Resources for Staff
No. The American Psychological Association and the Chancellors Office have authorized us to not test students virtually or in-person during campus closure. However, we can provide temporary accommodations while students are waiting to be tested for a learning disability. Here is the protocol given to us from the CA Chancellors Office:
- First step of the LD testing process, which consists of completing the application and an interview, can be conducted virtually.
- Then students will be placed on the wait list to be tested when the campus reopens.
- While we are waiting for the campus to reopen, the DRC will provide temporary academic accommodations.
Do you have a student you think might benefit from DRC services? Not sure how to refer him, her, or them? The best time to bring up your concerns would be in a private meeting, when other students are not present.
Following are some suggestions on how you might express your concerns; please keep in mind that students benefit most from honest yet kind feedback about their performance in class, whether they have a disability or not.
Do not ask the student directly if they have a disability, this might put him/her on the defensive and cause some discomfort.
Instead gather information about a few resources on campus, in addition to DRC, such as the Learning Center, Career Center, Counseling Center, Transfer Center, Bookstore, EOPS/CARE/CalWorks/Former Foster Youth, Health Center, Psychological Services, International Students, TRiO SSS, Veterans Services. You might say, "I want to share some information on campus services that you might find helpful."
When you mention the DRC, you can say something like: The DRC offers Learning Disability testing for students who have a history of struggling with things like reading, writing, math, etc. They might be a good place to start."
Some students feel their disability isn't "severe enough" to warrant utilizing the DRC services and feel guilty because they don't want to take away from "more deserving" students. You may assure your student that DRC serves all types of disabilities and that requesting services through DRC in no way affects the level of services someone else with different needs shall receive.
Ultimately it is up to the student to decide whether or not to disclose a disability and pursue DRC services. However, do feel free to let students know that you are willing to work with them and DRC to ensure that they have equal access to your curriculum.
Once you have broached the subject and your student wishes to pursue DRC services, what can you do to facilitate the process? Here are some options to connect them to us:
- You can give them our website link and the online application to register with the DRC.
- You can give them our email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) to set up a meeting to talk with someone first, before they register
- You may introduce the student via email with one of our staff members
- You can even walk them over to our office to introduce us in person
Offer to be a scribe
- Offer to read information out loud
- Do not touch them if they are bumping into things; instead give verbal direction
- Do not keep anything that can fall on them or they can bump into in the office
- Keep in mind the colors used on any forms and digital formats. Remember, many people who are colorblind cannot distinguish between red and green
- Speak slowly and clearly
- Let them see your lips moving when speaking
- Do not speak in a tone that is too low. If you are not sure if you are speaking loud enough to be heard, ask politely if you should speak louder
- For students and visitors who cannot hear at all, offer to write/type conversations. This can be done on a small white board or piece of paper. However, an electronic device is the best because it's faster to type messages and the writing is neat. It also allows the person who is deaf type their responses/messages clearly to you.
Offer to be a scribe and/or reader for them. Most of the time, it's easy to tell if a person needs help writing/typing because they have a cast on their right arm or they are blind.
However, keep in mind that there are people who also need help writing or reading because of other reasons, such as they didn't bring their reading glasses or they have arthritis, etc. And until they disclose this information, you'd never know! So always pay attention to facial expressions and body language to see if some needs more assistance.
It is very important to be aware of what we say or how we treat people? Sometimes, without meaning to, we can effect them negatively. Some comments can be triggers for people with mental illnesses or those who have been victims of traumatic events.
Triggers can also lead to physical suffering, such as inaccessible rooms and buildings. For example, when spaces in the environment (such lack of sitting area or a hand rail), it can cause suffering, especially those who have chronic fatigue or gross motor deficits. If it is obvious that someone waiting in line is struggling to stand, offer them a seat and have the person behind them hold their space in line for them.
Here are a few examples of invisible disabilities
- Chronic fatigue
- Prosthetic leg
- Chronic pain
- Mental illnesses (e.g. PTSD, bipolar disorder, etc)
Here are a few tips to create a safe working space:
Be mindful of others in the vicinity overhearing confidential information that is shared with you, especially students who disclose medical information to you. You may need a designated area to speak with students who would like to speak with any staff member in your office regarding confidential information.
Make sure there are no obstructions in any walkways (e.g. bulky chairs, cables, etc):
- Ensure there is plenty of room in offices and hallways, so that visitors and students in wheelchairs, canes, scooters, and crutches, can come into our offices.
- Report non-functioning elevators right away to facilities/maintenance.
- Report to facilities any spaces on campus where you see visitors, faculty, students, and staff members struggling to get from one place to the next. These spaces will often require a simple solution, such as a ramp or railing along the steps.
- When hallways and offices are too dark, people with vision problems can easily get hurt.
- However, if there are very bright florescent lights in your office, it can be harmful to people with migraines, sensitive eyes, and those prone to seizures.
It can be detrimental to immune suppressed students and visitors (e.g. cancer, pregnancy, allergies to dust, etc) when our offices and buildings are not clean. Here are important tips:
- Don't come to work if you think you may be contagious (because you could be putting someone's life in danger).
- Wipe down areas that visitors touch regularly (e.g. door handles, pens, arm rests, countertops).
- Avoid having strong scents in the area that can trigger migraines and other side effects.
- Some people have trichophobia, which is a fear of hair. So please use a lint roller regularly to remove hair, dust, and debris off of seating areas.
- Whenever possible, use at least 14 point font and double space to accommodate those with visual impairments and reading disorders.
- Make sure all signs are in easy to read font and that the font is big enough that people with visual challenges are able to read them with ease.
- Also make sure there is a braille interpretation of your signage for students and visitors who cannot read visually.
Note that in the case of an emergency evacuation where elevators are not working, staff members must have a plan to get all mobility impaired individuals and individuals with vision impairments out of their offices and buildings safely. So please have a clear plan, so that every staff member knows what to do.
In dire emergencies, this means that some individuals will have to be carried out of the building, abandoning wheelchairs, canes and service animals.
Interested in Acquiring Accommodations for yourself?
Please take a look at our Employee Short & Long Term Disability Page on our SMCCD Portal site under Health Benefits or click here.
Needing Any Other Assistance?
Please take a look at our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Page on our SMCCD Portal
site or click here.