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Services and Accommodations

1. Alternate Media
2. Alternate Testing
3. Assessment for Learning Disability Eligibility
4. Interpreting/Real-Time Captioner Services
5. Note-taking Services
6. Service Animals
7. Table/Chair in Classroom
8. Tram Services
9. Tutoring Services
10. Video Captioning

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1. Alternate Media

DSP provides alternate media for class handouts, quizzes, tests, textbooks, and videotapes for students with verified disabilities including vision impairments, dyslexia, deafness, and some other disabilities. The Alternate Media Specialist works with faculty members to make sure students with disabilities receive their course materials in alternate media at the same time their classmates receive traditional print handouts.

Students complete the Alternate Media Request Form to request course books and/or materials in an alternate format (i.e. audio, large print, Braille, electronic text). The form may also be filled out and submitted over the Internet using the online form.

Enlarged text or Braille printed materials
Textbook to MP3 format or other e-text
Universal Kurzweil Reading Program software

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2. Alternative Testing

DSP provides alternative testing for students with verified disabilities. The student obtains an Alternative Testing Form from the DSP office, fills it out, asks the instructor to sign it, and returns the form 1 week before a test or 2 weeks before a final. Alternative testing may be used to allow the student extra time, to provide a quieter environment, to allow a blind student to use a computer or a reader/scribe, or for other appropriate accommodations.

Alternative Testing Request Form

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3. Assessment for Learning Disability Eligibility

Merritt College has an open admissions policy for those students who meet the regular entrance requirements and who have completed testing and evaluation by a Learning Disabilities Specialist, other qualified professional, or agency. It is recommended that students be enrolled in 6 units (at least one academic course) to participate in the program. Our Program is specifically designed to meet the needs of community college students who do not have a 4-year degree. Learning Disabilities Eligibility at the community college does not guarantee eligibility at other institutions or agencies.

Merritt College subscribes to the psychometric-evaluation model established by the California Community College System. The six-step process includes:

1. Intake Screening
2. Measured Achievement
3. Ability Level
4. Processing Deficit(s)
5. Aptitude-Achievement Discrepancy(ies)
6. Eligibility Recommendation

Interested students are evaluated individually through our “Metacognitive Learning I” course (LRNRE 297A) or outside assessment is reviewed for L.D. eligibility. Services and accommodations are based on individual testing results/documentation.

If you suspect that a student may have a learning disability, please refer the student to our Disability Services Program to meet with one of our DSP Counselors. [See Contact Us]

If students suspect that they may have a learning disability, please see one of our Counselors as soon as possible to discuss options. [See Contact Us]

Learning Disabilities Referral Form

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4. Interpreting/Real-Time Captioning Services

DSP provides sign language interpreters for students who are deaf, hard-of-hearing or whose speech or auditory processing deficits necessitate this service. This service includes, but may not be limited to: classroom lectures/labs, student orientation meetings, tutoring sessions, counseling appointments, meetings with instructors, or other academic related activity.

To arrange for an interpreter for a course, please contact DSP:

• DSP Student Services Building, R-109 (510) 436-2429

To arrange an interpreter for an academic appointment

• Download the Interpreter Request Form.
• Fill it out.
• Deliver to DSP.


Interpreter/Real-time Captioner Request Form

• Follow the Interpreter Request Procedure
• Student Responsibilities
• Interpreter Responsibilities
• Interpreter Code of Ethics
• Information on Interpreting for Instructors
• Teaching Students with communication disabilities
• Instructor Guidelines for Choosing a Note-taker

Student Responsibilities

1. It is the responsibility of the hearing-impaired student to notify DSP 24 hours in advance when:
• Student plans to miss class
• Room, day, or time of class is changed
• Class is cancelled
• Student is dropping class.
NOTE: Student must call immediately so interpreter may be notified in a timely manner.

2. If student misses a class without canceling services in advance, the student must contact DSP Coordinator or DSP Staff Assistant immediately to let them know when s/he will be returning to class.
3. If student misses a class three (3) times without sufficient notice, service will immediately be cancelled. In order to resume service, student must meet with the DSP Coordinator.
4. If interpreter does not show up for class, student must wait five (5) minutes, then contact DSP Coordinator or DSP Staff Assistant for a replacement interpreter, if one is available.
5. In order to receive interpreting service for other academic related activities or for finals, student must submit a special request form to the DSP Coordinator or DSP Staff Assistant at least two (2) weeks in advance.
6. Student should notify the DSP Coordinator or NCC DSP Staff Assistant immediately if there is a problem with the interpreting services provided. The DSP Coordinator will observe and/or make any necessary changes warranted.

Failure to comply with the above procedures may result in suspension of sign language interpreting services. Suspension of future interpreting services will be determined following a review by the DSP Coordinator or Learning Disabilities Specialist (when appropriate).

If interpreting services are suspended and student wishes to appeal the decision, the student should meet with the Vice President of Student Services. The student may also file a complaint with the District 504/ADA Officer.

Interpreter Responsibility:

Interpreters or Real-Time Captioners will abide by the Code of Ethics as outline by the National Registry Of Interpreters for the Deaf.
[See RID]

On the first day of services, the interpreters will introduce themselves to the instructor and secure a chair in the front of the classroom. If the student has not arrived, the interpreter will wait outside the classroom for the student. This is to minimize disruption once the class has started. If the interpreter knows the student is coming late, they may wait inside the classroom ready to interpret when the student arrives.

The interpreter will wait five (5) minutes for each half-hour of class time. If the student does not arrive in the allotted time, the interpreter will leave and notify the DSP Coordinator or the DSP Staff Assistant.

If the class content or student’s communication style is beyond the scope of the interpreter’s abilities, the DSP Coordinator or DSP Staff Program Assistant must be notified. The interpreter will either be given support from a senior interpreter or reassigned to a class that is within his/her scope or be terminated.

Any problems that cannot be handled by the interpreter within the guidelines of the Code of Ethics must be reported to the DSP Coordinator or DSP Staff Assistant as soon as possible.

American Sign Language Interpreting Ethics: Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Code of Ethics:

The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. has set forth the following principles of ethical behavior to protect and guide interpreters and transliterators and hearing and deaf consumers. Underlying these principles is the desire to insure for all the right to communicate.

This Code of Ethics applies to all members of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. and to all certified non-members.
• Interpreters/transliterators shall keep all assignment-related information strictly confidential.
• Interpreters/transliterators shall render the message faithfully, always conveying the content and spirit of the speaker using language most readily understood by the person(s) whom they serve.
• Interpreters/transliterators shall not counsel, advise or interject personal opinions.
• Interpreters/transliterators shall accept assignments using discretion with regard to skill, setting, and the consumers involved.
• Interpreters/transliterators shall request compensation for services in a professional and judicious manner.
• Interpreters/transliterators shall function in a manner appropriate to the situation.
• Interpreters/transliterators shall strive to further knowledge and skills through participation in work-shops, professional meetings, interaction with professional colleagues, and reading of current literature in the field.
• Interpreters/transliterators, by virtue of membership or certification by the RID, Inc., shall strive to maintain high professional standards in compliance with the Code of Ethics.
@ Copyright 1997 the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. All rights reserved.

Information for faculty:

A sign-language interpreter will accompany the student to class. Below are some guidelines for working with deaf or hard-of-hearing students. (N.B. The term “signer” and interpreter are not interchangeable. Interpreters are professionals with certification.)

When talking with the student, look directly at him or her, and speak as you would to a hearing person. Remember that while the interpreter’s hands are moving, your message is still in transit. If you need to communicate directly with the interpreter, he or she will interpret your conversation into sign language for the student.

The interpreter will make sure the positioning of the student is relative to you and to any videotape, film, or overhead projection you are showing. Please try to avoid having windows or any other strong light source directly behind you. Clear line of sight and sufficient light for the student and interpreter to see one another is essential at all times.

Because the student will need to watch the interpreter when you or anyone else is speaking, it will be necessary to select a note-taker. Your help in doing this will be very much appreciated. Please take a moment to review the section, Instructor Guidelines for Choosing a Note-taker.

Useful Links
• Sign Language Interpreting Homepage
• Teaching Students with communication disabilities

Communication Disability
More individuals in the United States have a hearing impairment than any other type of physical disability. A hearing impairment is any type of auditory impairment while deafness is an inability to use hearing as a means of communication. Hearing loss is measured in decibels and may be mild, moderate, or profound. A person who is born with a hearing loss may have language deficiencies and exhibit poor vocabulary and syntax. Title V lists Hearing Impairments under the heading Communication Disability.
• Hearing Impairment A generic term used to describe all types of hearing defects, ranging from a minute loss to profound deafness
• Hard of Hearing A specific condition in which hearing is defective to varying degrees; usually a hearing aid can enhance the understanding of speech.
• Deaf or Deafness An inability to use hearing as a means of communication; hearing aids can enhance awareness of vibrations such as horns or sirens, but not speech.

Lighting is very important when communicating with a deaf or hard of hearing person. Do not stand in front of a window or bright light when talking. Try to talk where there is adequate, well distributed light. Be sure to face them when talking. Speak slowly and do not over exaggerate your lip movements. Keep your hands away from your face. Facial activities such as cigarette smoking, vigorous gum chewing, or biting your lips prevent clear communication. Using facial expressions, gestures, and other “body language” is helpful in conveying your message. Be aware that individuals who can hear make the best lip readers, (also call “speech readers”). Of individuals who had extensive training in lip reading, hard-of-hearing students can understand up to 50 percent of speech, and deaf students can understand only up to 25 percent. It takes a great deal of concentration to lip read.

If you see a student with a hearing aid, this does not mean that the student can understand verbal language. The student may require an alternative form of communication, (i.e., an interpreter, note taker, or use of other hearing aid devices.) When using an interpreter to communicate with a student, address the student directly saying “How are you today?” Many students who are hard-of-hearing do not hear tone of voice, therefore, some expressions, such as sarcastic statements, might be misleading if taken literally. Try to avoid giving misleading information this way. Also, try to avoid using idioms or colloquial expressions.

A student who is deaf or hard-of-hearing depends on visual cues to supplement what he or she does not hear. Seating is an important consideration. The student will need to be near the front so that his or her view is not obstructed. If a student has a unilateral hearing loss, he or she should be seated so that maximum use of the good ear is permitted.

Because of a time lag between the spoken word and the interpretation, the student’s contribution to the lecture or discussion may be slightly delayed. Students may have some speech and/or language impairments. Although this does not affect a student’s ability to learn new information, some difficulty in the acquisition of new vocabulary may lead to reluctance to participate in class. Assumptions should not automatically be made about the student’s ability to participate in certain types of classes. For example, students may be able to learn a great deal about music styles, techniques, and rhythms by observing a visual display of the music on an oscilloscope or similar apparatus or by feeling the vibrations of music.

Most students will be able to take tests and evaluations in the same way as other students. Some may need additional time in order to gain a full understanding of the test questions. It has been found that if the test is written, some students do better if an interpreter reads and translates the questions to the student in sign language. However, many other students prefer to read tests themselves. If the method of evaluation is oral, the interpreter can serve as the reverse interpreter for the student. Avoid oral administrated exams requiring written answers.

The primary form of communication with the deaf community is sign language. In view of this, many persons who are deaf or have profound hearing loss since birth or an early age have not mastered the grammatical subtleties of their “second language” English. This does not mean that instructors should overlook errors in written (or spoken) work. However, they should know that this difficulty with English is not related to intelligence but is similar to that experienced by students whose native language is other than English.

Some students will attend classes with a sign language interpreter. The interpreters will usually situate themselves in front of the class to interpret lectures and discussions. Interpretation will be easiest in lecture classes and more difficult in seminar or discussion classes. Because class formats are so varied, it is recommended that the professor, interpreter, and student arrange a conference early in the course to discuss any special arrangements that may be needed. Please be aware of the difficulties the student may have trying to watch a film and the interpreter at the same time. An interpreter’s proficiency level decreases after 20 minutes. You can help make sure that the student is receiving clear and concise transmission by allowing breaks for any class over 50 minutes.
If you need to communicate directly with the interpreter, he or she will interpret your conversation into sign language for the student.

Note Takers:
Because the student will need to watch the interpreter when you or anyone else is speaking, it will be necessary to select a note taker. Your help in doing this will be very much appreciated. Please take a moment to review the Instructor Guidelines for Choosing a Note taker.

Possible Accommodations:
• Alternative testing (extended time, reader, scribe, distraction reduced setting, and/or computer)
• Note-taking assistance
• Academic support
• Interpreter?Real-Timer Cpationer

Instructor Guidelines for Choosing a Note-taker:

Occasionally an instructor is asked to assist in locating a competent student volunteer to serve as a note-taker for a student with a disability. The following guidelines for instructors are suggested to minimize the time involved and to assist in selecting skilled note-takers.

If you have any questions or if a note-taker is not available, please contact DSP office.

1. After a DSP Counselor has authorized a note-taking assistant, the DSP Staff Assistant will contact you and identify the student that needs a note-taker.
2. Please announce, without mentioning the student’s name, that a volunteer is needed to take notes for another student. Please be discreet as identifying a disabled student during class may be embarrassing to that student. Try to identify students who are organized, write legibly, and are skilled note-takers. Also, when making the announcement, stress the importance of taking good notes.
3. After announcing the need for a note-taker, ask potential note-takers and the DSP student to meet with you briefly after class so you can introduce the two students to each other. The students will make their own arrangements for sharing notes. Both student and note-taker need to immediately contact DSP Staff Assistant.
If needed, DSP will help train the note-takers. A copy machine is available in the DSP office to duplicate notes (free of charge). DSP strives to make this process as simple as possible for the instructor, student, and note-taker.

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5. Note-taking Services:

DSP works with instructors to find student volunteers, who provide copies of course notes.

Policy Regarding the Approval of Note-taking Services

1. Note-taking services will only be provided to those students whose disability clearly warrants the need for such service.

2. Eligible students MUST attend class regularly.

3. Students requiring a note-taker should follow the steps below:

a. Ask a fellow student if they might be interested in providing this service to you.
b. Provide the instructor with this letter and ask them to make an announcement (a suggested script is on the reverse side).
c. If a note-taker is not found, contact the DSP Staff Assistant in R-109 or phone (510) 436-2429 and explain this.
d. A DSP staff person will personally attend class to recruit a note-taker.

Instructor Directions for Note-takers:

A student in this class has been approved for note-taking services.
This is a confidential matter. Please do not make reference to the specific student requesting this assistance.

At your earliest convenience, we would appreciate you making the following announcement:

“Currently, Merritt College serves approximately 600 students with disabilities. One of your peers requires note-taking services to succeed in this class. As an incentive, you will be paid $25 per unit per semester. Thus, for a 3-unit class you could earn $75 just for sharing the notes you are already taking. You can also choose to volunteer your services to assist your college community. At the semester’s end, Merritt College’s Disability Services and Programs (DSP) will provide you with a letter showing proof and appreciation of your service which can be used to document your work experience on your resume or service on your future 4-year university or scholarship application. If you are interested in being a note-taker, please see me after class so I might review the accuracy of your notes.”
Please check the prospective note taker’s notes for thoroughness and legibility.
If you feel they might be a good candidate please direct them to DSP in R-109.

Thank you for your time and assistance with our students.
DSP Counseling Staff


Request for Note-Taking Services Form

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6. Service Animals

Service animals must be approved by the Vice President of Student Services and the Disability Services Program Coordinator before the service animal will be permitted on campus.

Contact the DSP Coordinator to make appropriate arrangements. Ron Nelson

[See Peralta Community College District AP-3440]


Service Animal Request Form

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7. Table/Chair in Classroom:

Tables and chairs may be placed and reserved for students with disabilities in specific classrooms throughout the semester. They are usually placed near the front of the classroom.

Make an appointment to meet with your DSP Counselor to make these arrangements. DSP Office 510-436-2429

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8. Tram Services:

Students with mobility needs may make arrangements with their DSP Counselor and the DSP Staff Assistant to be picked up and dropped off at classes. Hours of service may vary each semester.

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9. Tutoring Services:

Specialized tutoring services are not offered by DSP because they are offered at the Learning Center in D-187. Students are encouraged to enroll in the Tutoring course LRNRE 501 each semester for these services. There is no fee for this course. Tutors are available for math, English, Child Development and many other areas of study. It is best to seek services early in the semester.

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10. Video Captioning:

Captioning is now required for all videos. If you have a video (VHS or DVD) that does not have open-captioning, please contact the Alternate Media Specialist to make arrangements. This process takes time.


Captioning Request

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