Special Populations Collaborative

Effective Practices for Students with Disabilities

Mission College – Disability Instructional Support Center

Carol Toppel, 408-855-5215

Target population: Students with disabilities

Goals: The goal is to support students with learning, physical, or mental disabilities to successfully enter campus life, its programs and activities. The program emphasizes growth and individual achievement. Reasonable accommodations are provided to minimize the effects of a disability and maximize potential for success.

Description: The DISC center is a program that supports the students with disabilities through a multitude of services including:

Priority registration,

Pre-registration advising,

Registration assistance

Note-takers, readers/scribes and tutors,

Test-taking arrangements,

Sign language interpreters, real-time captioners

Providing referrals to and acting as a liaison with faculty the campus, and community

Specialized Equipment to meet the needs of students who are physically disabled such as tape recorders. TV magnifiers, assistive listening devices, Screen Readers, Large Print Displays, Scan and Read Programs, Speech Recognition, Braille Translator/Embosser, Word Prediction with Speech, Adaptive Keyboard Access, and Mouse Alternatives.

Special Classes or workshops including learning strategies and self-advocacy

Staffing: The staffing at the DISC consists of a director, four faculty, two full-time and one half-time staff assistants.

Facilities, equipment, materials: The DISC computer activities are held in a classroom that has twenty-five computers. In order to maximize space, the computers have two hard-drives, one for the DISC students and one for mainstream students. The entire campus is set up with many adaptive capabilities so that students with disabilities can enroll in classes in all areas, and the faculty and staff can assist the students. The college maintains a complete library of adaptive technologies including: JAWS, Tactile Imager, and Kurzweil 1000 and 3000 to scan and read texts (this program is on all library computers).

Costs, funding source: The State funds the DISC based upon the number of students with disabilities and the definition of their disability or disabilities. Currently, the funding level is approximately $300,000 annually.

Outreach and marketing: Marketing of the program includes interaction with area high schools in an effort to increase the number of high school graduates who take part in postsecondary education or training. Additional marketing efforts include community outreach, working with college counselors and faculty, as well as insuring that all staff and faculty are familiar with the services offered.

Evidence of effectiveness: Student learning outcomes and concrete measures of effectiveness are being developed. Currently, the number of students who avail themselves of the services the DISC offers, as well as the retention of students who are learning or physically disabled, are looked at via the core indicator reports completed annually.

Suggestions for replication: The biggest barriers to success for a DISC program are adequate funding and adequate space. The most important items to focus on in developing a center are collaboration between the information technology and academic departments on campus, collaborating with campuses in the area, and with on- and off campus resources and constituencies