Special Populations Collaborative

Effective Practices for Students with Disabilities

Foothill College – Increasing Campus Awareness and Support

Gertrude Q. Gregorio, Dean Adaptive Learning Division

12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills, CA 94022

650-949-7104, GregorioGertrude@foothill.edu

Description: The practice is designed to create greater awareness of the needs of students with disabilities and provide support to instructors in how to best meet these needs. The Adaptive Learning Division of Foothill College is a comprehensive service for students experiencing physical, psychological, and learning disabilities. Among the services the division provides are alternative media including close-captioned videos for the hearing impaired and electronic texts for the blind, note takers, loaned personal listening systems, alternative test taking environments and equipment, and a shuttle service.

In order to ensure disabled students receive an optimal educational experience, staff has made a concerted effort to increase campus awareness. They want to be seen as a resource to faculty for serving students with disabilities. Instructors are encouraged to come to them for assistance. The division actively informs instructors of their services through division in-services, and a disability counselor attends faculty meetings. Because many students with disabilities take basic skills and lower level math courses, the division is trying to integrate their services with basic skills and partner with the math department to offer students assistance before they experience failure.

To reach out to the large number of adjunct faculty, the college web site contains information on their services. The division conducted an all district orientation on opening day that included an outside key note speaker and break-out sessions. The division was also instrumental in forming a section 508 Committee to review district purchasing with disabled students in mind.

The division has a very large community-based component. They work closely with the Department of Rehabilitation and provide classes in the community. The website provides information to the community at large, as do notices in campus publications. Further outreach to the community is accomplished by attending events for high school students and parents to inform them of services available on campus. The services are primarily funded through the DSPS (Disabled Students Programs and Services) categorical funding from the state.

Staff feel the primary key to success is to be seen as working in collaboration with the rest of the college, not imposing on them. Foothill was able to be more effective once they physically consolidated services and changed their name from "Special Education" to "Adaptive Learning."

Periodic review and prioritization of services also helps them to be more effective.