Accommodations and Services

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.

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 (SEP’s), prepare for transfer, evaluate transcripts, or to discuss and develop educational and career goals.

To request an academic counseling appointment, a student may contact 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!

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 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 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).


Tutoring is available for all Cypress College students at the Tutorial Center located in the L/LRC. Extended tutoring (1 hour vs. ½ hour) is available to qualified students.

A DSS student must be approved for this accommodation by meeting with a DSS Counselor.

Any DSS student who qualifies for extended tutoring (1 hour) must present the LLRC Tutoring Center a DSS Tutoring Card. These cards are available at the DSS office. The tutoring staff will not provide extended tutoring if a student does not possess the DSS Tutoring Card.

Please know that one-hour tutoring appointments are based on the availability of a tutor and time/dates requested. There may be times when only 30-minute appointments are open and/or no appointments are available. Also, tutoring may not be available for ALL college subjects.

DSS students authorized for extended tutoring may request two (2) one-hour tutorial sessions per subject, per week. No student may request more than one appointment per subject for the same day. Students more than 10 minutes late will lose their appointments. The Tutoring Center follows the campus policy and Standards of Student Conduct. If a student violates standards of conduct, tutoring privileges may be revoked for a session, week, month, semester, etc. depending on the severity of the situation

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.