The Center for Student Accessibility

The Center for Student Accessibility Menu


Room: L-237

Phone: 718-260-5143

Fax: 718-254-8539


Frequently asked questions

1. Are disability services in college different from the services provided to students when they are in high school ?

Yes. High school students are assessed by the school support services team yearly. The team determines what services and accommodations are required each year for high school students with disabilities who are protected by the IDEA state laws and federal ADA 504 laws. IDEA mandates that High Schools must ensure their students receive a free public education, have equal access to the educational setting and, receive appropriate accommodations to support their learning. Here's what's different when students are in college: the IDEA laws do not apply. College students are also not entitled to a free public education like they are in public high schools and, some of the accommodations students receive during high school do not apply while attending college. Colleges are mandated by ADA section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Although a student's disability can be recognized as such in college, some accommodations for a disability can be viewed as unreasonable, giving the student an unfair advantage or, cause undue burden. In college, students with special needs are required to report their needs to the disability services office, to self identify and provide recent documentation in order to receive appropriate accommodations and academic supports.

When can a student be referred to disability services?

Student referrals are accepted throughout the academic year. Referrals should include the student's first and last name with the student's telephone contact number. However, depending on the status of the student, the referral process will be different. If a student has self- disclosed about having special needs due to a temporary or permanent disability and, is a continuing student at the college, as long as the student is already registered for courses, s/he can be referred by either, their City Tech counselor, instructor, faculty or, college staff member. Continuing students can also make their own inquiry in person and learn how to complete registration.

Transfer students can be referred by either, their disability services coordinator or college counselor. One major part of the referral for the transfer student includes the student signing a consent form giving the college the student is leaving permission to release disability documentation to City Tech's disability office.

When a student becomes a senior in high school and is ready to graduate and, go to college within the year of graduation, a referral could be made. A referral from high school could be made at least 6 months to a year before the student is ready to apply to college. The 6-12 month period prior to graduation, is also a good time period to inquire about the type of disability services students in college the student is eligible to receive and, what necessary steps the student needs to take to register at the disability services office. This type of information can be provided to the school personnel making a student referral to the office. A guidance counselor or other qualified school personnel should contact the disability services office with the student's acknowledgement and permission. Contact with the disability office can be made using email or telephone.

3. Is a telephone contact referral or referral through email or, in person for disability services all that is required to complete a referral?

Yes. There is no official form required in order to make a referral to disability services for either high school students or, students already attending college.

4. Is a consent form necessary when referring students to disability services?

No. A consent form is only necessary when a referral includes sending documentation to the disability office from another educational institution. At the high school level, if a student's parent consents to sending documentation while the high school is referring the student and, s/he is under the age of 18, no student consent form is required by the school. However, after the student becomes 18 years old, s/he should provide verbal and written consent to the individual making the referral and, for the release of his or her disability documentation to the office. Disability information is confidential documentation describing one's disability, auxiliary services and accommodation needs therefore, students over 18 years should sign a consent form provided by the high school guidance counselor or, by a college counselor if the student is transferring from another college and will need assistance and accommodation services.

5.Can a referring counselor, instructor or parent/guardian accompany a student to disability services for an intake assessment ?

Yes. If the student requests s/he be escorted to the disability services office by an individual the student has disclosed disability information to. Some students will need the person they confide in to support them and possibly be an advocate. It is recommended that the individual or confidant supports the student in this respect and come with the student to the disability services office. It is important to note that the confidential nature of the services provided to students with disabilities, require students to provide written permission for parents/guardians to receive disability information or other confidential academic or financial information pertaining to the college student. Students who want their escorts/parent or legal guardian to be allowed to partake in the intake session or to receive other confidential information kept in the office, must first sign a F.E.R.P.A. form in Student Enrollment and Affairs for this purpose. Once a student and parent/guardian both sign the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act form the disability services office could then allow a parent or guardian to be present during the student's initial intake and assessment.

6. What if it's determined that a student doesn't qualify for accommodation services?

Students who provide documentation to report a medical condition, learning difference or a type of limitation do not always require accommodations at the time s/he self-discloses to the office. Depending on a student's documented disability and the students' requests for academic supports or services for classroom learning or, accommodations for test taking, the services requested should be relevant to one's disabling condition and, be included in the documentation that the student provides. Supportive accommodation information from the student's medical examiner or evaluator familiar with the student's disability or medical condition should explain their recommendations for accommodation services for the primary disability or multiple disabilities. Without accommodation information, the student could be registered with disability office based on the documentation. Students registered with the office but, not currently qualified to receive specific accommodations from the office, are eligible to participate in the program's activities and considered for future services requested from a medical professional.

7. What if a student suddenly becomes ill after registering for the program?

At any time during the semester, the disability office can advocate on the student's behalf if s/he is registered for classes. However, if a student says s/he is ill, the student has to provide written proof of such illness. For example, a student who develops an ailment or symptoms related to a self reported disability should first seek the advice of a medical professional. Obtain a written doctor's note giving the student permission to return to school. A student should clearly understand the doctor's diagnosis, necessary treatment and, the nature of the illness. The student must also be aware of how the illness could affect school attendance and coursework requirements. In a situation when attendance becomes an issue for an ailing student, the student should inform instructors. The student should find out if the instructor will allow make ups for missed assignments. A student informed by a physician or specialist of a required hospitalization or long term treatment, must immediately inform instructors and the disability office. The student could request current documentation from the doctor or treating facility and, forward the paperwork to the disability services office. Sudden hospitalizations or long term treatment requires the student to provide updated documentation for disability office records. Documentation regarding the incident should include hospitalization dates, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. Often, if a student is hospitalized, the circumstances requires the disability office to step in as an advocate for the student and inform instructors of the onset of the illness and how it will affect the student's attendance and coursework.

8. How often should students meet with a disability services advisor or career counselor?

It is recommended that students registered with the disability office meet with the academic advisor at least two times during the fall and two times during the spring semesters. Student Support students should also have at least two meetings per academic year with the office's career counselor. Students who meet with the program's academic advisor or career counselor should decide what goals they want to set and what skills they need to develop in order to achieve a college education, a college degree and to find a career path that will lead to a desired occupation. Students in disability services could also seek some advice or, request a referral from the disability office, for counseling when feeling overwhelmed with issues that are personal, financial, academic and or social in nature.