What if a student approaches me requesting an accommodation but I have not received notification from the Office of Specialized Services?
You are under no obligation to provide an accommodation for a student who has not identified herself/himself and provided acceptable documentation through appropriate channels.
Please refer the student to the Office of Specialized Services
What is my role in accommodating a student?
You are responsible for providing the recommended accommodations as described on the accommodation form issued by the OSS to ensure equal access to the classroom information and course content while still holding the students with disabilities to the same academic standard as other students.
How can I determine if a particular accommodation is appropriate for my class?
It is the responsibility of the Office of Specialized Services (OSS) to determine appropriate accommodations in accordance with the student’s documented disability.
The OSS staff welcome any consultation if you have questions/concerns about accommodations and how to implement them.
What is assistive technology and what type of student might benefit from it?
Assistive technology is “any item, piece of equipment, or system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is commonly used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.”(Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards (Section 508), 1194.4 Definitions.)
Students with hearing loss might need the use of assistive listening devices, FM system, or videophone (VP);
Students with limited hand function may need a keyboard with large keys or a trackball mouse to operate a computer
Students in wheelchairs might need the use of an accessible workstation
Students with low vision may access the content of a computer thanks to software that reads text on the screen in a computer-generated voice or they may need to use screen magnifiers to enlarge the content.
Students with speech impairments may use a device that speaks out loud as they enter text via a keyboard.
Why do students with disabilities often need testing accommodations?
Testing accommodations, such as extended time, large print format, use of computer to type the exam, use of a magnifier, CCTV to complete the exam, etc. are intended to remove barriers that a test might present to the student with disabilities.
Those accommodations are designed to give the student equal access to the assessment tools used by the professors. They are not intended to alter the content of the exam nor what a student is required to demonstrate on the test or exam.
Why am I not permitted to see a student’s disability documentation?
A student’s right to privacy and confidentiality regarding information about his/her disability is protected under the Americans With Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
The student’s confidential information can only be shared if the student gives written permission – in the form of a signed release of information.
All students, however, are encouraged to share the information regarding their disability with faculty members.
Can I tell other faculty members about a student and look to them for suggestions?
We strongly encourage the sharing of general strategies and techniques which might help students with disabilities while also benefiting the entire class (Universal Design for Learning) amongst colleagues.
However, specific information about a student’s disability is confidential and cannot be shared without a student’s written permission.
General information about disabilities, relevant academic adjustments, and classroom strategies can be shared, and issues can be discussed provided the student’s anonymity is absolutely protected.
Otherwise, it is recommended to refer to the Office of Specialized Services for assistance.
How can I learn more about disabilities in general or particular disabilities?
The Office of Specialized Services welcomes the opportunity to offer workshops on general or specific disabilities, classroom strategies, accommodations to faculty and staff. Feel free to contact the Office of Specialized Services to arrange such a presentation.
The Office of Specialized Services also provides valuable resources on disabilities and accommodations on our web page
Is it fair to provide testing accommodations to some students but not to others?
Some states, such as Colorado, Kansas, and Rhode Island, have decided to extend availability of most accommodations to all students, not just those with disabilities. In complying with accommodations recommendations, you are providing equal access to classroom information and tests to all students, thus, ensuring that the test is not just measuring the effects of disability, but the student’s skills. This is called “Universal Design”.
Do I have to write a different exam for a student with disability who will take the exam at different time from the rest of the class?
The choice is left to the professor. If the exam is given close to the time the rest of the class is taking the exam, there may be no need to give a different exam.
When we provide these accommodations, are we preparing students with disabilities for the real world where they have to meet the deadlines and write reports in hurry?
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers are required to make the workplace accessible and provide accommodations. All public and private businesses must comply with ADA and provide reasonable accommodations. These accommodations are pertinent to all kinds of certifying and licensing examinations, including employment entrance tests, promotion exams, etc.
Are students required to provide copies of disability documentation or identify their disability to faculty or staff?
It is the student’s decision to discuss disability information with a faculty member. Student disability documentation is treated as privileged information and kept confidential in the Office of Specialized Services; they should not be asked to provide copies of their disability documentation to staff and faculty.
What can I do if I suspect that a student in my class might have a disability?
You have encouraged student awareness if you have provided information about the existence and location of the Office of Specialized Services on your syllabus. Otherwise, please privately talk to the student about your concern regarding his or her performance; the best time for you to address this issue is either before or after class, or preferably during your office hours. Only the student can decide to disclose his/her disability or decide to pursue information about available accommodations.
What do I do about a student with a disability who is threatening, misbehaving or rude?
All Bergen Community College (BCC)’s students are expected to abide by the College Code of conduct. Misbehavior, threats, etc. are not excused on the basis of disability. You will find BCC’s policies and procedures relating to student’s behavior in the Student Handbook and the College Catalog. It is advised you follow regular procedure for disruptive behavior, including contacting the Department of Public Safety when needed.
I am an employee of Bergen Community College. Can you assist me with getting accommodations from my department?
The Office of Specialized Services provides accommodations to students deemed eligible based on the content of submitted disability documentations. The staff and faculty members are encouraged to contact their respective department for accommodations. The departments are welcome to seek advice relating to reasonable accommodations from the Office of Specialized Services. Any compliance matter should be addressed to the Manager of Training and Compliance, Office of the Executive Vice President, Room A-330, telephone: (201) 612-5331, who has been designated to coordinate section 504/ADA compliance efforts.
If the college does not offer special classes, are there some programs available for students who do not want to sign up for degree programs or who did not complete a formal high school education?
The Philip Ciarco Learning Center is one of the Bergen Community Colleges center that offer non-credit programs. This center provides educational and counseling services for adults who have not completed a formal high school education and for adults who are interested in training such as English a Second Language, Math for the GED… For more information, refer to the Philip Ciarco Learning Centers Web page.
Another option is the Division of Continuing Education. It is a pathway to lifelong learning; it offers many programs in Computers, Construction, Fashion and Interior Design, Insurance & Finance, and Children’s programs For more details, you can view the Continuing Educationweb site
As it is necessary to arrange school transportation much in advance, arefuture tour/ information session dates currently listed?
Please view the OSS Events Calendar to view current and future events or the Workshops and Orientations page for information sessions. Students will receive a letter (a pink letter) as to which information session to attend, with plenty of time to arrange transportation.
In reference to the disability eligibility documentation, does the process begin when the student submits the enclosed postcard to the Admissions Office/Office of Specialized Services?
The process really begins when the student submits the disability-related documentation to the Office of Specialized Services. Feel free to refer here for documentation guidelines
Does the documentation, such as Individual Education Plan (IEP), come directly from the school districts child study team (CST)?
It can, but it is preferred that the student requests it from the Child Study Team and submit it to the Office of Specialized Services (OSS) themselves. Please be advised that the copies of disability-related documentation, including IEP’s, 504 plans may be submitted by mail or dropped off at the aforementioned office. IEP and 504plans are for informational purposes only and are not used to substantiate the need for accommodations. The office does not accept faxed copies.
For more information on acceptable documentation refer here.
Who requests documentation from the school district: Students? Office of Specialized Services?
Students should request documentation from the school system then submit them to the Office of Specialized Services. If more documentation is required, OSS will send a letter to the student requesting the additional information.
What are my roles, rights, and responsibilities now that my child is in college?
Be supportive regarding your child’s successes and failures. Encourage and practice advocacy and decision making skills with your child. Encourage your child to initiate their own appointments and communications with the Office of Specialized Services staff, instructors, and other college personnel. Remain connected through quality communication with your child in order to stay informed regarding their progress in college.
Will the IEP my child used in high school apply to the college setting?
The Individual Education Plan (IEP) ends when the student completes high school. Some of the accommodations listed in the IEP may apply at the college setting under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and/or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This will depend on how the information in the IEP meets the college documentation guidelines.
My daughter/son has a one-to-one aide at high school. Will the college supply an aide?
The college does not provide personnel assistant care. We encourage your son/daughter to contact local agencies or communities such as Bergen County Division on Disabilities, Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), and Bergen County Vocational Rehabilitation Service… for assistance. Their representatives will explain the personal care assistant program to your child.
My child uses a wheelchair. Does the college provide transportation?
The college does not provide transportation services. Your child, like any BCC student, has access to public transportation or may qualify for New Jersey Transit Access Link services. If students with disabilities choose to drive themselves to school and their vehicles have “Handicapped Stickers”, they may park in reserved college parking areas. Guidelines for medical parkingare available HERE
Will I be notified of my child’s academic progress?
All students have access to their academic information by way of their Web Advisor account. Your child is the best resource for any information pertinent to their academic status.
May I speak to any of the school personnel regarding my child?
Your child is now responsible to advocate for him or herself.
Is the college nurse made aware of the medications my child takes? Will he/she administer them?
It is very important that your child submits the most updated medical records to the college Health Services Office staffed by Registered Nurses. It is the students’ responsibility, however, to administer their medications.
Feel free to direct any question regarding the first aid, emergency care, health information, and heath counseling for students to the Health Services Office located in room HS100, Pitkin Education Center.
Additional information is available at the Health Services Website
I have a personal advocate for my child. May this person be hired at the college level?
The college has adopted an internal grievance procedure providing for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action prohibited by federal regulations implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Complaints should be addressed to the Manager of Training and Compliance, who has been designated to coordinate Section 504/ADA compliance efforts.
For further details, please click HERE
Will the transfer services be available for my disabled child in assisting with the transfer process to a four year college?
Through the College Counseling Office, students can meet with transfer counselors to discuss their transfer needs. That office also hosts a Transfer Fair each semester where students can meet and speak with transfer counselors from various colleges and universities. Students are encouraged to attend these events.
Will the same accommodations given at the two year college apply at the four year?
Will the college send the appropriate paperwork to the transfer college? Every college has a disability support services office that assists students with the accommodation process. Policies and procedures may vary from institution to institution. It is the student’s responsibility to provide copies of their disability documentation to the transfer college.
What should my child do if they are having academic difficulties?
Students can go to the Cerullo Learning Assistance Center, located in room L-125, Pitkin Education Center for help. Professional and peer tutors are available to provide free assistance in a variety of subjects.
Additionally, the Academic Advising Center, located in Room A-101, Pitkin Education Center, and the Counseling Center, located in room A-118, Pitkin Education Center; offer a wide variety of services, including helping students acquire the tools necessary for student success for all Bergen Community College students.
Will the college assist my disabled child in finding a job after college?
The Career and Transfer Services Center, located in Room A-123, Pitkin Education Center, has a variety of programs that assist students enrolled at the College to get internships, community services, part-time or full-time jobs.
The college through this center coordinates workforce events to campus (i.e. job fair, etc.) where students can go and seek any advice for work-related problems.
What is a “current documentation” of disability?
We accept one or more of the following types of documentation:
- Medical Documentation: Should indicate your disability, how it impacts your ability to function in college and what academic accommodations are recommended.
- Audiogram (for Deaf or ard of hearing students).
- Snellen Chart (for visually impaired or blind students).
- A letter from your Psychiatrist and Counselor/Therapist. This letter should include:
- Mental Health Professional’s contact information
- DSM-4 Diagnosis
- Brief description of how major life functions may be impacted
- Recommended accommodations in college such as, extended time, preferential seating, notetaking etc.
- Information regarding medications
- A statement that indicates the individual is not a danger to self or others.
Other documentation that may be accepted includes information provided by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), the Division for Developmental Disabilities (DDD) or the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
What are Accommodations?
Accommodations are services that are individually based on each student’s disability and functional limitations. You must come to our office to obtain services, even if taking on-line classes.
Services are not put in place automatically like they are in high school. Accommodations may include use of a tape recorder, interpreters, notetakers, tutors or extra time for tests.
Adaptive equipment is available in the library and in L-116. Please plan early or the individual service you require may not be available.
What services are not provided?
Colleges do not provide segregated Special Education. Students with disabilities must meet the same academic standards.
Appropriate behavior is also expected. The presence of a disability does not mean that inappropriate language or conduct is acceptable.
On-going psychiatric treatment is not provided, nor is personal attendant care.
Is there financial aid available?
There are many sources of financial aid available, but most require meeting strict application deadlines. Plan early by contacting the Financial Aid Office at (201) 447-7148.
Other sources may include:
The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
60 State St. Hackensack, NJ 07601
Developmental Disabilities Council
Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Newark, NJ 07101
Is there transportation available?
Be Sure To Call Early!!!
(973) 491-7000 or (800) 955-2321
For further details, log onto the NJ Transit Access Link
Bergen County Community Transportation
178 Essex St. Lodi, NJ 07644
What is the procedure for “Emergency Exit” if I am blind or physically disabled?
Staff will review the procedure during orientation. There are “Areas of Rescue” on each of the floors, except the Main Floor. There are telephones at each “Area of Rescue” that will link you with our Public Safety Office.
What adaptive technology is available?
There is adaptive technology in our dedicated lab in Room L-116, the Library, the Tech Building and other labs and classrooms.
The Adaptive Technology includes JAWS, ZoomText, Kurzweil, and Co:Writer. Please have a set of headphones for personal use.
What books on tape or other adaptive equipment is needed for home use?
For adaptive technology at home contact:
What if my medical condition changes?
Please keep the Nurse’s Office informed as to any serious or permanent changes.
If you experience seizures, on-going fevers or infections, have a progressive type of condition, or take several types of medications, please make sure the enclosed medical form describes your situation.
How do I get a sign language interpreter?
To request a sign language interpreter, please contact :
Deaf Services, located in room L-115, Pitkin Education Center
Send an email to [email protected]
Can I meet with a Counselor other than the one I am presently working with?
For academic counseling: you may work with one of two OSS Academic Counselors or you may choose to meet with an Academic Counselor in the Counseling Center.
For accommodations: it is recommended to remain consistent with one Accommodations Specialist.
My Professor will not let me take my tests in the Office of Testing Services even though I have accommodations, what should I do?
Contact your Accommodations Specialist immediately if you are having difficulty obtaining your accommodations.
Are there remedial courses specifically for students with disabilities at Bergen Community College?
Bergen Community College (BCC) does not offer Special Education courses. BCC does offer developmental courses in Mathematics and English for all students who qualify based on their Accuplacer Placement Test scores.