Helping students with disabilities get the accommodations they need to succeed in college is the mission of disability services on campus, said Sarah French, assistant director.
She said she would like for students to have a better understanding of what her department does.
OCCC deals with a wide range of disabilities, such as learning disabilities, attention deficient disorder, autism, mental health issues, hearing issues, chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, kidney disease or brain injury, and students with physical or mobility issues, French said.
Before the college can help, French said, students need to visit her office and obtain an application. Once a student has filled out the application, they need to turn it in and schedule an appointment to discuss paperwork that is required. Once appropriate paperwork is turned in, accommodations can be made.
“I love working with everyone and helping people,” French said.
“But it is sometimes challenging to find ways for students with disabilities to have equal access to education.”
Some students have invisible disabilities, meaning they are not always noticeable just by looking at someone. These include brain injuries and autism spectrum disorders. These conditions can make it difficult for student to process information and to recall information when it is needed.
Some of these challenges are overcome by allowing extra time on tests, providing other forms of tests, and being able to take tests in a quieter, less distracting environment. All of these actions are taken in order to “level the playing field,” so everyone has an equal opportunity to be successful in learning.
She said OCCC is committed to compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
This prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities and guarantees equal access in a higher education setting.
Students who wish to seek accommodations must visit the Office of Student Services, located on the first floor of the Main building, near SEM entry 3. To make an appointment, call 405-682-7520 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students also may log on to occc.edu/support/disability for more information.
To contact Caysie Greenfield,