Student Accessibility Services
Student Accessibility Services (SAS) provide auxiliary aid services, equipment, reasonable accommodations and academic advisement to students who self-identify as a person with a documented disability.
Student Accessibility Services works with students and faculty to ensure reasonable accommodations are met campus-wide and coordinates with outside agencies to provide services and access resources for SAS students. SAS also works with area high schools to assist prospective high school graduates in applying to IRSC.
Advising services are provided for students with disabilities through the Main Campus SAS counselor and advisor, located in the Advising Department on the Main Campus in Fort Pierce (Crews Hall, W-Building).
Rights of Students with Disabilities
The rights of students with disabilities which pertain to post-secondary education are provided under Section 504 and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. These laws prohibit discrimination by institutions to "otherwise qualified" students with disabilities. This enables such students to have an equal opportunity to benefit from the education offered by those institutions.
Reasonable substitutions of requirements for admission to the College, admission into a program of study, upper-division entry, or for graduation, in addition to exemption of college preparatory and basic skills exit requirements (TABE), will be provided to eligible students with documented disabilities in accordance with Sections 1007.264 and 1007.265 Florida Statutes and Florida State Board Rules 6A-10.040 and 6A-10.041. Each request will be considered on an individual basis.
Transitioning from High School to College
It is important for college students to recognize that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are very different. Under IDEA, high school special education program procedures may apply primarily to a precise list of disabilities such as “specific learning disability.” In post-secondary institutions, accommodations must be made on a case-by-case basis according to a current functional impairment. In high school, students who use wheelchairs may be considered under a subpart of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and be referred to as their “504” students. However, Section 504 does not create a requirement for Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) in either high school or post-secondary institutions. Misunderstanding comes from the assumption that a “504 Plan” or an IEP developed at a high school will be binding on a college or university. At post-secondary institutions, IDEA no longer applies.
View the Student Accessibility Services Handbook for more information and a chart that compares and contrasts the roles of high schools and post-secondary institutions.
Students in colleges and universities are considered adults, with privacy and confidentiality protections. College staff cannot talk with parents or guardians about a student’s academic activities as was typical in K-12, unless the student has given written consent by signing a Release of Information form.
Special education services in high school are diagnosis driven (i.e., the students must be diagnosed as having one of eleven specified conditions). Eligibility for reasonable accommodations in post-secondary institutions is driven by severity of impact on a major life activity.
College students must structure and plan their own study time; colleges do not arrange study periods or provide for time to do homework during classes. Professors and classes may differ regarding attendance requirements, scheduling assignment due dates and exams. The student must study each professor’s syllabus for each class to determine the requirements and what will be expected.
- Self-identify or disclose the disability to the IRSC Student Accessibility Services, the designated office for disability services, if they want to receive accommodations.
- Obtain and provide documentation such as psycho-educational test results, or physician’s report. The documentation should verify the disability, describe the extent of the impairment, and provide information that supports the need for specific accommodations.
- Take specific action to request those accommodations for their disabilities.
- Act as independent adults; use appropriate self-advocacy strategies.
- Contact their instructors to activate accommodations for each class.
- Arrange for and obtain their own personal attendants, individual tutoring and specifically fitted or designed assistive technologies.
IRSC works with students and faculty to ensure reasonable accommodations are met campus-wide and coordinates with outside agencies to provide services and access resources for SAS students. However, post-secondary institutions are not required to:
- Provide specialized personal equipment (i.e., wheelchair, crutches, etc.).
- Substitute or waive any of the essential requirements of a course or program.
- Conduct testing and assessment of learning, psychological, or medical disabilities
- Provide personal attendants.
- Provide personal or private tutors (but tutoring services normally available to persons without disabilities must be accessible to persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified for those services).
- Prepare “Individual Education Plans” (IEPs).
- Provide transportation between home and college or around campus.
In order to provide reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities, Indian River State College asks for voluntary self-identification of students with a documented disability. This information is kept confidential and is used to provide equal access to all programs, courses and facilities at IRSC. To ensure that services are available on the first day of classes, the student must:
- Make contact with Student Accessibility Services (SAS).
- Complete the Student Accessibility Services Application and the Voter Registration Form.
- Submit required documentation and medical professional per diagnosis (within the past five years) on letterhead from a licensed or certified physician, psychologist, school psychologist, psychiatrist, audiologist or speech-language pathologist. This must include a diagnosis and reasonable assessment of the academic accommodations needed, based on the disability.
- When requested, a verification letter from a state agency (i.e., Division of Vocational Rehabilitation or Division of Blind Services), indicating whether or not the student is a client and whether or not the agency will be responsible in providing the student with services and/or equipment.
It is the student’s responsibility to discuss accommodations with the instructor to coordinate implementation. Accommodations are not retroactive, so it is very important to complete the process for accommodations as early as possible.
If a diagnosis worsens or symptoms become more severe, students may submit additional documentation supporting the need for added accommodations. SAS personnel may request additional documentation if the documentation does not meet minimum guidelines as outlined in the SAS application.
Confidentiality/Release of Information
As directed in state and federal laws and, in strict compliance with the Family and Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), all disability information is confidentially maintained. FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy of students’ educational records. Students have specific, protected rights regarding the release of such records. FERPA guidelines only provide for disclosure of disability information to faculty and staff on a need-to-know basis.
Disclosure of a student’s disability is the personal preference of the student. A student may elect to share information regarding his/her disability. If so, faculty and staff must remember to maintain confidentiality. All confidential information should only be discussed with the student in private. Further, this information should only be discussed with other College faculty and staff for educational purposes on a need-to-know basis. At no time should the class be informed that a student has a disability, and, when documenting concerns, staff and faculty should focus on the specific behavior, not the disability, and should refrain from diagnosing an individual.
Student Accessibility Services requests permission to inform instructors of the accommodations needed by students with disabilities. Students may also sign a release of information, giving a third party (i.e., parents, spouse, doctor, agency) permission to contact College personnel to discuss disability, accommodations, and educational progress. It is not required of college personnel to initiate contact with a third party. Students wanting a copy of their documentation on file in SAS will also be required to sign a release of information and provide a copy of a valid photo ID.
Services Available to Students with Disabilities
Indian River State College provides reasonable accommodations to students with documented disabilities through the Student Accessibility Services Office. Services available to eligible students may include note takers, testing accommodations, use of equipment and assistive technology, readers and scribes, sign language interpreters and alternative text. The Indian River State College Student Accessibility Services Student Handbook provides information about IRSC and the wide-range of programs, facilities, services, accommodations and equipment available to students with disabilities.
Faculty liaisons are available at each campus to assist students with documentation collection and completion of the application for accommodations. All documentation and applications are forwarded to Main Campus to be maintained. The Main Campus counselor and advisor will make contact with students via phone or email upon receipt of all forwarded paperwork. Faculty liaisons may be assigned as a student’s primary advisor upon student request.
The Student Accessibility Services (SAS) Office at Indian River State College is a state-designated voter registration agency that provides assistance to applicants with disabilities in completing voter registration application forms and accepts completed voter registration application forms for transmittal to the appropriate election official. A completed Voter Registration Preference Form may be mailed or delivered to the IRSC SAS Office. Applications may also be completed online through the Florida Department of State/Division of Elections.
Section 97.058 of Florida Statutes requires each voter registration agency to provide every applicant the opportunity to register to vote or to update a voter registration record at the time the applicant applies for services or assistance from that agency, for renewal of such services or assistance, or for a change of address required with respect to the services or assistance.
Community Agencies Providing Services for Students with Disabilities
The Treasure Coast Interagency Transition Counsel connects people with disabilities with resources and contact information specific to county offices. These resources include educational options, services for independent living, services for people on the autism spectrum, services for the deaf or hard of hearing, Social Security Administration, employment, vocational rehabilitation, medical resources, support groups, transportation, services for people with significant visual impairments or who are blind, and counseling services and behavioral and mental health services.
The Student Accessibility Services Office is located in Building W on Main Campus. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fall and Spring Semesters
Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., evenings by appointment only