Disability Support Services
Disability Support Services (DSS) envisions a college community that is universally accessible to all members of the campus community; provides an equal opportunity to students with disabilities; and recognizes all individuals for their talents, abilities, and contributions.
New students should review the Accommodations Process to get started. Students who are already registered with Disability Support Services can manage their accommodations via the Accommodations Portal.
Community resources may be found on the Accessibility at RVC page.
- Disability Support Services
- (815) 921-2371
- Email Disability Services
- RVC Main Campus
Student Center, Ground Floor
- Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
RVC Raise Program: The Raising Aspirations through an Inclusive Student Experience (RAISE) program is an inclusive and supportive post-secondary program for young adults who have intellectual disabilities and who desire to participate in a comprehensive college experience. Learn more about RAISE.
About Student Accommodations
Overview of Student Accommodations
There may be some accommodations that you are not currently approved to use. In order to use an accommodation, students must first be approved by the Accommodations Specialist. Please contact the DSS office if you require an accommodation for which you do not have eligibility.
At any time, if your needs or circumstances change, you can communicate with the Accommodations Specialist to explore adjustments to your approved accommodations.
- We view all materials pertaining to a student's disability as confidential. All disability-related information for students at Rock Valley College is housed in Disability Support Services. Only staff persons working at Disability Support Services have access to these files. Registration with DSS will not appear on student transcripts.
- The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) do not allow faculty or others access to disability-related information (e.g. diagnosis, medications).
- We will not share a student’s diagnostic or medical information with College faculty or staff without the student’s consent. The Accommodations Specialist will confirm registration and approved accommodations on a need-to-know basis.
- We will not disclose any student’s medical or registration information to an employer or other outside organization without the student’s permission.
- We will retain all disability documentation for seven years after students leave the college.
- Review your syllabi at the beginning of the semester. Look at the requirements of each of your classes and consider your disability-related needs. Some accommodations may not be necessary for every class.
- Contact DSS if you require any NON-STANDARD accommodations (refer to our Accommodations Process page). You and your instructors will receive your letters via email once classes are in session. Remember, accommodations are not retroactive, so be sure to contact DSS as early in the semester as possible.
- Contact your instructors. In this conversation, you do not need to disclose the specific nature of your disability.
- Follow applicable procedures for your accommodations, as described on our Accommodations Process page.
- Keep in touch. Communicate with your instructors throughout the semester. If you have any questions or run into any issues in this process, contact DSS.
- A Faculty Notification Letter provides your instructors with an introduction to your approved accommodations and how the accommodation process works. It does NOT indicate your disability.
- After evaluating course requirements/design, you can customize your letters to only include the accommodations relevant to each class.
- Letters will be automatically generated by DSS for all standard accommodations. Non-standard accommodations must be requested from DSS each semester before those accommodations will be included on letters to instructors.
The DSS Accommodations Portal is the online system that allows students to access and manage their accommodations and communications with the DSS office. Through the portal, students can:
- Submit their Disability Services initial online application
- Review accommodations they are eligible for
- Check out equipment and assistive technology
- Check their mailbox for messages from DSS staff
Students log in to the portal by using the same Username (Student ID Number) and Password they use to access all other college systems. It is very important to become familiar with the portal and understand how to use it, as this is how certain accommodations will be coordinated, and where you will receive important communications regarding them. If you need assistance or would like training on using the portal please contact our team.
There are two types of accommodations: Standard and Non-Standard. It is important to understand which type you are eligible for as the process for requesting is different for each.
Types of Accommodations
There are two types of accommodations: Standard and Non-Standard.
Students eligible for Standard Accommodations do not need to request these every semester. Rather, these accommodations automatically get included on the students’ Accommodation Letters to faculty by the DSS office. Students will be informed of the accommodations they are eligible for at their Welcome Meeting.
Standard Accommodations include:
- Exam Accommodations (i.e. Extended time for exams or quizzes (1.5x or 2.0x), Audio/Reader, Scribe)
- Reduced distraction room for exams
- Use of a calculator for math
- Priority Registration
- Reduced course load
- Accessible rooms or furniture
- Preferential seating
- Additional time for in-class assignments or labs
- Recording of lectures/copies of PowerPoints or lecture notes
- Assistive technology
- Accommodations for spelling
- Post-production captioning
- Audio descriptions for media
Students eligible for Non-Standard Accommodations MUST contact the DSS office each semester in which these accommodations are needed. Students with non-standard accommodations will receive an E-mail from DSS instructing them to contact our office.
Non-Standard Accommodations include:
- Note Taking Assistance
- Alternative Format (E-Text)
- Memory Aid
- Live Captioning (CART)
- Sign Language Interpreting
- Any other accommodation not listed in the Standard list
You are responsible for:
- Communicating with your instructors and our office throughout the semester
- Requesting accommodations in a timely manner
- Following accommodation procedures (as outlined on this page and in the DSS Student Handbook)
Your instructors are responsible for:
- Communicating with you and our office throughout the semester
- Implementing accommodations in a timely manner
- Notifying our office when there are questions or concerns about any requested accommodations
- Maintaining your confidentiality
We (DSS) are responsible for:
- Approving your accommodations and training you on the request process
- Providing services and accommodations in a timely manner
- Consulting with you and your instructors on how to best implement accommodations
- Maintaining your confidentiality
Disability Support Services will review and consider all pieces of documentation submitted. Documentation will assist Disability Support Services in understanding how the disability impacts the student in an academic setting and the current impact of the disability as it relates to the accommodations requested. Reviewing documentation is a collaborative process and is handled on a case-to-case basis. The eligibility determination process is not a same day process. Once documentation is uploaded via the online DSS Application, it will be reviewed in order of receipt; therefore, it is recommended that documentation be submitted well in advance of any accommodation related needs. Typically, documentation is processed and the student will be notified within three business days of receipt.
Students who have readily observable permanent disabilities (i.e. wheelchair user, white cane user) do not need to submit documentation. Instead, simply submit your application and then contact the DSS office at (815) 921-2371, or stop by the office during regular hours of operation, to schedule a Welcome Meeting.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the documentation review process, please contact Disability Support Services.
There are multiple ways to provide DSS with documentation of your disability. Documentation should provide proof of diagnosis and/or prior accommodations. DSS follows the guidance from the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) on documentation review and accommodation approval.
Some examples of acceptable disability documentation include:
- IEP/504 plan
- Medical records/patient portal diagnostic summary
- Letter from a healthcare professional, on letterhead, which confirms a diagnosis
- DSS Verification Form (Must be completed by a healthcare professional)
- Accommodation letter from previous postsecondary institution
- Full evaluation/diagnostic report (e.g. ETR, MFE)
Students with temporary injuries, such as a broken leg/arm, concussion or surgery recovery can register with and receive services through Disability Support Services on a temporary basis. Temporary students follow the standard registration process and can initiate contact by completing the online DSS Application.
In unique situations, provisional accommodations may be approved for students who can provide evidence of actively engaging in the diagnostic process. These provisional accommodations are typically approved for one semester, and may later be approved on a permanent basis upon receipt of appropriate documentation.
Types of Accommodations
Exam accommodations apply to timed quizzes, midterms, and finals. More specifically, exam accommodations apply to any timed written assessment that is designed to be completed in a single sitting and is graded for accuracy. Exam accommodations typically do not apply to lab work, homework/projects, or untimed "take-home style" exams which students can complete over multiple days. If you see a need for your exam accommodations to apply to anything on this list, please contact DSS to discuss.
The most common exam accommodation is extended time (either 1.5x or 2.0x), although students may be eligible for other accommodations such as:
- Alternative format (ex. large print, Braille, electronic)
- Student aide services (ex. reader, scribe, lab assistant)
- Specialized environment (ex. reduced-distraction room, soft lighting, white noise machine)
- Adaptive equipment and assistive technology
If your exams are designed to be administered in-person, typically, students opt to take their exams in the RVC Testing Center, where accommodations are proctored by the Testing Center. However, student situations vary and specific details regarding how and when your exam accommodations will be coordinated will be included on your Faculty Notification Letter.
A scheduled appointment is required for students taking their exam or quiz in the Testing Center with any of the following accommodations:
- Student aide services (reader, scribe, or lab assistant)
- Specialized environment, including a reduced-distraction room
- Adaptive equipment and/or assistive technology
- Alternative format exam
If your exam is designed to be taken at home utilizing Canvas or other virtual assessment method, you should communicate with your instructors about logistics (i.e. applying extended time in Canvas). If you have concerns with this setup, please contact DSS.
- At the start of the term, confirm with your instructor your need for extended time. Instructors are responsible for setting up extended time in Canvas by adjusting the time limit, availability windows, and/or due dates.
- We strongly recommend that you confirm that your time allotted, availability window, and due date are correct before starting a Canvas exam or quiz.
- If the exam or quiz settings are incorrect, please reach out to your instructor. If you are having difficulty contacting your instructor, please contact DSS.
Students should reference the Testing Center Guidelines for important information on coordinating exam accommodations in the Testing Center.
Testing Center Guidelines
Review the Testing Center Guidelines on the Testing Center page to learn how to prepare for the day of your exam, if you're testing at the Testing Center. Note: While Testing Center staff will meet your accommodation requests, they cannot guarantee a specific testing location for you as space is dependent upon availability.
Late Arrivals, No Shows, Rescheduling, and Cancellations
By using exam accommodations, you are expected to:
- Show up on time for your exams. If you arrive late for an exam, you must either use the remaining time or contact the instructor for authorization to reschedule. There is no guarantee that the instructor will permit a makeup exam. Contact the Accommodations Specialist if a makeup exam is needed for a disability-related reason.
- Confirm application of your extended time for online exams prior to beginning the exam. Contact the Accommodations Specialist if you are having difficulty communicating with your instructor about applying your extended time.
- Cancel your exam request through the Testing Center if, for any reason, you have decided not to take your exam at their facility.
Policies Regarding Academic Misconduct
- All testing spaces are monitored via a closed-circuit camera. Exam video content is stored on a secured, on-site digital recording device that is maintained exclusively by Testing Center staff.
- You are NOT permitted to touch/move the cameras that are located in the studio. If you are caught moving a camera you will be reported to the instructor and may be charged with academic misconduct.
- A staff member may come into any testing location at any time to perform a random integrity check.
- Any suspected evidence of cheating will be documented by Testing Center staff and reported to the appropriate faculty member and the Dean of Students office. Any unauthorized notes and any scrap paper used during the exam will be copied and returned with the exam to the instructor, along with any video evidence.
- You must request test assistants by the scheduling deadline for the exam (see Testing Center Guidelines for details). Only request a test assistant if needed.
- If you originally scheduled a test assistant but decide at a later date that you do not need one, please let the Testing Center know so that they can cancel the request.
- Expectations for Readers (when text-to-speech is not an option)
- Readers can be asked to repeat information, so do not hesitate to ask.
- Readers will only read what is on the printed page and cannot be asked to interpret, define, explain or reword questions.
- Readers need feedback from you to be effective. Let your reader know what reading tone, rate, etc. works best for you.
- Expectations for Scribes
- Scribes will write down verbatim what you have dictated. The scribe is not responsible for organizing or paraphrasing your thoughts into a final draft.
- Scribes are responsible for general spelling and sentence ending punctuation. You are responsible for directing the scribe for any spelling of specific class related terminology or punctuation within sentences.
- At any time, you will have the opportunity to review what the scribe has written either by reading or having it read to you.
- If there are corrections, you will direct the scribe to make them.
Note Taking Support
Note Taking Support may include access to lecture slides in advance, use of personal notetaking technology/apps, and/or peer notetaking services.
- If you are approved for copies of PowerPoints, discuss with your instructor the best way for you to receive the slides in advance so that you can use them for preparation prior to class and/or while taking notes during class.
- If your instructor has any concerns with sharing slides in advance, contact DSS.
This may include a digital recorder, Livescribe pen, etc.
- Review our Notetaking Technology Options chart to compare our recommended options. A copy of the chart can be obtained by contacting the DSS office at (815) 921-2371.
- At the beginning of the semester, discuss the accommodation with your instructor if they have a no-tech or no-recording policy. The professor should modify this policy to allow you to use your notetaking technology if you are approved for this accommodation through DSS. For virtual classes, your instructor may be willing to record the entire class meeting using Zoom.
- Do not share any of your in-class recordings. They are for your personal study use only. Doing so would be against DSS procedures and a potential violation of the Student Code of Conduct. Students will be asked to sign a Notetaking Agreement Form when they are eligible for this accommodation.
- If the instructor still has concerns with allowing you to use your technology in class, contact DSS.
Livescribe Smart-Pens are high-tech writing tool that records both spoken words and written notes and synchronizes them on special dotted paper notebooks. Lectures and meetings can be replayed by tapping on the notes, which can then be downloaded into a computer. There are three models of Livescribe pens: the Echo, Symphony, and Echo II. The Livescribe+ app allows users to pair the Livescribe pen with an iPhone or iPad.
Livescribe Notebooks are special notebooks that look and work like regular college-ruled notebooks, but contain tiny micro-dots that work in tandem with Livescribe smart-pens. Notebooks can be purchased from retailers such as Walmart, Amazon, and Office Depot.
For asynchronous courses (e.g. prerecorded lecture modules):
- Notetakers are typically not applicable in asynchronous courses, since you can pause/rewind your recorder as needed.
- Contact DSS if you believe a peer notetaker is necessary in a non-live course.
For synchronous (real-time) class meetings:
- At the beginning of the semester, discuss your request with your instructor. If you require assistance, please contact DSS.
- If the instructor has already identified a peer notetaker for your section, then the instructor should provide you with the notetaker’s contact information. If there is not already an established notetaker, then your instructor will recruit one. If your instructor is unsure of what to do, refer them to our office for assistance. Your instructor will share your contact information with the notetaker, once identified.
- Communicate with your peer notetaker to coordinate how and when you will receive their notes. Reach out to DSS with any concerns or challenges receiving notes from your peer note-taker.
The DSS office is responsible for converting student’s course textbooks in alternative formats (example: E-text). The RVC Media Lab works with faculty to provide course materials in other accessible formats (i.e. audio description, closed captioning).
It is important to take advantage of the priority registration period and to contact the DSS office as soon as you have scheduled for next semester’s classes. This helps our team to begin converting your materials quickly. We will not begin converting until you have informed us of your need for alt format.
- Contact DSS to inform of your need for alt text as early as possible.
- Provide DSS with proof of purchase (a copy of your bookstore receipt or rental agreement) and the course syllabi. The process of converting materials into an accessible format cannot be started until proof of purchase is received. (Proof of purchase is not required for course materials provided by the professor).
- You will be notified by email once your materials are complete and ready for download.
The DAISY Format is a digital book or “E-text” format that is designed to be a complete audio substitute for printed material. Some individuals who benefit from DAISY are those who have vision or learning disabilities that make reading and/or understanding print-based materials difficult. DAISY format has advanced navigation features in addition to those of a traditional audio book such as highlighted text, easy to navigate chapters, and customized narration to fit the needs of the user. DAISY format can be accessed on PC-based freeware such as AMIS, or premium software suites such as Dolphin Easy Reader, which can be used on both PCs and mobile devices.
The EPUB format is a distribution and interchange format standard for digital publications and documents. It is the industry standard for digital publications and is based on open technologies used on the Open Web Platform. EPUB is designed to represent as close to a 1 to 1 replication of print texts as possible and has similar narration features as DAISY format players depending on the software used to read EPUB documents. Popular EPUB software suites include Calibre, Sumatra, and Ice Cream.
Audiobooks are great way for students with visual impairments or students who are more auditory learners to access their class text material. While some publishers may not have every textbook available in audio book format some services such Audible, have a wide variety of textbooks which can be downloaded to PC and mobile devices. Audiobooks, unlike DAISY or EPUB formats, typically only include audio functionality (no highlighting or tracking features, etc.).
Braille is a system of writing and printing for the Blind or visually impaired, in which varied arrangements of raised dots representing letters and numerals are identified by touch. The use of Braille boards are helpful tools for those with or without visual impairments to learn to read letters and numbers written in Braille.
You will receive an email from DSS notifying you when your request is ready.
To retrieve your materials:
- Login to the DSS Accommodations Portal using your RVC login credentials.
- Once logged in, select "Alternate Formats" on the left side. This will display a list of all books currently in the queue, and the status of each one.
- There is a red "Download" button next to each book that is ready to download. Click that button.
- Click “Open New Link in Windows”, if you see Alternative Formats page.
- This will take you to a page with your book which is available to download to your computer.
- Click the circle to the left of the book and then click Download. This will download a compressed (.zip) version of your book to your computer. It should go into your download folder.
- When the download is complete, click on the downloaded file, and “extract” the zipped files to a folder of the same name.
DSS will communicate your need for captioned media with your instructors, therefore it is important to plan ahead and communicate with DSS as early as possible.
- Monitor your RVC email account for communication regarding your requests.
- The RVC Media Lab will work with your instructors to caption course materials.
- Notify DSS if you change or cancel your courses.
- Audio description is a narration service that describes images in videos for individuals who are blind/low vision. With this accommodation, you may request audio description for class materials in a video format.
- These materials may include in-class videos, videos uploaded to Canvas, and out of class required video/movie screenings.
- Audio description may include an assistant in class, an assistant for out-of-class viewing and/or written transcripts.
- The type of accommodation will be determined based on the class, video, and student need.
- Requests for audio description should be made as early as possible. The Accommodations Specialist will communicate with the instructor regarding the process for submitting requests to the Media Lab for processing.
Deaf/Hard of Hearing Access
Deaf/Hard of Hearing Access may include Course Interpreting & Real-Time Captioning, Event Interpreting & Real-Time Captioning, and/or Assistive Listening Devices.
- After you have scheduled classes for the upcoming term, notify the DSS office that you need this accommodation. DSS will generate your Faculty Notification Letters on your behalf in AIM. This allows us to proactively coordinate staff assignments.
- Check the “Deaf and Hard of Hearing” tab in AIM to see your interpreter/captioner team for the semester. Their names will display after we have determined staff assignments.
Your Faculty Notification Letters will be put in a queue and won’t be emailed to your instructors until the start of the term. You must request this accommodation for every class (each semester) in which an interpreter or captioner is needed.
- Request Sign Language Interpreting & Real-Time Captioning
- Enter your RVC email address and click “Submit Custom Request”
- Fill in event information and submit the request
You can review or modify request under the Deaf and Hard of Hearing tab under upcoming requests.
Assistive Listening Devices are amplifiers that bring sound directly into the ear. Students who use hearing aids may request the use of an Assistive Listening Device for use in the classroom environment.
- Contact DSS to schedule an appointment with the Assistive Technology (AT) Specialist.
- The AT Specialist will fit you with an Assistive Listening Device and train you in its use.
- Sign a contract with DSS to check out the Assistive Listening Device equipment for the semester, which you will return to DSS at the end of each semester.
Important reminders for interpreting/live captioning:
- Request this accommodation for every class (each semester) in which you need an interpreter or captioner. Requests are made by contacting the DSS office.
- Notify your interpreter/captioner when you will be late or absent. Without notification, interpreters/captioners will wait 15 minutes before leaving an assignment.
- Communicate with the interpreter/captioner promptly about any problems with communication access or any special requests.
- Notify the DSS office and interpreter or captioner immediately of any changes to your course schedule, when absent from class(es), or if faculty cancels class on a particular day.
- Review your course syllabi for information concerning field trips, extra credit opportunities and other activities that may require an interpreter/captioner and submit a custom request as early as possible.
- Exchange contact information with your interpreter/captioner and communicate with the interpreter/captioner using your RVC email account.
- Interpreting and captioning will occur only when the student is present.
- Interpreters/captioners will not provide transportation for students.
- Review the No Call/No Show procedure and Working With an Interpreter – Student Guide
Furniture & Mobility Access
The Rockford Mass Transit District (RMTD) offers an accessible origin to destination transportation service for persons with disabilities who cannot ride the fixed route. To schedule a ride, call (815) 961-2255. The Paratransit drop-off/pick-up location is in front of the Educational Resource Center (ERC) building, Parking Lot #8A/B.
- DSS will communicate your need for furniture requests with the Plant Operations & Maintenance (POM) department. This process may take several days, so it is important to plan ahead and notify DSS as early as possible regarding your need.
- Contact DSS if your furniture request has not been met within three business days, or if you encounter a problem with the furniture.
In order to ensure your safety, develop an emergency plan or a strategy in advance. How you respond to an emergency depends on: the type of emergency, your specific disability, the location of your classes, and where you work on campus.
All students requiring emergency assistance will complete the Disability Emergency Response Form (DERF) with the Accommodations Specialist. This information will be shared with the RVC Police department.
Students with mobility impairments:
Elevators provide access for students with mobility impairments to classrooms throughout campus. However, during an emergency such as a fire or tornado, elevators can be very dangerous and often cease working. Furthermore, elevators have been known to break down at times leaving people with mobility impairments stranded on upper floors. As a result, it is unlikely that you will be able to evacuate without the assistance of others. The following steps can help to ensure your safety in an emergency:
- Make a plan: For every building in which you have class or work on campus, locate an area or refuge, which could include a stairway or an adjacent classroom/room with a fire rated door and walls, where you will await rescue during a fire. Stairwells serving as areas of rescue assistance will be noted by signage.
- Inform others of your plan: In most instances, this should be the instructor of your class, or if you are working on campus, your supervisor. Let him or her know the location (i.e., classroom in the Northwest corner of this floor) you have selected to await rescue personnel in the case of an emergency.
Students with visual impairments: As a student with a visual impairment, you should develop a plan of action for emergency situations as well. An ideal time to develop this plan is at the start of each semester as you familiarize yourself with the locations your classrooms.
Students with seizure disorders: If you have a seizure disorder that is not controlled by medication and have seizures often, it is wise to alert your instructor(s) to your condition and how you wish for them to respond. Let them know what to expect if you were to have a seizure during class and under what circumstances it would be necessary to call for an ambulance.
Important Note: For any emergency and for students with any type of disability, the first step is to contact 911. When reporting the emergency, it is important to indicate your specific evacuation needs (e.g., you use a wheelchair or have breathing or stamina difficulties).
This involves alternative methods for class participation or presentations; audio descriptions for visual content; breaks during class; food/water/medicine in the classroom; lab or personal assistant; spelling error flexibility; and voluntary contributions during class.
- Consider: What is the design of this course? Some accommodations may be less applicable to different course designs (i.e. breaks during class or food/water/medicine in classroom may not be relevant to online course designs).
- At the beginning of the semester, discuss your request with the instructor.
- Contact DSS if you or your instructor has concerns.
Class or Lab Assistants are assigned by DSS to assist with mechanical/dexterity tasks that prove inaccessible to the student with a disability. Students must request a class or lab assistant by contacting DSS.
- Contact DSS to request an assistant. Note: Applicability of the assistant accommodation may vary depending on the course design. The Accommodations Specialist will work with you to determine what level of assistance is needed.
- Contact your assistant if you are unable to attend class, so that they can plan accordingly.
- Contact DSS if you drop the course, no longer need an assistant, or your assistant does not attend lab or class or does not perform tasks properly.
- Receive instruction, if needed, regarding your disability-related needs from you and/or the Accommodations Specialist.
- Perform only those tasks directed by you that are specific to the course. They will NOT prompt or guide you in performing a task unless the task is dangerous. You are responsible for all information about actual lab processes and procedures.
- Adhere to proper classroom/lab procedures (including wearing protective gear if required).
- Inform our office if they are ill or otherwise unable to attend a session. We will coordinate a substitute assistant to take their place.
Assistants will not:
- Participate in class discussions or engage in the class or lab in any way that is not relevant to their role.
- Complete a lab or assignment for the student without the student giving the assistant explicit instructions on how to participate in the assignment or lab with the student and their partner(s).
- Provide non-academic related tasks (i.e. bathroom access, feeding, bathing, assisting with transfers, transportation, etc.).
- Tutor the student or assist the student with out-of-class projects, assignments or homework, including submitting course projects, materials, or assignments.
- Assistants will not correct errors in the student’s work unless directed to do so by the student.
Absence and troubleshooting:
- Contact your assistant immediately if you cannot attend a lab session or will be late. Without notification, assistants will wait 15 minutes before leaving an assignment.
- If you fail to show up twice for a class or lab and do not inform the assistant ahead of time, the assistant is authorized to discontinue assistance. To reinstate services, you must meet with the Accommodations Specialist.
Some students registered with DSS receive priority registration. This means you may register for classes before the open registration period (typically on day two of the open priority registration period). Priority registration is based on credit hours obtained, therefore it is recommended to check your current status with the Records & Registration office prior to registration. Contact DSS if you wish to be approved for priority registration status.
When scheduling your courses, please consider the following guidelines:
- Meet with your academic advisor before your window opens.
- Research available course offerings in advance so you are prepared once the window opens.
- Consider your disability-related needs and issues when scheduling.
- Whenever possible, engage in proactive discussions with potential instructors regarding course requirements, policies, or other factors that may have an impact on your success in the course.
- The Accommodations Specialist is not an academic advisor, but can assist you in balancing your course load to better address your disability needs.
- Priority registration is only available for the fall and spring semesters.
Rock Valley College acknowledges that some students may require a Personal Care Attendant (PCA) while on campus. In order to bring a PCA to RVC, the student must register with Disability Support Services (DSS) prior to the PCA attending classes and the classes the PCA will attend each term must be identified.
The following are some important points of consideration regarding this service:
- RVC does not provide PCA services
- PCAs are hired, paid and employed by you, the student they are assisting
- PCAs are not classroom or lab assistants
- PCAs are required to abide by all RVC policies, including but not limited to, the Student Code of Conduct/Student Handbook
- PCAs are only permissible in the classroom or lab when the student being assisted is present
- PCAs may not be enrolled in the class they are working in and will not receive academic credit for the class
If you require a PCA, please contact the DSS office. You will be provided with a Personal Care Attendant Reference Guide which provides important information regarding utilizing a Personal Care Attendant on campus.
A memory (or study) aid allows a student to demonstrate knowledge of course material by helping prompt the student’s memory, not by providing the answer. A memory aid may be appropriate for some exams and not for others. Instructors have discretion over what a memory aid may include (ex. a study/memory aid may or may not contain acronyms, short phrases, pictures, schematic diagrams or mind maps, names, definitions, tables, charts or key terms and certain formulae). The process for requesting a memory aid is by contacting the DSS office.
Memory aid reminders:
- Students approved for a memory aid must renew this accommodation every semester by contacting the DSS office.
- The Accommodations Specialist will contact your instructors to provide information on the process and address any concerns.
- If your instructor is concerned about this accommodation lowing course standards, they should contact DSS to work through the reasonable accommodation dispute process.
- You should contact DSS regarding any questions or concerns regarding your memory aid.
- You are responsible for learning course materials, for discerning which materials may require cues or triggers, for developing the cues that will appear on the memory aid, and for sending the memory aid to your instructor(s) at least two business days before an exam.
- Your instructor will review your memory aid, and upon approval, send it to the Testing Center. You may not bring the approved memory aid with you to the exam.
What does a memory aid look like?
- Styles of memory aids may vary, but generally they are:
- Written or typed in 10 or 12 point font
- A large index card or up to one side of an 8.5x11 sheet of paper
- Memory aids should not:
- Be used to record all the facts, concepts or processes being tested
- Exceed one page (single sided)
- Include specific examples of how formulas are used
- Include “answer sheets’ or complete terms and definitions
- Include full course notes or all information from the course which is being evaluated
- Include open textbooks
- Serve as a substitute for studying – because a cue sheet will not help if a student has not studied the material
Assistive Technology (AT)
This includes various software programs (i.e. screen reading, voice recognition, magnification) and equipment (i.e. digital recorders, Livescribe pens, magnifiers).
Computers located throughout the RVC campus have various AT software programs installed for student use.
AMIS is a free, open-source software program that can be used to read DAISY books. The program is self-voicing, making it especially beneficial to those who are visually-impaired. AMIS includes options for navigation, enlarging the font, changing the colors, and adjusting the reading speed. How to use AMIS for reading DAISY files.
NVDA is a free screen reading software program that allows blind and visually impaired individuals to access and interact with the Windows operating system and many third party applications. NVDA provides support for many refreshable braille displays, allows for portability by use of a USB stick, and can be translated into more than 50 languages. How to use NVDA.
JAWS is a screen reading software program designed to allow blind and visually impaired users to read information on a computer screen either with text-to-speech output or via a refreshable Braille display. The DSS office has a limited number of licenses available – students should contact DSS for more information. How JAWS works.
ZoomText is a magnification and screen reading program tailored for low-vision users. The program enlarges and enhances everything on the computer screen and automatically reads documents, web pages, and email. A full range of magnification levels are available up to 36x. Additional features include color controls and size adjustments for the mouse cursors and pointers. The DSS office has a limited number of licenses available – students should contact DSS for more information.
The DSS office offers an equipment loaner program for students to check out AT devices free-of-charge. Some of the AT devices include digital recorders, iPads, Livescribe smart pens, portable electronic magnifiers, mobile text scanners, and much more.
- Contact DSS to schedule an appointment with the Assistive Technology (AT) Specialist.
- The AT Specialist will provide you with the appropriate AT and train you in its use.
- Sign a contract with DSS to check out the AT product(s) for the semester, which you
will return to DSS at the end of each semester.
Please contact Disability Support Services to report accessibility issues.Disability Support Services
Report an ADA Barrier
We encourage you to report any campus accessibility barriers you encounter.Report a Barrier