DSS Student Guide

Welcome to DSS

Congratulations! We are happy you have decided to continue your education at Cypress College. Disability Support Services (DSS) would like to welcome you to our Program. It is our hope that our services will enhance your educational development and help you meet your academic goals. We hope you will take full advantage of all the services offered here at Cypress College.

The first thing you should do is apply to Disability Support Services (DSS). You may do this by visiting the DSS webpage and following the instructions. As part of the online application process, you will need to upload your disability verification document. This may be your IEP, medical verification from a doctor, or another form of disability documentation verified and signed by a disability or medical professional. If you have questions or need assistance with the application process, please call (714) 484-7104.

Applying to DSS — Eligibility for Services

In order to be eligible for disability support services, students must provide documentation of a disability. Such documentation may include an IEP, psychological and/or medical reports, or specialized testing reports (audiogram, vision tests, LD assessment, etc.).

The categories of disabilities served include: vision, hearing, physical, learning disabilities, mental health, acquired brain injuries, intellectual, other health conditions, ADHD, and autism spectrum disorder. These categories are outlined in Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.

Steps to apply to Disability Support Services (DSS)

  • Obtain a Student ID Number after applying to Cypress College.
  • Visit the DSS website and click on Charger Access Student Portal.
  • Click on “Apply to DSS.”
  • Log in using your myGateway ID and password.
  • Follow the instructions and complete all sections.
  • Upload disability documentation (i.e. IEP, medical verification, audiology report)
  • Submit your application

Allow one (1) week for DSS to contact you by email to schedule a New Student Appointment (NSA) with a counselor.

During the NSA, you will discuss courses, accommodations, your rights and responsibilities, and develop an Academic Accommodation Plan (AAP). You will be expected to meet with a counselor and/or request DSS services/accommodations at least once per semester to continue receiving services through DSS. Students with learning disabilities may be required to reassess to determine appropriate accommodations for college. The Learning Disability (LD) Specialist will review all supporting documents and complete an LD assessment, if needed.

How to Request Services and Accommodations

To receive services and accommodations, students must be registered with DSS and have an Academic Accommodations Plan (AAP) on file that lists their counselor-approved accommodations. Students must request their accommodation letters through their Charger Access Student Portal. Students who wish to receive accommodations must update their DSS file every year and request accommodation letters every semester.

Problems with Services and/or Accommodations

Students must request their accommodation letters through their Charger Access Portal to initiate the facilitation of an accommodation. If a student is authorized and requests through their student portal a unique accommodation, such as a reader or scribe, a DSS staff member will coordinate this service/accommodation with the student after DSS has received the request for an accommodation letter. 

Students who need assistance requesting their accommodation letters or are experiencing problems with their DSS services and/or accommodations should contact DSS as soon as possible at (714) 484-7104 or visit the DSS office in CCC 100. DSS staff will attempt to resolve the situation with the student. Students who feel they have been treated unfairly and have a complaint about services or accommodations may refer to the accommodation complaint resolution procedure.

Services and Accommodations

Priority Registration

As a student registered with DSS, you may be eligible for advanced registration for courses. In order to qualify for priority registration, you must have completed your new student appointment with an orientation with a DSS Counselor. Once you’ve completed this requirement, an active case file should be on record with DSS a minimum of two weeks prior to the first day of registration. Continuing students must update their files in the summer or fall of each year to maintain access to priority registration. Additionally, continuing students must have a comprehensive Student Educational Plan (SEP) on file after they have completed 15 units of coursework. This SEP is developed by the student and your counselor. To receive priority registration as a continuing student, you must be in good academic and/or progress standing AND have completed 75% or more of your earned units with grades of A, B, C, CR, and P, AND have not earned more than 100 degree-applicable units at Cypress AND Fullerton.

Alternate Media Services

Alternate media generally refers to text or other materials produced in a specialized format intended for use by persons with disabilities. Types of alternate media include, but are not limited to, Braille, large print, audio material, electronic text (PDF or Word/RTF), and tactile graphics.

Procedure to use this service:

  • Meet with your DSS Counselor to determine eligibility for alternate format accommodations.
  • Purchase the textbook. Make sure to keep the receipt.
  • Visit the Charger Access Student Portal and click on “Request Alternate Format Materials.”
  • Login using your myGateway ID and password.
  • Once you are logged in, click on “New Request” and enter the desired session and course from the listing.
  • If there are no books shown for the course, you can click on “Searching for Books” and enter the title or ISBN of your textbook.
  • Choose the textbook from the list and select the + symbol to add to your cart.
  • Once all textbooks have been added, click the cart icon to proceed.
  • Choose your desired format and then upload a copy of the purchase receipt.

HOT TIP: Students must request this services as early as possible prior to the start of the semester. In some cases, the production of materials may take up to eight (8) weeks. Order your textbooks at the same time you register for classes.

Audio Recording

Under Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, institutions of higher education must provide auxiliary aids and services to students with verified disabilities and not deny equal access to the institution’s programs, courses, and activities. Audio recorders, including Otter.ai and the SmartPen, are a legitimate auxiliary aid to supplement or substitute note taking for some students with disabilities.

Students who are determined eligible due to verified disabilities affecting their ability to take or read notes have the right to record lectures.

Students who are approved for audio recording as an accommodation must adhere to the regulations. Students will be required to sign an audio recording contract every year, and any student who violates the agreement/contract may be subject to disciplinary action by the college and the loss of similar disability services.

  • I will use recordings of class lectures solely for my personal use in study and preparation related to this class.
  • I will not share these recordings with any other person at any time, whether that person is in my class.
  • I will turn off the audio recorder at my instructor’s request during portions of the lecture which are not relevant to the contents of the course requirement.
  • I will not record the voices of other students such as in a discussion session, virtual student breakout room, etc. I will only record the voice of the lecturer.
  • I will not reproduce or upload the recording to social media sites and/or web environments. Public distribution of recorded materials may constitute copyright infringement in violation of federal or state law, or college policy.
  • I understand I am not allowed to video record the lecture.
  • I will erase, delete, or destroy the recordings at the end of the course.
  • I understand that my instructor has the right to add information to this contract as it relates to their course.

Auxiliary Aids

Students must identify the need for an auxiliary aid and give adequate notice of the need. Students must meet with their DSS Counselor to determine eligibility for the use of an auxiliary aid. Some of the various types of auxiliary aids may include: electronic readers, audio recorders, assistive listening devices, etc. The student agrees not to release information obtained in class via the auxiliary aid, as it might infringe on a potential copyright or limit freedom of speech. The student also agrees to use the auxiliary aid solely for the purpose of personal study. The student understands that audio recordings cannot be used as evidence in the case of student-faculty disputes. Furthermore, the student shall not share recordings with other people and will turn off the recorder at the instructor’s request during portions of the lecture which are not relevant to the contents of the course requirements. Students will only record the voice of the lecturer, not the voices of other students. Students shall not reproduce or upload the recordings to social media sites and/or web environments. Students shall erase, delete, or destroy the recordings at the end of the course or sooner, depending on the professor’s instructions. Students may be asked to sign a contract agreeing to these conditions.

Academic Counseling

DSS recommends that students meet with a DSS academic counselor each semester to get recommendations for courses and to discuss appropriate support services and/or academic accommodations. We encourage DSS students to use DSS counseling services to create Student Educational Plans (SEPs), prepare for transfer, evaluate transcripts, or to discuss and develop educational and career goals.

To schedule an academic counseling appointment, DSS student should visit their Charger Access Student Portal and click on the Book an Appointment with a Counselor icon. If preferred, students may, instead, call the DSS office at (714) 484-7104 to schedule an appointment.

HOT TIP: Do not miss your appointment. The wait list for counseling services can be long! If you miss two counseling appointments (no-shows) without notifying the DSS office, you may be required to wait two weeks to reschedule another appointment.

Accessible Parking

All students and visitors wishing to park on campus must purchase parking permits from Cypress College. This policy includes individuals with disabilities who have accessible placards issued by the DMV. Cypress College parking permits may be obtained by visiting the PERCS website. Accessible “blue zone” parking is available to vehicles displaying placards or license plates issued by the DMV to individuals with disabilities. Blue zones are located close to buildings in parking lots throughout the campus.

Learning Disability Assessment

Enrolled students experiencing academic difficulties and who believe they may have a learning disability may request a learning disability (LD) assessment. There is no cost to the student for the assessment. The DSS LD Specialist screens students to determine if they should be tested. If testing is prescribed, students schedule a series of appointments where they are administered standardized tests of aptitude and achievement. Results of the tests indicate whether a student is eligible for services through DSS. LD screening can be requested by contacting DSS at (714) 484-7104 or by visiting the DSS office and speaking with a staff member. Students in high school special education programs and 504 programs may be asked to complete testing to continue to qualify for additional accommodations and/or services at college.

Students with certain co-occurring disabilities, such as Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) cannot be tested for learning disabilities.

HOT TIP: Once you have been accepted for LD assessment, keep your appointments! If you miss appointments without contacting the LD Specialist or DSS office, your testing may be stopped.

Note-Taking Assistance

Students who have difficulty taking notes adequately would benefit from audio recording lectures, instructor’s notes/slides, note-taking apps, a SmartPen, or shared notes from a volunteer in class. If a volunteer shared note taker is preferred, it is the responsibility of the DSS student to select this accommodation in their Charger Access Student Portal when requesting accommodation letters.

DSS Student — To request a volunteer note taker to share notes:

  • Click the link to “Request a Note Taker” in the Charger Access Student Portal.
  • Click “Courses/Notes” at the top of the page and indicate from which courses to receive notes and confirm the request.
  • The DSS student will receive an email when a volunteer note taker has been assigned and every time the volunteer has uploaded notes to the Charger Access Student Portal for the DSS student to access.
  • If the DSS student knows another student in class who wants to take notes, the DSS student should ask them to apply through the Charger Access Student Portal. (See instructions below.)
  • IMPORTANT: If a volunteer note taker has not been assigned after 2-3 days of the request, it is up to the DSS student to inform DSS staff so they can intervene to assist. It is also recommended that the DSS student keep their instructor informed of their note taker status.

Volunteer Note Taker – To apply to share notes:

  • Apply as a note taker through the Charger Access Student Portal by clicking on “Volunteer Note Taker,” then on “Courses/Notes,” and completing all fields on the application.
  • Click on “agree” with the Note Taker Agreement and Confidentiality statement and then select the classes in which to take notes.
  • An email will be sent to the volunteer note taker when they are assigned as a note taker. At this point, the note taker may visit the Charger Access Student Portal after each class lecture to upload notes for the DSS student.
  • The volunteer note taker will receive a bookstore gift card in the amount of $60 for providing notes for 9-16 weeks OR $30 for 1-8 weeks. To be eligible for the gift card, the volunteer must apply on the Charger Access Student Portal and receive the confirmation email that they were assigned to be a note taker prior to starting the assignment. The gift cards will be issued at the end of the semester.

Receiving note taking assistance is not a substitute for attending classes. Student must attend class to obtain notes, unless an alternative arrangement is approved by DSS. Note taking services do not replace the student’s responsibility to pay attention, participate, and ask for clarification, as needed.

Important: If a volunteer note taker has not been assigned 2-3 days after the DSS student requested a note taker, the DSS student should contact DSS for assistance.

HOT TIP: Access and review your notes immediately after class, or as soon thereafter, and make additional notes in the margins. Sometimes the things you want to remember haven’t been emphasized by the note taker.

Readers and Scribes

DSS provides readers and scribes for tests and in class for students who qualify. If students are eligible for a reader and/or scribe, they may ask for this service by requesting their accommodation letters through their Charger Access Student Portal and selecting the appropriate accommodation (i.e. reader or scribe). The DSS student will coordinate with DSS staff to secure a reader and/or scribe. DSS requires at least a five-day notice to secure a reader or scribe in class and/or for a test. Important: Students must remind DSS that a scribe/reader is needed before each test.  Readers and scribes do not provide instruction, tutoring, or answer questions from students. Readers simply read the test, and scribes simply write (or keyboard) what the student says. DSS students should not ask the reader or scribe for other assistance.

Testing Accommodations

Testing accommodations involve making adjustments to standard testing conditions so that students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of course material. Accommodations do not give students an advantage in a testing situation; rather, they compensate for educational limitations posed by a student’s disability. The specific types of testing accommodations provided to students are determined by the DSS Counselor and/or LD Specialist on an individual basis. Testing accommodations may include extended time, distraction-reduced testing environment, use of a computer or other adaptive equipment, the assistance of a reader or scribe, or breaks.

Instructors sometimes comment, “All students would like to have extra time on tests.” This is true, but not all students benefit equally from extra time. Studies performed with students with learning disabilities (LD), for example, demonstrate that they increase their test scores substantially when given extra time, while students without disabilities did not. That is because students with LD require more time to process information than individuals without LD.

In order to receive testing accommodations, it is the student’s responsibility to follow the DSS testing accommodations procedures. Failure to do so may result in the loss of testing accommodation services.

Procedure for using this service:

  • Request test accommodations, indicated with (T), in the Charger Access Portal by clicking “Request Accommodation Letters.” Step by step instructions can be found under Charger Access Portal Login and Tutorials. Accommodation letters will be emailed to your professors when you have completed this process for each class.
  • You and your instructor discuss details and determine if your exams will be administered online or on campus and if the instructor will accommodate you in class or DSS will proctor your exams.
  • If DSS is proctoring your exams, you will need to schedule an appointment following the appropriate process, which differs for on campus vs online exams. Instructions are listed in the Process for Scheduling Exams with DSS.
  • You MUST make an appointment for taking a test at least three (3) business days in advance. Please note: If you require alternative media and/or a reader/scribe, you must schedule your testing appointment at least five (5) business days in advance. When scheduling your appointment, be prepared to give the following information:
    • Student ID #
    • Name of your instructor
    • Name of your class
    • Date and time of your class exam
    • How much time the rest of the class will get for the exam
  • If you schedule an appointment, but do not show up for your appointment or fail to make an appointment two times in a semester, your testing accommodations may be suspended, and you will need to meet with a DSS Counselor or the DSS Director to get testing services/accommodations reinstated.
  • All tests must be taken in one sitting. You cannot stop, leave, and come back later to finish. Tests must be taken on the same day as the class and as close to class time as possible, unless the instructor contacts DSS and approves other arrangements.
  • Instructors should submit all tests to the Faculty Portal. If the exam takes place on Canvas, a test copy is not required.
  • Tests delivered to DSS by students WILL NOT be accepted.
  • Hard copy exams are returned to instructors by campus mail, or they can pick them up in person. Completed tests CANNOT be returned by students.

Please remind your instructors that they need to provide DSS with the test by the day it is to be administered. In the case of exams that need to be converted into an alternate format or require multiple copies, DSS needs the test five days in advance to make sure that they are ready on time.

“Cheating” on an exam is considered inappropriate use of DSS services and is subject to suspension or termination of DSS accommodative testing services. If you are caught cheating, you will not be able to take any future exams until you have met with a DSS Counselor or the DSS Director. Additionally, any student participating in this type of academic dishonesty will be referred to the Dean of Counseling and Student Development and will be subject to campus suspension or expulsion.

Note: In order to maintain the integrity of the DSS testing environment, DSS utilizes cameras to monitor the testing rooms for on campus exams. All online exams that DSS proctors virtually on Zoom are monitored and recorded, including audio and chat messages.

On campus exams will require you to leave your bags and other personal items outside of the testing room. You must turn in your cell phone to a DSS staff member before entering the testing room; your device will remain in a locked drawer for the duration of your exam. Having a cell phone, notes, etc. in the testing room is considered a form of cheating, even if you are not using them. Please make sure to leave ALL materials outside of the testing room.

Online exams proctored by DSS on Zoom will require adherence to the following rules:

  • Stay muted for your entire exam while in Zoom and use the chat function to communicate with DSS staff. There are other students in the Zoom sessions taking exams and they can hear you.
  • Unless you are actively using your cell phone to connect to the Zoom session, which is preferred, your cell phone must remain off and/or always face down in view of the camera.
  • Your camera should be positioned to show you and your entire work area.
  • We may ask to verify that unapproved notes, books, devices, etc. are not being used on the exam. This may include holding up materials, removing baseball caps or similar, scanning the room with your camera, etc.
  • Type the actual time that you start the exam (may be different than your scheduled appointment time) in the chat to DSS staff.
  • Type the actual time that you end your exam in the chat to DSS staff before you exit the Zoom session; DSS staff will give you permission to exit when your end time is recorded and you may click “Leave”.
  • DSS staff reserves the right to stop any exam if questionable behavior is observed in the Zoom session. DSS staff will assign you to a “breakout room” immediately to discuss such behavior, before ending an exam completely.

Inappropriate Use of Testing Services (non-exhaustive list)

  • Chronic tardiness for testing appointments
  • Failing to schedule testing appointments
  • Inappropriate behavior towards DSS staff
  • Use of unauthorized materials in testing room
  • Leaving DSS testing center without authorized breaks and/or informing DSS staff

If a student is authorized for accommodative breaks, they will be allowed to take a break during a test. A student with this approved accommodation is permitted to take one 10-minute break during tests or quizzes. The 10-minute break is included in the allotted test time. Students should remain in the DSS office during the break, or students may visit the restroom. HOT TIP: Inform DSS immediately if you have any problems related to your testing accommodations. Do not wait until the last minute to begin the above process!

Process for Scheduling Exams

For classes that meet only on campus or hybrid classes that take exams on campus:

  1. Call the DSS office at (714) 484-7104 or visit the office in person to schedule your exam appointment at least three (3) business days ahead of your exam date.
  2. Communicate with your professor that you have scheduled the exam for DSS to proctor.

For classes that are completely online or hybrid classes that take exams online:

  1. Email your exam appointment request to dss-testing@cypresscollege.edu at least three (3) business days ahead of your exam date. Include the following information:
    1. First and last name, student ID number, course title, date and time of your exam.
    2. **Please cc your professor on this email so they are aware of the appointment.
  2. You will receive an email from DSS the evening before the exam that includes that link to the DSS Zoom Testing Room as well as a password to access the meeting and remote testing rules.

Service Animals

A service animal is trained to perform some of the functions and tasks that people with disabilities cannot perform themselves. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service animal is defined as:

A dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability.

Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. In compliance with the ADA, service animals are welcome at Cypress College. Students with disabilities requiring assistance of a service animal on campus are welcome to register their service dogs with the DSS office. The DSS Counselor will recommend any additional accommodations appropriate to the functional limitations of the disability.

Requirements of service animals and their owners/handlers include:

  • Dogs must be licensed in accordance with county regulations and wear current tags.
  • Dogs must be in good health.
  • The dog must be on a leash at all times, unless either the student is unable to use a harness or leash because of a disability, or the use of a harness or leash would interfere with the service animal’s performance of work or tasks.
  • The handler must control the animal at all times. The care and supervision of an animal is solely the responsibility of its partner/handler.

In situations where it is not obvious that the dog is a service animal, staff may ask two specific questions:

  • Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
  • What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

Cypress College may exclude a service animal from all or part of its property if a handler fails to comply with these restrictions in a manner that fundamentally alters the nature of Cypress College programs or services or poses a threat to the health or safety of others.

Sign Language Interpreting and Remote Transcription Services

An Interpreter will be provided through the DSS office for students who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) and who wish to use sign language as their primary and preferred mode of communication. A remote transcriber will be provided for DHH students who need to access information via real-time transcription services.

Requesting services:

  • As soon as you register for a class, you may request services at deafservices@cypresscollege.edu or by submitting an Interpreter/Remote Transcription Request Form that is available in the DSS office.
  • You must also select this accommodation in the Charger Access Portal when requesting accommodation letters.
  • Interpreting or Remote Transcription services must be requested from DSS as soon as you register for a class and no later than two weeks before the start of classes. You must request services for field trips, on-campus appointments, and/or campus plays/concerts no less than two weeks before the event.
  • You will be asked to read and sign a Student Contract for Interpreting/Remote Transcription Services prior to receiving the service.

HOT TIP: Request this service as soon as possible prior to the start of the semester so that we can ensure that a service provider will be scheduled for you on the first day of class.

Absences: If you plan on being absent, you must notify DSS at deafservices@cypresscollege.edu at least 48 hours in advance. If you are unexpectedly absent due to illness, car trouble, etc., you must notify DSS as soon as possible. If you do not show up for class and do not notify DSS in advance on two occasions, your interpreting or remote transcription services will be suspended until you meet with a DSS Counselor or Director. If, after you meet with the DSS professional, your absenteeism continues, services may be terminated for the remainder of the semester.

Tardiness: Interpreters and remote transcribers are instructed to wait ten (10) minutes for every hour the class meets for students to arrive. If you arrive after the interpreter or remote transcriber has waited the required time, you may not receive services for that class period. Failure to arrive to class on time twice in a semester will result in your services being suspended until you have met with the DSS Counselor or Director. Adds, Drops, or other Class Changes: You must inform DSS immediately of any changes in your class schedule.

Personal Care Attendant/Educational Coach

The college recognizes two types of personal aides. A student who is limited in performing self-care functions may require a Personal Care Attendant (PCA) to participate in the college’s activities, services, or programs. A PCA’s sole function is to address the student’s disability-related personal care needs (e.g., toileting, mobility assistance, dispensing medications, etc.). Other students may need an Educational Coach (EC) to address behavioral issues such as staying on task or following directions. In either case, it is the student’s responsibility to arrange for their personal aide. Cypress College is not responsible for locatingcoordinatingor making financial arrangements for personal care attendants or educational coaches.

An aide is not considered a student, and the aide’s participation in class is limited to assisting the student to meet their accessibility needs (e.g., turning pages, getting out supplies, taking off coat, etc.) or behavioral needs. An aide is not to act on behalf of the student with instructors, students, or staff, engage in instructional activities, provide academic support, or in any way influence the student’s learning during class time. As we strive to increase independence, neither parents nor close family members are permitted to serve as the student’s in-class aide.

Personal aides are required to follow all College policies and regulations, including the Conduct Code. Failure to abide by the agreed upon role will result in the aide’s presence on campus being limited or denied.

The student must give timely notification to the DSS office if requesting that an aide accompany them in class (in-person or virtual) so that DSS is able to consider the request and, if approved, notify faculty in advance. Additionally, the presence of a personal aide in the classroom (in-person or virtual) must be approved by the NOCCCD Board of Trustees. This board approval process takes time, so timely notification is imperative. The student is responsible for notifying and obtaining approval from DSS regarding any personnel changes. The student (and aide) must complete the Personal Care Attendant/Educational Coach form every semester prior to entering the classroom (in-person or virtual).

It is the student’s responsibility to:

  • Submit appropriate disability documentation to DSS. The verified disability and resulting educational limitations must support the necessity of having a personal aide accompany the student in the classroom.
  • Ensure there is adequate time to obtain NOCCCD Board approval. This could take up to three weeks.
  • Ensure that each personal aide registers with DSS and signs the Personal Care Attendant/Educational Coach Agreement each academic term.
  • Ensure that if personnel changes occur during the term, the new personal aide registers with DSS and signs a new PCA/EC Agreement Form.
  • Direct the activities of the personal aide in the classroom (limited to non- academic activities as described above).

Alternative Due Dates for Assignments

Academic Adjustment

Cypress College makes every reasonable effort to accommodate students with disabilities as addressed by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Alternative due dates for course assignments may be reasonable accommodation in certain situations because a student’s medical or health circumstance poses challenges with completing assignments by deadlines. If a student has a disability with random or cyclical acute episodes and/or causes hospitalizations, the accommodation allows for flexibility in assignment deadlines and when the episode interferes with the student’s ability to complete the work in the expected timeframe.

DSS will consider alternative dues dates for assignments as an accommodation upon notification from the student and after engaging in the interactive process. Students must factor in the reality of their own personal situation and use time effectively to complete assignments. This accommodation will not be approved when it substantially alters the nature of the program or course.

This accommodation does not entitle the student to submit all assignments after deadlines, nor does it apply in the case of student study skills or time management issues or work overload. In most cases, the accommodation is not retroactive. The accommodation is only applicable when a student experiences a medical or health challenge as it relates to the disability verification on file in DSS. If a student’s absences and extensions become excessive, the student will be advised on their ability to pass the course, based on the instructor’s professional judgement.

Student Responsibilities

  • The student will provide disability verification and meet with a DSS counselor to discuss their medical condition/disability that may impact their ability to complete assignments within a specific timeframe because of unexpected medical or health episodes.
  • The student and DSS counselor will engage in an interactive process. As part of that process, it may be necessary to discuss different types of assignments individually as reasonable extensions may differ by assignment.
  • Upon receiving DSS approval for an accommodation of alternative due dates, the student is required to send the accommodation letter to their instructor via the Charger Access Student Portal. The student and instructor will discuss how to facilitate the accommodation. The student may contact DSS for guidance.  
  • The student will inform their instructor prior to an assignment due date, or as soon as possible thereafter, when requesting an adjustment. Adjustments will only be requested when a student is experiencing a medical/health episode or disability-related challenge.
  • The student and/or instructor may contact DSS for assistance in establishing a reasonable agreement.
  • Deadline parameters will be arranged with the instructor consistent with the approved accommodation. Assignments cannot be submitted whenever desired. For example, a deadline parameter might state that “the assignment extended due date is not to exceed two instructional days.”
  • Assignments cannot be turned in after the semester concludes and grades are posted (whichever comes first), unless DSS approves this as part of the accommodation.
  • Accommodations are not meant to be retroactive. Missed assignments that occur prior to the instructor receiving the accommodation letter are not covered under the accommodation process. DSS recommends that those missed assignments be handled in accordance with the course assignment policy.
  • The student is responsible for meeting with a DSS Counselor if a problem arises with the facilitation of this alternative due dates academic adjustment.

Instructor Responsibilities

  • Instructors will acknowledge receipt of accommodation letter by accessing the DSS Instructor Portal.
  • Instructors will communicate with student regarding the academic adjustment. Both instructor and student will develop a plan to address adjustment as needed.
  • Instructors will contact DSS if they have questions related to the accommodation or for further clarification of an adjustment.

DSS Responsibilities

Upon request by the student, DSS will determine if the accommodation of alternative due dates for assignments is a reasonable academic adjustment through an interactive process with the student and will consider the following when making the determination.

  • The nature and extent of the student’s disability.
  • How the student is impacted by the disability.
  • The individual needs of the student, educational limitations and circumstances surrounding this request.
  • Any information provided by the student recommending that they receive alternative due dates.
  • Relevant information in the student’s college record.
  • Additional documentation that the student provides.
  • The average time all students are expected to spend on assignments relative to the applicable deadlines and if the requesting student’s disability necessitates an extension beyond these deadlines.
  • If this accommodation would be a fundamental alteration to the course.

Distance Education – Requesting Disability Services

For the purpose of the DSS intake process, “distance education students” will apply for services through their Charger Access Portal on the DSS website. After they have submitted their application and uploaded their disability documentation, they will receive an email from DSS asking them to call the office to schedule their new student appointment. The appointment will be completed virtually either by phone, Zoom, or Cranium Café.

High Tech Center (DSS Computer Lab)

Computers with adapted hardware/software that make them more accessible are available in the HTC located in the DSS office, CCCPLX-100. Printing is available in the HTC. DSS HTC uses recycled paper, so if students require “unused” paper, they must bring their own. All students are allowed 200 prints (pages) per semester.

Assistive Software includes:

  • Screen Reader – The computer reads aloud what is on the screen.
  • Voice Recognition – The computer types as the student talks to the computer.
  • Screen Magnifier – The computer enlarges print and graphics on the screen to a size that the student can read.
  • Closed Circuit TV Magnifier (CCTV) – Devices that enlarge printed materials through the use of a TV camera and monitor.

Assistive Technology (AT) Available on Campus: Assistive computer technology is any software, hardware or piece of equipment that helps provide equal access to computer resources as well as alternatives to the way in which an individual interacts with the computer and written material. In other words, AT is anything that helps us get our work done.

Relevant Laws, Bills, and Statutes

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 financing.

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, compensation, and in all other terms, conditions and benefits of employment, including vacations, pensions, and seniority.

Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1965 (FERPA): Amended in 1992 and again in 1994. According to its sponsors, “the purpose of the act is two-fold to assure [students and the] parents of students… access to their education records, and to protect such an individual’s’ rights to privacy by limiting the transferability for their records without consent. The Act applies to any educational agency or institution which is the recipient of federal funds. Parents lose their FERPA rights when their child turns 18 or starts attending a postsecondary institution, whichever comes first.

Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973: “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States shall, solely by reason of his/her disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance…”

Assembly Bill 77 (Lanterman Bill, 1974): Provides the funding mechanism for DSS in California Community Colleges.

American with Disabilities Act of 1990: Extends universal civil rights protection to individuals with disabilities, covering public and private sector employment, public accommodations, transportation, and telecommunications.

Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations: Provides guidelines for implementation of California Community Colleges’ DSS programs.

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1998: Requires that federal departments and those receiving grants from the federal government of the Chancellor’s office to purchase, develop and use electronic information technology that meets accessibility standards developed by the U.S. Access Board. Assembly Bill 422 (California Education Code, Section 67302, January 2000): mandates publishers in California to provide the right and the means to produce instructional materials in alternate formats (braille, large print, audio recordings, and e- text)

Student Rights and Responsibilities

The Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges believes that your education is important and that the services and accommodations are to be taken seriously. Your rights and responsibilities are defined by them in law as well. Title V of the California Code of Regulations is quoted below.

56008. Student Rights

Participation by students with disabilities in [DSS] shall be entirely voluntary. Receiving support services or instruction authorized under this Sub-chapter shall not preclude a student from also participating in any course, program or activity offered by the college.

All records maintained by [DSS] personnel pertaining to students with disabilities shall be protected from disclosure and shall be subject to all other requirements for handling of student records as provided in Sub-chapter 2 of Chapter 5 of this Division.

56010. Student Responsibilities

Students receiving support services or instruction under this Sub-chapter shall:

  • Comply with the Student Code of Conduct adopted by the college and all other applicable statutes and regulations related to student conduct;
  • Be responsible in their use of DSS services and adhere to written service provision policies adopted by DSS; and
  • When enrolled in educational assistance classes, make measurable progress toward the goals developed for the course as established in the student’s Academic Accommodation Plan (AAP) or,
  • When the student is enrolled in general college classes, meet academic standards established by the college, as applied to all students, pursuant to Subchapter 6 (commencing with Section 55500) of Chapter 6 of this Division.
  • Make measurable progress toward the goals established in the Student’s Educational Contract or, when the student is enrolled in a regular college course, meet academic standards established by the college.

A district may adopt a written policy providing for the suspension or termination of DSS services where a student fails to comply with a2, a3, or a4 of this section. Such policies shall provide for written notice to the student prior to the suspension or termination and shall afford the student an opportunity to appeal the decision. Each student shall be given a copy of this policy upon first applying for services from DSS.

Suspension or Termination of DSS Services

There are two ways in which an eligible student may be denied services through DSS:

1.  Lack of Measurable Progress:

  • Failure to meet Cypress College’s academic standards (i.e. academic dismissal, suspension or expulsion)
  • Two consecutive semesters of failure to comply with DSS service policies.
  • Failure to make measurable progress towards the goals established in the student’s Academic Accommodation Plan (AAP) for two consecutive semesters.

2.  Inappropriate Use of Services:

Defined as a failure to comply with the policies and procedures of individual services authorized for a student. Failure to comply with the terms stated within each specific service area may result in the suspension or termination of that service.

  • Only services that have been used inappropriately may be terminated in   the middle of a semester.
  • Prior to the suspension or termination of services, the student will be notified in writing. The letter will inform the student that they must meet with a DSS Counselor or DSS Director within one (1) week from the date of the letter to discuss the area of concern. If the student does not schedule the meeting or fails to attend, services will be suspended or terminated.
  • At the time of the meeting with the Counselor or Director, the student will sign a contract that outlines the guidelines for continuing the service.
  • If service is terminated, the termination will be for the semester of inappropriate use and not affect subsequent semesters. If, however, the inappropriate use of services occurs at the end of a semester, then the termination may continue  into the following semester.

Suspended or terminated services may be reinstated during the current   semester upon the recommendation of the DSS Counselor or DSS Director. If service is reinstated, a letter will be sent to the student informing him/her of that circumstance.

Qualities of a Successful Student

Successful students:

  • Obtain all books, supplies, and course materials before classes start.
  • Attend all classes and are on time to classes.
  • Sit attentively in the front of class.
  • Actively participate in class.
  • Come to class prepared.
  • Review the previous lecture before each class.
  • Make sure they understand assignments correctly and completely before plunging into the assignment.
  • Turn in assignments that look neat and sharp.
  • Use a word processor with spell check to identify misspelled words.
  • Always read assigned readings prior to class.
  • Review and revise their class notes within 24 hours of class.
  • Keep track of their grades throughout the semester.
  • Meet with their instructor either before or after class or during office hours to discuss course material, clarify assignments, or ask for feedback on exams and papers.
  • Take advantage of extra credit opportunities.
  • Make use of an academic planner.
  • Schedule routine study times each week and study in a distraction-free place.
  • Break study time up into manageable segments.
  • Know their class schedule and names of their instructors.


Self-advocacy is the ability to identify and explain your needs.

  • You are responsible for your own success.
  • Consider how your disability affects you as a student and what abilities you have that will lead you to success.
  • Develop good communication skills to request accommodations and services.
  • Recognize and ask when you need help.
  • Get organized.

Time Management

Time management is a very important tool used by successful college students. College classes require students to learn a portion of the material outside of class. As a general rule, students should spend two hours studying outside of class for every hour spent in class. This is known as the 2:1 ratio.

Advantages of time management:

  • Creates enough time to study.
  • Reduces stress and anxiety caused by time pressures.
  • Reduces procrastination and avoids cramming.
  • Allows time to do the things you enjoy.
  • Helps you feel more in control of your life.
  • Helps you use your time effectively.
  • Increases motivation.

HOT TIP: Plan to study when you are most alert and always break study time up into manageable segments. No marathon study sessions!

Test-Taking Strategies

Some students believe they are not good at taking tests; however, test taking is a skill students can master. The following steps are designed to help you remember what you have studied, make fewer errors, and feel more relaxed.

  • Before going to class, make sure you have all materials needed for the test.
  • Arrive at least 5 minutes early. Sit down, get settled, close your eyes for a moment, take deep relaxing breaths, and relax the muscles in your body.
  • Once you receive the test, look over the whole test – note the number and types of questions, and consider how much time you will have to complete the test. Carefully read the directions.
  • Read each question carefully, completely, and more than once. Underline key words in the question. Be sure to read all the choices on multiple choice questions, even if you see the right answer immediately.
  • Do not spend too much time on a really difficult problems.
  • Answer the easy questions first then go back to the questions you skipped.
  • Leave no blanks! Even if you have no idea of the answer, make some kind of attempt. If you write something down, you may receive partial credit.
  • Before turning it in, read through the test. Check for missed pages or questions, etc.
  • Attempt all extra credit. You have nothing to lose and might gain some extra points.

HOT TIP: If you tend to rush through exams, slow down. There are no extra points for being the first person finished!

Reducing Test Anxiety

  • Avoid procrastination! Keep up with the course syllabus.
  • Read textbook chapters prior to the lecture and allow plenty of time to complete assignments. The week before an exam is NOT the time to begin reading your textbook.
  • Avoid cramming! Be well prepared for exams, and don’t wait until the last minute to study. Plan to begin studying for a test one week in advance.
  • Think positive! Remind yourself of experiences you’ve had where you felt competent. Don’t overemphasize the importance of the grade – it is not a reflection of your self-worth. Remember, a test is only a test – there will be others.
  • Put things in perspective! A test is not a life-or-death situation. Receiving a bad grade is not pleasant; however, you can certainly recover from it.
  • Visualize success! As you are waiting for your test to be passed out, close your eyes, take a few slow relaxing breaths, relax your muscles, and picture yourself taking the test.
  • Take care of your body! Poor diet and lack of sleep contribute to feelings of anxiety. Eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep – especially before an exam

HOT TIP: Pay attention to what your body is telling you. Increased heart rate, upset stomach, dry mouth, and tense muscles are indicators for test anxiety. Close your eyes for a moment, take deep relaxing breaths, and relax the muscles in your body.

Evacuation Procedures for People with Disabilities

Suggestions for People with Disabilities

  • Be familiar with all standard Cypress College emergency evacuation procedures.
  • Become aware of exits in buildings and offices.
  • Make sure your instructors are aware of your needs.
  • Establish a buddy system and alternate for each class or working area. Instruct these buddies on how to assist you in the event of an emergency. Some people may need two buddies.
  • People who are deaf may wish to prepare a written card requesting non-verbal emergency assistance and guidance (in writing or gesture).
  • If assistance is not immediately available and you cannot exit the building you should remain calm and move to the safest area possible, such as an enclosed stairwell or an office with the door shut, which is a good distance from the hazard and away from falling debris. Rescue personnel will first check all exit corridors and stairwells for those trapped.
  • Continue to call for help or use a whistle or noisemaker until rescued.

In all emergencies, after an evacuation has been ordered

  • Evacuation of people with disabilities will be given the highest priority in all emergencies and will be carried out if possible. Evacuating a person with a disability or injured person by only one person with no assistance is a last resort. Always ask someone with a disability how you can help before attempting any rescue technique or giving assistance.
  • Attempt a rescue evacuation ONLY if you have had rescue training.
  • Do NOT use elevators, unless authorized to do so by police or fire personnel. Elevators could fail during a fire, earthquake, or flood.

Emergency Responses by Disability

Blindness or Low Vision

  • Most persons who are blind or have low vision will be familiar with the immediate area they are in and may have learned locations of exits and fire alarms in advance.
  • Tell the person the nature of the emergency and offer to guide them by offering your elbow (this is the preferred method when acting as a “Sighted Guide”). Do NOT grasp a blind or person with low vision’s arm.
  • Ask the person to bring their white cane, their guide dog, and any other mobility aids.
  • Give verbal instructions to advise about the safest route or direction using compass directions, estimated distances, and directional terms or information (i.e. elevators cannot be used or if there is debris or a  crowd).
  • As you walk, tell the person where you are and advise of any obstacles, e.g. stairs, overhanging objects, uneven pavement, curbs, or narrow passageways.
  • When you have reached a safe lawn, parking lot or designated evacuation center, orient the person to where they are and ask if any further assistance is needed.
  • Some individuals may have guide dogs that may be disoriented during  the emergency and may require additional assistance.

Deaf or Hard of Hearing

  • Some structures may not be equipped with visual (flashing light) evacuation alarms and persons who are deaf or hard of hearing may not perceive an emergency exists. An alternative warning technique is required. Two (2) methods of warning are:
  • Write a note stating what the emergency is and what the evacuation route is- i.e. “Fire-go out the rear door to Parking Lot”.
  • Turn the room lights on and off to gain attention – then indicate through hand gestures or writing (i.e. on a black board) what is happening and where to go.
  • Offer visual instructions to advise the individual of the safest route or give directions by pointing toward exits or evacuation map.
  • People who cannot speak loudly, or who have voice/speech impairments, may be carrying a whistle or have other means of attracting attention of others.

Physical Disabilities

  • Untrained personnel should NOT evacuate persons with severe physical disabilities unless the situation is life threatening. It may be necessary to help clear the exit route of debris (if possible) so that the person with a disability can move out or to a safer area.
  • Be sure the person has crutches, a cane, walker, or any other mobility aid with them.
  • If people with mobility disabilities cannot exit, they should move to a safer area, e.g. most enclosed stairwells, or an office with the door shut which is a good distance from the hazard (and away from falling debris in the case of earthquakes).
  • Notify Campus Safety, police or fire personnel immediately about  any people remaining in the building and their locations.