Disability Services

Diane Janowiak, Director
Room 1192
(708) 709-3603
djanowiak@prairiestate.edu

The Office of Disability Services seeks to maintain academic standards while providing equal access and support services to students who are able to benefit from college-level course work, have the commitment to succeed, and have a documented disability. The officer reviews documentation and requests to determine eligibility for accommodations and services; provides appropriate and reasonable accommodations and services; and promotes independence and self-advocacy.

Institutional Commitment

Prairie State College recognizes its responsibility and has an institutional commitment to provide equal educational opportunities for students with disabilities in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Legal Mandates

Post-secondary students with disabilities are guaranteed access to college programs and services by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

"Subject to the provisions of this title, no qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by such an entity."

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

"No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States ... shall, solely by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

Who is a person with a disability?

  • Anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities
  • Anyone with a record of such an impairment
  • Anyone who is perceived by others as having such an impairment

Receiving Services

Students must contact the office of Disability Services and request services and accommodations.

Documentation

Any student requesting accommodations must submit written documentation to the director of Disability Services.
All documentation:

  • Must be current (within three years)
    (It is strongly recommended that testing be redone in junior or senior year of high school at parents’ request)
  • Must be provided by a qualified professional (physician, psychologist, psychiatrist or audiologist)
  • Must have a statement of diagnosis, the impact on learning and suggested accommodations.

Examples of accommodations that we can provide:

  • Handouts/tests in large print
  • Textbooks on tape (if available)
  • Note takers
  • Sign language interpreters in the classroom
  • Extended time on quizzes and exams
  • Testing in separate distraction-free room
  • Test reader or scribe
  • Specialized computer software

Please note: PSC does not provide personal attendants. That is the student’s responsibility.

Adaptive Equipment Lab

The Office of Disability Services has a variety of adaptive equipment for student use:

  • Zoom text
  • Kurzweil 1000
  • Kurzweil 3000 (after scanning in material, it reads it aloud)
  • Closed caption television (enlarges print)
  • Voice recognition software

Compass Placement Test

All new students are required to take the COMPASS before registering for any classes. COMPASS is a computerized placement test in English, math, and reading that helps students determine which classes will best meet their academic goals. A writing sample is also required; a calculator is permitted for the math portion of the test. Contact the director of Disability Services for more information.

Privacy Issues

  • The Office of Disability Services strives to treat all personal information with the strictest confidentiality.
  • The ODS may release information to faculty and staff on a strictly need-to-know basis. Information will only be disclosed for legitimate educational reasons.
  • Faculty and staff do not need to know a student’s specific disability; they simply need to know that the ODS has verified the disability and the student’s right to reasonable accommodations.
  • Written authorization to release confidential information will be obtained from the student before any information is released.

Release of Information About Students

For students 18 years or older, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) forbids the College from releasing any information such as registration records, payment, grades, classroom performance and attendance to anyone other than the student. Release of Information forms are available through the Office of Disability Services, Room 1192.

Appeal Procedure for Students with Disabilities

Prairie State College does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, age, gender, disability, ancestry, marital status, military discharge status, national origin, veteran status, sexual orientation or other non-merit factors in educational programs, activities, or employment practices. The College is prohibited by law from discriminating in such a manner. Inquiries may be directed to the Affirmative Action Officer, Prairie State College.

An appeal process is in place if a student is concerned that he/she has not received reasonable accommodations/services under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

The student should meet first with the director of Disability Services to express his/her concerns. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome, he/she must submit a written appeal within five working days to the Dean of Counseling and Academic Services. If a resolution is not reached, the student will submit a written request that the Vice President of Academic Affairs convene an Appeals Committee (composed of two faculty members, two administrators and one student). The decision of the Appeals Committee is final.

Obtaining services from the Office of Disability Services

Please follow these steps to access services under the Americans With Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973:
Step 1: Call the Office of Disability Services (709-3603) and make an appointment with the director.
Step 2: Meet with the director. Disclose disability (self-identify), discuss accommodations needed, complete an Intake Form and PSC Application for Admission.
Step 3: Provide appropriate documentation of disability that includes a statement of diagnosis, the impact on learning, and suggested accommodations. Documentation should be current and provided by a qualified professional such as a physician, audiologist, psychologist, psychiatrist or neurologist.
Step 4: Have official high school transcripts sent to: Enrollment Services, Prairie State College, 202 South Halsted Street, Chicago Heights IL 60411.
Step 5: Apply early for financial aid by completing the FAFSA form as soon as possible.
Step 6: Take the COMPASS placement test.
Step 7: Make an appointment with DHS (Department of Human Services) if applicable by calling (708) 709-3333.
Step 8: Meet again with the director of Disability Services to review COMPASS results, register for classes and receive appropriate accommodations.
Step 9: Contact the director of Disability Services immediately if you encounter any difficulties or have other concerns regarding academic accommodations.
Step 10: Meet with the director of Disability Services each semester that accommodations are needed. This meeting should take place at least two weeks before the end of each semester for returning students and within two weeks at the beginning of the semester for new students.

Hints for Success in College

  • Attend every class
  • Be on time
  • Sit in the front of the room
  • Read material to be discussed in class before going to class
  • Take notes
  • Use 3x5-inch note cards as study aids
  • Review text and notes on a regular basis, not just before an exam
  • Form a study group
  • Visit your professors during office hours

Label Us Able

Label Us Able is a club for students with disabilities or interested in the field of disabilities. It sponsors various fund raising activities for events that actively promote disability awareness. Meetings are held twice a month at PSC. Come join us!

If you have any questions or need additional information, contact
Diane Janowiak
Director, Advising and Disability Services
Room 1192 (located in Counseling and Academic Advising Center adjacent to the Library)
(708) 709-3603
djanowiak@prairiestate.edu