In winter term there were 148 students using accommodation services provided by Central Oregon Community College’s Disabilities Services.
Anne Walker, Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities, works with a large spectrum of students who deal with access barriers such as mental, physical and neurological disabilities.
The process starts with students who want learning accommodations. They can arrange an appointment with Walker and show documents or proof that they have a given disability.
“Then I talk to the students and see where they’re having difficulties and to see where their barriers are,” said Walker. “Once we speak with students, we decide what accommodations they will have.”
From there, it is the student’s responsibility to set up those accommodations themselves.
“Accommodations don’t get put into place until the student discusses that with the instructor,” said Walker. “We let the students decide what accommodations they want to use.”
Students using the disability services are held to the same requirements as everyone else, but with the assistance received, disability services “just take away what we call the access barriers.”
The hope is to take away the stigma of students feeling like they’re being separated.
For those who don’t have documents showing a given disability, Walker helps them with strategies, and ways disability services can help with their studying.
“Once in a while we get students who’s instructors are not accommodating, so we troubleshoot depending on the situation,” said Walker. “Issues and complaints are handled cases by case. I can only fix [the problem] if I know about it.”
In addition to coordinating the disability services, Walker also provides training workshops for faculty and instructors who have never had students with disabilities.
Elisa Jones, a student at COCC feels she has benefited from the accommodations she has received through Disability Services.
“I get note taking accommodations, test taking in the testing center, and use of the ADA shuttle,” said Jones. “I’m really happy that they have good services that help me out a lot, especially with transportation.”
Jones had only one complaint.
“It’s a big process, it depends on what the disability is and the degree,” said Jones. “Once you get started, it’s easier. I’ve been here two years so I’m familiar with the process.”
According to Walker, she is the only one who can determine and provide accommodations, therefore, she requires appointments. For students already in the system, there are walk in hours.
For more information, you may contact Anne Walker at 541-383-7743 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Lauren Hamiln can be reached at email@example.com