MC disability services branch out

Midland College offers services to students with any special needs, helping them possess the skills necessary to compete in the everyday workforce, according to disability counselor Dale Williams.

His office is used to help students with disabilities identify a career path and to help them learn the skills that path may require.

“These students are granted academic accommodations in consent with the Americans with Disabilities act (ADA) and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973,” Williams said.

Students with special needs are encouraged to contact a counselor in the disability assistance office as soon as possible. Once students are out of high school, the laws change. The Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the law for special needs students from birth through high school.

According to ed.gov, “IDEA is our nation’s special education law. The IDEA guides how states, school districts and pubic agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.”

Before IDEA was established, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was the law in effect. Section 504 of this act continues to play an important role in education, especially for students with disabilities who may not qualify for special education services under IDEA, Williams said.

These laws are meant to protect these students from discrimination. Once an appointment is made, they are required to bring documentation of their disability or disabilities to student services.

Acceptable forms of documentation include: testing results from high school, assessment results from Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS), results from a private psychologist or diagnostician, assessment report from a neurologist or other medical doctor or diagnostic results from any branch of the armed services.

“I thought getting into college was hard enough, but once I heard all the things kids with disabilities had to go through just to get help in school, getting in was a piece of cake,” MC student Mary Ruth said.

At the meeting, the disability specialist will discuss the services and accommodations at Midland College that seem appropriate for the student’s disability.

Enrollment assistance is also discussed, along with information about majors and admission requirements for the college.

A variety of support services are available for MC students with special needs. Services include interpreters, assistance with taped test takers, readers, scribes, and tape recorders, assistance with the registration process, adaptive equipment and test accommodations.

Williams said the department aims to help disabled students realize they’re just like everyone else. “Just because you have a disability it doesn’t mean you can’t work; everyone needs a job and everyone can work,” Williams said.

“We received a grant last semester that was given to us to fund the access lab for students. I’m really excited to start working with students with this lab and see what great things come from it,” Williams said.Dale Williams

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