Faculty Resources

Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS)
Best Practices

DSPS is here for students and the faculty as a resource. Below are some best practices we encourage all our faculty to consider:

1. Place your book orders early, according to the Bookstore's deadlines.

DSPS provides books in alternate formats (e-text, audio-tape, large print, Braille) for eligible students. It can take up to ten weeks to secure or produce a textbook in alternate format. Once students enroll in classes during the first day of registration, it is crucial for DSPS to be able to access the required book information from the Bookstore.   Keep in mind that course readers (hardcopy or electronic) can be especially difficult to produce in alternate format if they have underlining, hand-written notes, highlighting, cut-off margins, or poor-quality copies.

2. Put a statement in your syllabus to initiate dialogue with students.

DSPS suggests the following statement: “Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS) coordinates all academic accommodations for students with documented disabilities at Golden West College. If you have, or think you might have, a disability that impacts your educational experience in this class, please contact DSPS to determine your eligibility for accommodations. DSPS is located in the Student Services Center, Building 96.  Their phone number is (714) 895-8721. If you are already registered with DSPS, please submit your accommodation requests as soon as possible to allow adequate time to provide accommodation.

3. Make sure your syllabus and other documents are accessible.

Universal design is providing access to everyone without the need for adaptation or specialized design. Universal design is useful to everyone, there’s flexibility in use as it accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and ability. It’s simple and intuitive, easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience. By providing accessible documents everyone will have access to all information from your class. Students who are blind or low vision may require a alternative format such as enlarged print or in a Word or PDF document for screen reader use. A student with a learning disability is able to comprehend materials better when they both see text and hear it spoken out loud with assistive technology.Below you will find some great resources and videos on how to create accessible documents:

How to Create Accessible documents – Youtube
How to Create Accessible documents – PDF Handout
Washington Do-It Universal Design

4. Assist students with notetaker recruitment when requested.

Some students who are eligible for a notetaker may need the instructor’s assistance in recruiting a suitable notetaker from the class. DSPS provides a notetaker announcement form to the student which they will give to you. When requested, please assist with this process by recommending a competent student or by making the following announcement: “Disabled Students Programs and Services is seeking a volunteer notetaker who has the following qualities: Attends class regularly, Takes notes in a neat and organized format, and has good English writing skills. If you are interested in this volunteer opportunity, please come to the DSPS office after class to fill out an application. DSPS is located in the Student Services Center, Building 96 on the map.”

5. Complete Testing Accommodation forms promptly and submit exams to the DSPS Office 1-2 days in advance of the exam.

Students who are eligible for testing accommodations will give you a Test Accommodation form to be completed. Please complete all sections and sign the form. Keep a copy to serve as a reminder to send the exam to the DSPS Office, and return the form to the student as soon as possible. The student must submit the completed and signed test accommodation form to the DSPS Office before a quiz or midterm. DSPS makes our best effort to send courtesy reminder emails to you.

For exams converted into accessible formats:
You will be notified in advance if your exams will need to be converted into an accessible format (large print, Braille, e-text). These exams must be submitted to the Alternate Media Specialist two weeks in advance to allow us time to convert the exam. Submit exams to the DSPS Office at dsps@gwc.cccd.edu or drop off/mail to the DSPS Office located in the Student Services Center, Building 96 on the map.

Service Animals / Emotion Support Animals

Any dog might be trained to assist an individual with a specific disability-related need.*  Guide dogs used by those with vision loss are the most commonly recognized.  No licensing or certifying entity exists to legitimize the use of a service dog.  Rather, the need of the individual with a disability and the specific function the dog is trained to perform legitimize the use under federal and state laws. http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm

Individuals who have obvious disabilities, such as blindness or quadriplegia, raise few questions. Those with hidden disabilities, hidden needs, such as hearing loss, epilepsy, autism, who use dogs may create questions.

  • It is reasonable to question the presence of a dog by asking, “Is this a service dog required because of a disability?”
  • It is reasonable to ask for a description of the specific function the animal is trained to perform, “What work or tasks has the dog been trained to perform?”
  • It is NOT OK to ask the person to tell you nature of the disability, require medical documentation, require a specific identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.
  • If you are not satisfied with the explanation, you should refer the person to the Center for Students with Disabilities at 714-895-8721

Federal and state laws acknowledge that, “in rare circumstances,” access can be limited if health and safety are jeopardized by the presence of a service dog.  An example is certain designated areas of a medical facility, i.e., nursing program practicum sites.  Areas that pose a direct safety risk to the dog are probably not reasonable locations for the owner either.

Mere speculation that the dog might pose a potential health risk to others is not supported by law.  If a fellow student/faculty or staff states a health problem (e.g. allergy) with the service dog, medical documentation regarding the problem will be required for the DSPS office, at 714-895-8721 to determine the appropriate solution for the situation.

If the dog is disruptive to the learning environment or college events, directly aggressive or threatening, or not under the control of the handler at all times, then access by the individual with the animal will be prohibited with assistance from Public Safety, if necessary.  Such access restriction should be referred to the DSPS office.

All members of the college community must behave properly with service dogs.

  • Do not attempt to pet the dog.
  • Do not attempt to feed the dog.
  • Do not deliberately startle or distract the dog.
  • Do not attempt to separate the dog from its partner or training handler.

*Note: Dogs and miniature horses are the only animals specified as services animals under federal law