The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

DSS accommodates students’ varied needs

By Cody Daniels/reporter

Disability support services is transforming into something new beginning this semester to better accommodate each student needing assistance.

The DSS office helps students protected under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. This law includes blindness, deafness, social phobias, medical conditions and all types of learning disabilities.

Unlike in Texas public high schools, TCC does not change the state curriculum in specific courses or the courses in degree audit plans. 

“Accommodations, not modifications,” said student worker Lauren Mayfield.

At TCC, students must identify themselves as disabled and give DSS the proper proof and completed paperwork to receive accommodations.

“Although students must identify themselves, more than most do get referred to the office by their instructors or teachers,” NE sign language interpreter Will Farr said. “Accommodations are specific to the student’s course or courseloads individually.”

After students apply in the DSS office, they must apply each semester for accommodations. Some accommodations include distraction-free testing environments, adaptive equipment and software, free use of audio recorders, audio textbooks for the blind and interpreters for the deaf who go to class or within the TCC community.

“A lot of students fear receiving accommodation from the DSS office when they need it because they are scared it will go on their transcript,” Farr said. “Disability students, however, are protected under federal education laws, and no one will be told they are disabled, and, furthermore, the accommodations will not occur on a student’s transcript after graduation.”

Because of Mayfield’s own medical situation resulting from a car accident, she feels that she connects on a special level with the students, and they create a support system with each other that an office without a disabled student employee wouldn’t have.

“Part of my job is to make students feel comfortable with success in spite of their disabilities,” she said.

Each campus has its own DSS office, and each office is a little different.

NW Campus is sponsoring an awareness week Oct. 14-18 with guest speakers, a mini-carnival in the WSTU building and a theatrical performance by the Dionysus Inclusion Theatre group.

NW also has a new program this semester called the Peer Mentoring Program, which will build support, create student success and determine how to better tailor each individual’s accommodation plan. Each DSS student mentor will receive training from a professional ADA lawyer.

SE Campus is doing a complete renovation of its offices that began two weeks before the start of the semester and will finish when students come back from Labor Day. The space includes a new assistive technology room and new testing rooms.

Disability Services

NE Campus: NSTU 1629A

NW Campus: WCTS 1124F

South Campus: SSTU 1211A

SE Campus: ESED 0302A

TR Campus: TRTR 1421B

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