out a revised exam request form or contact Disability Support in a timely manner.

Should you miss an exam but not contact Disability Support to reschedule, the exam will be returned to your instructor.

What is accessibility?

Accessibility, as far as students with disabilities is concerned, is creating course content and environments that can be easily understood and interacted with by students, regardless of disability.

Why be concerned with accessibility?

Accessibility is the responsibility of all parties at OTC. We ask faculty and staff to partner with Disability Support by helping ensure course material is created in formats that best suit student needs. We ask students to participate by self-advocating and letting faculty and staff know what they need, before or as they need it.

Are instructors required to provide accommodations without a copy of an Accommodation Letter?

No, instructors have the right to deny a request for an accommodations if a) the student has failed to provide an Accommodation Letter or b) the requested accommodations are not specified in the student’s Accommodation Letter.

Are instructors required to provide all accommodations specified in an Accommodation Letter?

Yes, instructors are required to provide the accommodations specified in the student’s Accommodation Letter. If the instructor feels an accommodations 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 concerns. However, until a resolution has been reached, the instructor is required to provide the accommodations as stated in the student’s Accommodation Letter.

Will faculty/staff know if students are receiving DSS Services?

It is the student’s choice to disclose their disability, accommodations, 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 faculty/staff be informed of a student's specific disability?

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. 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.

Will faculty/staff be allowed to view a student's disability-related documentation?

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. 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.

Where can I learn more?

Besides contacting Disability Support or OTC Online, instructors and content creators can learn more about accessibility by exploring the WCAG 2.0 Quick Reference published by the World Wide Web Consortium, who help set international standards for the internet.

Instructors are also welcome to search Canvas commons for courses on accessibility. Many of these courses are self-paced and can provide a better understanding why accessibility and universal design are so important, as well as how-to training for providing content. OTC Online recommends “Accessibility 101: Principles of Accessible Design” by Jess Thompson, Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges.

Where Do I Send Exams?

When one of your students schedules an exam with DSS by submitting an Exam Request Form, you will receive the request by email. You should fill out the Instructor portion of the Exam Request you received and attach an electronic copy of the exam to your email reply with any specific instructions. Please always send your exams to DSS.

If your test is online there are instructions below that address that situation.

What Happens When a Student Finishes Their Exam?

Once finished with their exam, the student will return it to the staff of their testing center, either Testing Services or Disability Support Services. The exam will then be returned to the appropriate instructor according to the delivery method they selected on the instructor portion of the Exam Request Form. Instructors may indicate whether they would like to pick up the exam in DSS or have it delivered to their campus mailbox or have a copy of the completed exam emailed to their OTC email.  Once complete, exams should be delivered within 24 hours.

What Happens if a Student Doesn't Schedule Their Exam?

Disability Support firmly believes it is the student’s responsibility to schedule exams, not the instructor. This expectation is explained when services begin and is outlined in the accommodation memo students receive each semester.

Should a student fail to request an exam it is the expectation of Disability Support that the student plans to take the exam in class. Instructors are welcome to send exams to DSS without a student request form but are asked to wait until 3 days before the class is scheduled to take the exam before doing so.

What if the Completed Exam Never Shows Up?

Should an exam fail to arrive in your mailbox or email after a student reports they have completed it, please do not assume the exam is lost. DSS takes great care to ensure the security and integrity of all exams. Please contact us if you have questions of where an exam is in the accommodation process.

What Testing Accommodations can a Student Receive?

Extra Time – Time allowed in class x2. Students are not provided with unlimited time through Disability Support. Unlimited time is not recommended by Disability Support and is at the discretion of the instructor.

Use of a Reader – Disability Support staff are available to read exams to students if it is deemed reasonable. Staff are not permitted to assist the student in any way and are only allowed to read the exam word for word, elaborating nothing.

Use of a Scribe – Disability Support staff are available to scribe exams for students if it deemed reasonable. Staff are not permitted to assist the student in any way and are only to act as their hands. Staff are not allowed to assist in spelling, grammar, punctuation or style.

Assistive Technology – Some students may require the use of assistive technology when taking exams. The specific technology may or may not be outlined on the student’s accommodation letter. Disability Support and Testing Services will work together to ensure the exam is accessible to the student.

Distraction Reduced Testing – The majority of students receiving Disability Support Services will test in the DSS Testing Lab which is a reduced distraction environment.

Chunking – Students may be allowed to take the exam over multiple sessions. This accommodation must be approved by a Disability Resource Counselor (DRC), usually for health reasons (E.g. frequent restroom breaks, poor circulation, etc…). Students are not allowed to leave the testing area with any part of the exam, and will only be given one page at a time for exam security.

Music – Some students may be allowed to listen to pre-approved music should they take exams outside of class. This is usually done by the student signing in to Pandora, or other streaming services and listening via an OTC computer where their internet activity can be monitored.

Formula Cards – When answers are dependent on a formula, students may be allowed to use a formula card. Students must gain the instructors approval and have the card initialed before taking the exam. All formula cards should be turned in with the exam.

What if My Exam is Online?

Should a student request an online exam please pay close attention to what accommodations are requested. Extra time will have to be provided through Canvas by the instructor using the “Moderate this quiz” settings. Again, extra time at OTC is traditionally class time x2.

Other accommodations will be provided by Disability Support Services. Should instructors have any questions concerning accommodations and online exams please contact Disability Support for more information.

What Happens if my Student Cancels or Misses a Scheduled Exam?

Disability Support asks that instructors be flexible with students who cancel or miss an exam appointment for disability related reasons. The nature of many disabilities can be unpredictable making it possible for students to miss appointments. As with the attendance policy accommodation, we ask that instructors contact Disability Support should they feel a student is abusing scheduling or rescheduling exams. We require students to contact their instructor in order to get approval for a reschedule date/time. Then the student should fill out a revised exam request form with the new date/time.

Should a student miss an exam but not contact you or Disability Support to reschedule, the exam will be returned to the instructor’s mailbox after the exam expires or after 2 weeks.

What is Assistive Technology?

Assistive technology (AT) refers to “any item, piece of equipment, software program, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities” (Assistive Technology Industry Association, n.d., para. 2). AT creates access and enhances the engagement, participation, and learning of OTC’s diverse student body.

Who benefits from the use of Assistive Technology?

The tools designed to serve the needs of individuals with disabilities can also greatly benefit individuals without disabilities. Anyone who has difficulty (consistently or intermittently) with speaking, listening, typing, writing, remembering, seeing, learning, moving, planning, organizing, paying attention or other things which impede a student’s access to course content and materials may benefit from the use of assistive technology.

What Assistive Technology is available?

OTC’s Disability Support Services (DSS) Office maintains a varied supply of AT tools available for loan to students registered with DSS. Other AT tools can be accessed in OTC’s built or online learning environments, through outside providers or vendors, and/or on personal computers or devices. Please visit our Assistive Tech page to learn more.