Guide to Transition

Verification of Disability

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Verification of Disability

Verification is written proof that an individual has a current disability. Verification of the disability is the responsibility of each student seeking accommodations and services. The verification must be provided by a licensed professional in a disability-related field. Once your disability is verified, you may request accommodations.

Application Process to Receive Disability Support Services

High school students frequently think they are automatically eligible for disability related accommodations at college. It is important to understand that this is not true. Under Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Apply for services at disability support office.

  1. Provide current written verification from an appropriate professional that:

  1. names the disability.

  2. identifies educational limitations that the disability causes.

  3. identifies reasonable accommodations.

According to federal laws, you must identify the reasonable accommodations you want from the college.


Take some time to think about explaining your disability and accommodations to a professor or counselor. What would you say?

Use the following sample dialogue.

Sample Academic Accommodations Dialogue


My name is __________. I have a verified disability. Here is my paperwork, which verifies my disability, and shows my authorized academic accommodations. My disability causes the following problems in learning: __________.


I’d like to discuss some academic accommodations that I need: __________.

(Include only those that apply to you. See the list below.)

  1. Getting a note taker:

I need your help in finding a student who takes good notes in this class. The disability support office will provide paper for the note taker to use. Would you help me find someone who takes good notes?

  1. Tape recording a lecture:

I am authorized to have a tape recorder to record your lecture. I will only use it for my personal study purposes.

  1. Extended Test Times:

I would like to discuss the accommodation of extended time on exams. The disability support office offers someone to oversee or proctor tests in their offices. I can arrange to take the tests through their office, or we can work out extra time or alternate arrangements. How would you like to organize this?

  1. Quiet Environment:

Because I am easily distracted, I need to take tests/quizzes in a quiet environment. I can use the disability support office or we can work out alternate arrangements.

* To the Student:

Practice what you are going to say to your instructors; BE POLITE. You should discuss and work out the accommodations together. If instructors do not agree with your accommodations, then politely thank them for their time and leave. Then contact your disability support office or your 504/ADA Coordinators for help in resolving disability related accommodations.

Helpful Hints

  1. Obtain a college catalog and class schedule to use and reference throughout your entire college career.

  1. Balance your schedule:

  • Plan a study schedule. 1 hour in class = 2 to 3 hours of study time outside of class.

  • If you are employed, make sure you have enough hours to balance both work and study time.

  • Do not overload your schedule with too many classes. Remember, if you are taking 12 units you are considered a full-time student.

  • Plan your classes with an academic counselor. It is important to have a written plan of the classes you are going to take in the coming semesters.

  • It is important to take classes you are interested in as well as classes you are required to take. For example, you may want to take an Art class along with your Math and English courses so that you have a balanced schedule. Bring this up when you are planning your classes with an academic counselor.

  1. Attend all of your class meetings. In college, missing one class meeting can put you behind for an entire week. If you must be absent, ask a classmate if you can copy his/her notes and talk to your instructor about any missed work. Refer to your class syllabi for more information regarding your instructors’ late policy.

  1. Maintain academic progress: a “C” average or a 2.0 grade point average. Students who have GPA’s lower than a 2.0 can be placed on academic probation, disqualified, or may not be eligible for certain scholarships, financial aid, transferring and/or graduation.

  1. Use the tutoring centers and take advantage of specialized classes and workshops.

  1. Keep a calendar of all appointments, exams and assignment due dates. DO NOT SCHEDULE APPOINTMENTS DURING CLASS.

  1. Use campus resources and student services.




Adjustments made in learning. Alternative ways to access and process information and show what a student has learned. Accommodations requested must be based on student’s educational limitations.

ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

A Civil Rights Law that extends the protections of Section 504 to private school and businesses.


Responsible for collecting all student fees.

Admissions and Records

Responsible for applications, registration, adding/dropping a class, maintenance of academic records, grades and evaluation of transcripts.

Assessment Center

The college placement test tells students which level of English and Math classes to take.



Sells college textbooks and other supplies.


Campus Police

Provides security for campus community.

College Entrance Examinations

Examinations taken in high school years to determine college eligibility.

SAT: Scholastic Aptitude Test

ACT: American College Test


Provides academic, career, and personal counseling.

CSU: California State University

Public colleges and universities in California.



A physical or psychological difference resulting in functional limitations that cause significant problems with learning or work.

Disability Support Office

Offices or departments on each campus providing services and accommodations for students with disabilities. In California many offices go by the following names:

DSPS: Disability Support Programs & Services

DSS: Disabled Student Services or Disability Support Services

OSD: Office for Students with Disabilities

Due Process

Legal procedures that determine if a law is being followed. Every college has a procedure for Due Process. When it is believed that a legal right has been denied to a student, the student has the right to request a review using Due Process.


Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS)

Provides educational support for individuals from educationally, culturally, and financially disadvantaged backgrounds.


Financial Aid

Offers a variety of federal and state programs as well as scholarship opportunities to students who might otherwise be unable to continue their education due to financial need.

BOGW: Board of Governor’s Fee Waiver for community colleges only. If eligible, some enrollment fees may be waived.

FAFSA: Free Application for Student Aid. This is the required application to receive federal grants, loans, and work-study assistance.

Functional Limitation

Identified area(s) of weakness caused by a disability. Functional limitations are used to identify reasonable accommodations in school/work.


Health Services

Provides student health support in a variety of ways.


IDEA 04: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004

Federal legislation that states the civil rights of students in K-12.

IEP: Individual Education Plan

2004 requires an annual IEP meeting to review and plan goals and objectives (Applies to K-12 ONLY).



The term K-12 refers to the years in school from kindergarten through the end of high school.


Learning Disability

A persistent condition of neurological dysfunction. The general characteristics include: average to above average ability, a significant processing problem, and significant difference between ability and achievement in school.



Regional Occupational Program (see community resources).


SEC: Student Education Contract

A required community college plan of study for students with disabilities developed by disability support office specialist and the student.


The ability to identify and explain your needs. Students with disabilities should understand the laws that protect them and help them achieve their academic goals.

Section 504

Part of the Federal Rehabilitation Act passed in 1973 to protect the civil rights of children and adults with disabilities in schools or workplaces that receive Federal Financial support.

504 Plan

504 plans are used to outline accommodations and services for students with disabilities in K-12 only. outside of the special education process.

Student Affairs/Activities

Addresses student complaints and grievances. Supports student clubs, organizations and events on campus.

Student Code of Conduct

Defines expected behavior of college students and consequences. Colleges have both policy and procedures about expected behavior. This information is usually found in the college catalog. Serious misconduct may result in suspension/expulsion. Students with disabilities are held to the same standards as all students.

Student Employment/Career Center

May assist students in locating employment and research assistance for career opportunities.


A class outline of course descriptions, student learning outcomes, assignments, grade policy, and behavior policy provided by instructors for students.


TAG: Transfer Agreement Guarantee

An agreement between the community college student and the receiving four-year school.

Title VI-Civil Rights Act of 1964

Prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in all employment situations involving programs or activities aided by federal funding.

Title VII-Civil Rights Act of 1964

Prohibits job discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin in all employment practices: hiring, firing, promotions, compensations, and in all other terms, conditions and benefits of employment, including vacations, pensions and seniority.


Refers to passage from K-12 to postsecondary education.


Offers free peer tutoring to any enrolled student.

Transfer Center

Provides information and assistance to students in transferring to a four year college or other specialized college programs.


UC: University of California

Public universities in California.



The written proof that a student has a disability which must be signed by a doctor or the appropriate professional in the field. It names the disability and identifies functional limitations.

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