Hinds CC supports students with disabilities in their educational pursuits by providing accessibility to programs and course offerings. Disability Support Services staff are committed to promoting a positive campus environment in which students with disabilities are encouraged to actively participate in fields of study related to their personal interests and abilities.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is an “equal opportunity” law for people with disabilities. To be protected by the ADA, one must have a disability that is defined by the ADA as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Subpart E
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination against an otherwise qualified individual with a disability, solely on the basis of the disability, in any program or activity that receives federal financial assistance. Under Section 504 colleges provide appropriate academic adjustments as necessary to ensure that it does not discriminate on the basis of disability. A student with a qualified disability may not be discriminated against under academic, research, occupational training, housing, health insurance, counseling, financial aid, physical education, athletics, recreation, transportation, other extracurricular, or other postsecondary education aid, benefits, or services to which this subpart applies.
Source: U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Part 104 – Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Handicap in Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance Subpart E.
College students are responsible for notifying institution staff of their disability should they need academic adjustments. A student has no obligation to inform the college that he or she has a disability; however, if the student wants an institution to provide an academic adjustment or assign the student to accessible housing or other facilities, or if a student wants other disability-related services, the student must identify himself or herself as having a disability. The disclosure of a disability is always voluntary. All students must comply with the policies, codes, and regulations of Hinds Community College (see Student Handbook).
Documentation of a Disability
Documentation of a disability must be prepared by an appropriate professional, such as a medical doctor or psychologist. The required documentation may include one or more of the following: a diagnosis of your current disability, as well as supporting information, such as the date of the diagnosis, how that diagnosis was reached, and the credentials of the diagnosing professional; information on how your disability affects a major life activity; and information on how the disability affects your academic performance.
The documentation should provide enough information for you and your school to decide what is an appropriate academic adjustment. Colleges are not required to conduct or pay for an evaluation to document a student’s disability and need for an academic adjustment. If a student with a disability is eligible for services through the state Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services program, he or she may qualify for an evaluation at no cost. Information on VR services in Mississippi can be found on the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services website.
Source: U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Transition of Students With Disabilities to Postsecondary Education: A Guide for High School Educators, Washington, D.C., 2011.
Once a student has submitted the application to request disability support services and has provided appropriate documentation, the institution staff should discuss with the student what academic adjustments are appropriate in light of the student’s individual needs and the nature of the institution’s program. Students with disabilities possess unique knowledge of their individual disabilities and should be prepared to discuss the functional challenges they face and, if applicable, what has or has not worked for them in the past. Institution staff should be prepared to describe the barriers students may face in individual classes that may affect their full participation, as well as to discuss academic adjustments that might enable students to overcome those barriers.
Some academic adjustments could include extended time on tests and the provision of auxiliary aids and services. Auxiliary aids and services include note-takers, readers, recording devices, sign language interpreters, screen-readers, voice recognition and other adaptive software or hardware for computers, and other devices designed to ensure the participation of students with impaired sensory, manual or speaking skills in an institution’s programs and activities. Institutions are not required to provide personal devices and services such as attendants, individually prescribed devices, such as eyeglasses, readers for personal use or study, or other services of a personal nature, such as tutoring. If institutions offer tutoring to the general student population, however, they must ensure that tutoring services also are available to students with disabilities. In some instances, a state VR agency may provide auxiliary aids and services to support an individual’s postsecondary education and training once that individual has been determined eligible to receive services under the VR program.
Steps to Obtain Accommodations
If at any time during the process you have questions, please contact a disability counselor. Students should begin this process prior to classes beginning in order to be approved for accommodations early.
- Complete the disability support services application.
- Obtain and submit the appropriate documentation from a medical professional. Documentation should be no older than three years.
- Meet and discuss with the disability counselor your request for academic adjustments, auxiliary aids and/or services.
- Continue communication with your disability counselor in order to assess and maintain accommodations.