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Student FAQ

Transportation

Transportation can be a concern for many students, especially those with physical disabilities. Students at OTC are responsible for their own transportation to and from campus as well as in between classes. OTC’s main campus is a stop for the City of Springfield Bus System. Students may also arrange transportation to and from campus through Access Express.

The Facilities and Grounds Department does everything possible to ensure sidewalks and common areas at OTC are accessible, especially in inclement weather. However, should students experience difficulty or encounter obstacles navigating the campus, they are encouraged to contact Disability Support, who will then work with the Facilities and Grounds Department to make the appropriate changes.

What do I Need to Know about Disability Support Services?

If you desire support, advocacy, and/or accommodations through the Disability Support Services (DSS) Office at OTC, you should complete a Disability Support Application through the MyOTC portal. Upon receipt of your application, a DSS staff member will contact you by phone to schedule an intake appointment with a Disability Resource Counselor (DRC) in our office. Your intake appointment will last approximately one hour. During your appointment, you will have an opportunity to meet with DSS staff, to familiarize yourself with the office and its resources and processes, and to learn about the services for which you may qualify.

Your DRC may request documentation related to your 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 your 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 you do not have a copy of these records, you and/or your DRC may request copies from the appropriate sources. These records will be maintained within the DSS office and kept confidential.

AHEAD’s guidance on documentation can be found at: https://edgecastcdn.net/006FDC/AU/PDF/AHEAD_Supporting-Accommodation-Requests%5B2%5D.pdf

You and your DRC will engage in an interactive process to establish rapport and develop your support plan known as an Accommodation Plan. You and the DRC will discuss the information obtained from your DSS application, your self-report, their observations of and interaction with you, and any information obtained from external or third parties to determine eligibility and the accommodations you may need to ensure accessibility.

You will then be provided with an Accommodation Letter via your OTC email. This letter can be provided to your instructors, at your discretion, to inform them of your accommodations. We strongly advise you meet with your instructor in person to discuss how they can best support you in the classroom and to determine which accommodations may be applicable in their course. You may email this letter to your instructors; however, we do encourage you to meet with them to establish an open line of communication. Please contact your DRC if you experience any difficulties with accessibility or course content as your semester progresses. Adjustments to your Accommodation Plan may be necessary.

Note: You will need to reapply for DSS support if you do not attend OTC for one calendar year.

For any questions pertaining to DSS processes or services, please contact our office by phone at 417-447-8189 or disabilityservices@otc.edu. Office hours are Monday-Thursday 7:30 am to 5:00 pm and Friday 7:30 am to 4:30 pm.

Service Animals & Emotional Support Animals

Service animals and emotional support animals 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 accessing these areas 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:

https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html

https://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm

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:

  1. Completing a Disability Support Application at https://academics.otc.edu/disabilitysupport/dss-application/.
  2. Completing an intake interview with a DSS counselor. You will be contacted by the DSS office to schedule this interview once your application has been submitted.
  3. 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 (attached below) and returning it to the DSS office.

ESA Request for Information Form

Disability Support Services can help advocate for students who meet the above three criteria.

If you have questions concerning service animals or emotional support animals, please contact Disability Support Services by phone at 417-447-8189 or by email at DisabilityServices@otc.edu. Additional information about

Temporary Disability

For assistance with a temporary condition, such as a broken leg, pregnancy, or extended illness, students may request services through the Disability Support Services Office. Students seeking temporary services will be asked to follow the same process outlined in the “What do I Need to Know about Disability Support Services?” section of the FAQ. Services will typically last one semester but can be extended based upon the student’s need. If you feel you may qualify for temporary services, please contact Disability Support Services or complete the 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 luebberk@otc.edu.

 

A+

Many incoming students at OTC qualify for Missouri A+ Scholarships based on their hard work and performance in high school. OTC’s Financial Aid Office designed a website  to answer any questions you may have concerning A+ at OTC. Check out Missouri A+ Program FAQ for answers from the experts.

What’s the Difference Between High School & College?

Beginning college can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. One of the best ways to ease that anxiety is to learn more about the differences between high school and college, particularly  your 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 Guidebook”, which highlights some of those differences. OTC’s Disability Support Services processes may differ from those in “The Guidebook”, especially as it pertains to documentation of disability.

OTC created “A Guide to: Understanding the Difference Between High School and College for Students with Disabilities”, which can be found at DSS “High School & College Differences” Brochure.

Who Qualifies for 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 or activities may qualify for disability support services. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a person with a disability as one “who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. This includes people who have a record of such an impairment, even if they do not currently have a disability. It also includes individuals who do not have a disability but are regarded as having a disability” (adata.org).

Can Parents Contact Disability Support Services for Information about Their Student?

During their intake appointment, the student will complete a “Release of Information” form indicating who Disability Support Services staff may speak with about them and their services on campus. Disability Support Services staff cannot share student information without the student’s written permission. Disability Support Services staff will only discuss course progress and/or grades with the student present.

Will Accommodation Letters be Given to Students Each Semester?

Disability Support Services issues Accommodation Letters each semester. Students are advised to meet with their Disability Resource Counselor at least one time during the 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 Disability Resource Counselor to request a letter.

Will My Instructors Know I Receive 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 their instructors. However, disclosure is necessary to ensure provision of their accommodations both in the classroom and/or for out-of-class testing. It is recommended students present their Accommodation Letter to their instructor in person so they may develop effective communication and discuss how to best support their learning.

When Can a Student Register with Disability Support Services?

It is recommended students register with Disability Support Services 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; however, accommodations are not retroactive.

How Long Does Disability Support Services Keep Documentation?

Disability Support Services keeps documentation on file for five years after a student leaves OTC. In certain instances, DSS may choose to keep student files longer.

Will Faculty or Staff be Informed of a Student's Specific Disability?

Generally, faculty and staff are not privy to that information. However, two circumstances warrant faculty and staff  be informed of a student’s specific disability. First, the student may give permission to Disability Support Services 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 themselves, a threat of harm to others, or a threat of harm to property. Documentation of the student’s disability will never be shared with faculty or staff.

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