Paths to Freel Library and Bowman Hall

Disability Resources

START STRONG Academy - JOIN US on August 29 & 30, 2021 for a
2-Day College Success Academy that will introduce students with learning differences to college campus life while diving deeper into common transition challenges. Watch here for more details!

 

We are experiencing truly unique times. If you have questions about how the office is handling safety for COVID-19 please email us at Disabilityresources@mcla.edu

Helping build pathways to learning for students with disabilities.

MCLA is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to students with documented disabilities. We work to provide students with equitable access to all MCLA programs and services. Our philosophy and programs assist eligible students in fostering independence in college to the fullest extent possible, embracing self-advocacy, and in developing skills to transition and succeed in their careers. We believe that disability is a natural part of human variation and an essential aspect of diversity. 

The Office of Disability Resources, located in the Center for Student Success and Engagement, provides students with individualized support services based on the nature of the documented disability. A testing center, located on the garden level of Eldridge Hall proctors exams for students with approved testing accommodations. Disability Resources also provides one-on-one personalized training  on general technology and on assistive technology hardware/software.

Welcome!

How to begin Disability Support Services:

  1. Review the Office of Disability Resources webpage for information. A pre-admission visit to the college is highly recommended. 
  2. Complete the Registration form provided below.  Provide current and comprehensive documentation of your disability. Suggested documentation includes: High School IEP or 504, psychoeducational assessments, diagnostic documentation from qualified, licensed professional, medical doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist or clinical social worker. 
  3.  Schedule an intake meeting with a staff member in the Office of Disability Resources.  Through an interactive process  the student and Disability Resource staff will determine accommodations that are appropriate and reasonable. Together they will formulate an Accommodation plan that lists approved accommodations.
  4. Student presents a copy of their accommodation plan to their faculty each semester. Students are strongly encouraged to schedule a meeting  with their faculty to discuss their plans. 
  5. Student should keep a copy of all disability documents and a copy of their accommodation plan. It may be useful for graduate school or professional licensure.   
  6. Student is encouraged to stay in touch with the Office of Disability Resources. Our door is always open. 

Typical Accommodation

Based on documentation, reasonable accommodations might include:

  • Priority access registration

  • Alternative testing

  • Note takers or recording devices

  • Accessible instructional materials

  • Assistive technology

  • On-campus housing

Please note that these represent some accommodations provided to MCLA students.  Students' needs are reviewed on an individual basis and specific accommodations will reflect each individual student.

Success Coaching

Success coaches provide one-on-one support to students throughout their first year at MCLA.  Coaches help students navigate any obstacles that might impede their success including the challenges associated with the shift to online learning.  Coaches work with students to develop goals and provide academic tips for making the most out of their college experience. 

Success coaches are available via ZOOM.  If you would like to opt into the coaching program please email dpoulton@mcla.edu or call us at (413)662-5314. Don't forget to ask about the LASSI (Learning & Study Skill Assessment). 

Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology can be found in the Office of Disability Resources, top level of Eldridge Hall. Staff can assist with free technology for  download on PC or mobile device as well as access to loaner programs.

  • Kurzweil 3000-Firefly is an easy to use, text-to-speech and study aid program that enhances reading and writing skills. MCLA currently has a site-wide license making this powerful software available to all current student, faculty and staff. This program is available on computers in the Freel Library and in the computer labs on campus. 
  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking is a speech-to-text software that allows the user to dictate text and control the computer functions with their voice. With a software program such as this, typing isn't necessary and the user can do away with a keyboard. Dragon is even 3x faster than typing with a 99% accuracy rate!
  • NVDA (non-visual desktop access reader) is a fast, functional and free, open-source, portable screen reader for Microsoft Windows. NVDA can also convert the text into braille if the computer user owns a device called a “braille display”.  
  • Read/Write is a text-to-speech program that has specialized dictionaries and word prediction features that can assist in writing papers and organizing. The free version provides text to speech and dual highlighting (yellow & blue) for any text on any website! 
  • Livescribe Smart Pen  is a multi-functional self-contained ink-pen that records everything one hears, says and writes, while linking the audio recordings to one’s notes in a specially designed notebook exclusive to smart pen users. MCLA currently has a loaner program for these pens. 
  • Frequency Modulation (FM) Systems are wireless listening devices that amplify speech to make it clearer and minimize background noise. With an FM system, the instructor wears a clip-on wireless transmitter microphone. The mic transmits her voice directly to a student’s personal speaker or earpiece. MCLA currently has a loaner program for these systems. 

Both MAC and Windows operating systems have a number of  built-in accessibility programs such as voice dictation. These can be good alternatives to Kurzweil 3000 and Dragon and give students basic (and FREE) starter resources they can access anywhere.

Students should meet with the Assistive Technology staff to discuss which form of technology would be appropriate. Training and demonstrations are provided by appointment, after an accommodation plan is established.

Helpful Links and Resources for Parents and prospective students

Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities This publication from the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights is relevant to  any postsecondary student going to any college or university. Be familiar with the information in this booklet as you begin to look at colleges and universities for your student. 

Auxiliary Aids and Services for Postsecondary Students with Disabilities This booklet can give you more specific information about the types of assistance that are generally available to students with disabilities at the postsecondary level. 

make it mcla

Dear Prospective Student: The Office of Disability Resources understands that student's rights and responsibilities change considerably from high school to college. We want you to make a successful transition. We welcome prospective students with disabilities to schedule a meeting with us to discuss some very important transition items !

These include: 

  • What are the differences between IDEA nd ADAAA provisions?
  • When do I disclose my disability?
  • What type of documentation am I required to provide?
  • Will my IEP and individualized support carry over?
  • How do I request accomodations?

If you are interested in scheduling an early transition meeting with the Associate Director or Disability Resources, contact Cindy MacDonald at (413) 662-5314 or email Cindy.MacDonald@mcla.edu


 

Additional Resources

Disability Resource Handbook (Word)

Disability Resource Handbook (PDF)